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Q: How do I choose a solution to make my device wireless?
A: The first step in selecting a wireless device is to determine the parameters that are important to you and making sure these parameters will work for your application. Parameters that are often critical in selecting a wireless device are Frequency, Range, Protocol, Size, power consumption, and Data Rate. A regulations body (such as the FCC in the US) will also place restrictions on what information can be sent and/or what output power can be used in a particular frequency band. For assistance in selecting a product by specific parameters please see our Parts Search for "RF and RFID".
Q: How does transmit power affect the range of my device?
A: As transmit power increases, the distance that the transmitted signal can be "heard" increases. This increases the range in a uni-directional wireless link. A bi-directional link will need to have an increase in transmit power on both sides to increase the range.
Q: What are features of Bluetooth OEM modules?
A: Interoperability and self discovery networking is at the core of Bluetooth technology which translates into seamless integration, installation and configuration to the adopter or end user. Proprietary wireless OEM radios require additional custom networking software and do not follow an international standard so will not communicate with products based on a standard. Most Bluetooth modules also include the Stack and one or many application profiles, only requiring a simple command interface, so implementation is quick and easy.
Q: What is the range and power output of Bluetooth devices?
A: Bluetooth, as originally envisioned, was primarily aimed at cable replacement and synchronization applications where a range of 10-20 meters was adequate. However, newer applications require a longer range, which is why a more powerful Bluetooth radio module, the Class 1, has been developed with 100mW output power for a +300 meter (1,000 foot) range.
Q: Does Bluetooth work on a broadcast methodology?
A: No, Bluetooth uses channels to establish connections. The radio must be connected to another radio modem for it to receive information. A point-to-point network has one available channel. Multi-point network has 7 simultaneous connection channels. You can park thousands of radio connections.
Q: Will other 2.4GHz devices affect Bluetooth operation?
A: The Bluetooth radio has built-in frequency hopping. The transmission hops through 79 different frequencies at a rate of 1600 hops/second. This gives a very robust transmission, which is not easily susceptible to external interference. It also has guaranteed packet delivery implemented and built in encryption and authentication
Q: Will Microwave ovens affect Bluetooth device operation?
A: It is correct that microwave ovens work at a nominal frequency of 2.45 GHz, which places it in the middle of the 2.4GHz ISM band. However, modern microwave ovens are well shielded and tests have been made at very short distances (down to 1 m) from active microwave ovens, and the Bluetooth signal has remained intact.
Q: Is Bluetooth a secure wireless technology?
A: First-level security is actually provided by the frequency-hopping function within the Bluetooth radio. In addition to this, the Bluetooth specification provides built-in encryption PIN codes, which allow encryption up to 128 bits, which is considered to be a satisfactory level for financial transactions. Lastly the technology is based on channel connections not broadcast methodology like other radio proprietary technologies.
Q: Who is the ZigBee Alliance?
A: The ZigBee Alliance is a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications. The ZigBee Alliance companies work together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance membership comprises technology providers and original equipment manufacturers worldwide. Membership is open to all.
Q: What are some examples of ZigBee applications?
A: ZigBee technology is well suited to a wide range of energy management and efficiency, building automation, industrial, medical, home automation applications. Essentially, applications that require interoperability and/or the RF performance characteristics of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard would benefit from a ZigBee solution. Examples include:
• Demand Response
• Advanced Metering Infrastructure
• Automatic Meter Reading
• Lighting controls
• HVAC control
• Heating control
• Environmental controls
• Wireless smoke and CO detectors
• Home security
• Blind, drapery and shade controls
• Medical sensing and monitoring
• Universal Remote Control to a Set-Top Box which includes Home
• Industrial and building automation
Q: What are the advantages of joining the ZigBee Alliance?
A: ZigBee Alliance member companies can enjoy accelerated development cycles and enhanced product and industry competitiveness. ZigBee members are defining and creating new markets for interoperable wireless networks. By actively participating in the ZigBee Alliance, members have access to, and are able to influence, the emerging ZigBee specification. Members gain early access to ZigBee design information, development details, interoperability specifications and other companies with complementary skills and capabilities. In addition to helping define the specification, members enjoy networking with other market leading companies committed to providing interoperable wireless products and networks.
Q: What happens with ZigBee 2006 with the release of ZigBee PRO Feature Set?
A: This year's update is the latest evolution incorporating new features into the specification published in 2006. The features published in ZigBee 2006 are now found in the ZigBee Feature Set along with newly published optional features, Frequency Agility and Fragmentation. Existing ZigBee 2006 compliant platforms will be referred to as ZigBee Feature Set implementations.
Q: What is different between ZigBee 2006 and the ZigBee PRO Update?
A: One of the main differences is the addition of the ZigBee PRO Feature Set. Also, the ZigBee Feature Set gains two optional features: Frequency Agility and Fragmentation. The ZigBee Feature Set contains all of the features and benefits from the ZigBee 2006 specification along with the two optional features. It is designed for networks with up to hundreds of devices. The ZigBee PRO Feature Set maximizes all the capabilities of the ZigBee Feature Set and facilitates ease-of-use and advanced support for larger networks. Please refer to the Features and Benefits document for a complete comparison.
Q: Is the ZigBee PRO update interoperable with previous revisions?
A: Yes; products built with the ZigBee Feature Set can participate in a ZigBee PRO Feature Set network as end devices and visa versa. Products built with either a ZigBee Feature Set platform based on the ZigBee 2006 specification or a ZigBee Feature Set platform based on the updated specification, are fully interoperable at the network level. As before, end-to-end interoperability is achieved using a Public Application Profile with either Feature Set.
Q: What is a ZigBee Public Application Profile?
A: A Public Application Profile runs on ZigBee devices and contains specific details about what information a device can communicate and how this device should interact with other devices on the ZigBee network. A Public Application Profile is a specification developed and published by the Alliance and is available for all members to implement. ZigBee products must be implemented on ZigBee Compliant Platforms in order to wear the ZigBee logo. Any product carrying the ZigBee logo has undergone a thorough regimen of testing to ensure the product will successfully interoperate with other ZigBee Certified Products.
Q: What are the IEEE 802.15.4 technical attributes on which ZigBee is based?
A: ZigBee-compliant products take full advantage of a powerful IEEE 802.15.4 physical radio standard and operate in unlicensed bands worldwide at 2.4GHz (global), 915Mhz (Americas) and 868Mhz (Europe). Raw data throughput rates of 250Kbs can be achieved at 2.4GHz (16 channels), 40Kbs at 915Mhz (10 channels) and 20Kbs at 868Mhz (1 channel). Transmission distances range from 10 to 100 meters, depending on power output and environmental characteristics.
Q: How is ZigBee addressing interference and coexistence in the 2.4GHz band?
A: • ZigBee-based products can access up to 16 separate, 5MHz channels in the 2.4GHz band, several of which do not overlap with US and European versions of IEEE 802.11 or Wi-Fi(tm). ZigBee incorporates an IEEE 802.15.4 defined CSMA-CA protocol that reduces the probability of interfering with other users and automatic retransmission of data ensures robustness.
• The duty cycle of a ZigBee-compliant device is usually extremely low, meaning relatively very few packet data units are transmitted, reducing the likelihood of an unsuccessful transmission.
Q: How many nodes can a ZigBee network support?
A: ZigBee's addressing scheme is capable of supporting over 64,000 nodes per network and multiple network coordinators can be linked together to support extremely large networks. The logical size of a ZigBee network ultimately depends on which frequency band is selected, how often each device on the network needs to communicate, and how much data loss or retransmissions can be tolerated by the application.
Q: How should you form a Fotofab RF shield with ½ etch bend lines?
A: The ½ etch bend channel should end up on the inside of the formed part. Chemical etching produces a ½ etch in the material that is actually about 50-75% of the metal thickness. When you bend the material to hand-form your part, the full thickness sidewalls adjacent to the ½ etch meet to form a 90° bend.