Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

Sub-GHz RF transceiver

23 March 2016 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

A new low-power, sub-GHz radio frequency (RF) ­transceiver has been released by Microsemi to address industrial, security and medical applications.

The ZL70550 is well suited for wireless applications operating on coin-cell batteries or energy harvesters, such as electronic shelf labels, retail asset tracking, process control, wearable monitoring, medical diagnostics and ECG.

QFN package; actual size 5 x 5 mm.
QFN package; actual size 5 x 5 mm.

Operating in the 779 - 965 MHz unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) frequency bands, the chip consumes only 2,8 mA while transmitting at -10 dBm output power and a similar 2,5 mA during reception. It offers the industry’s lowest sleep state current of 10 nA, making it ideal for low-duty cycle applications.

As a flexible solution that can be tailored to various application requirements, the ZL70550 operates between 1,7 V to 3,6 V and offers variable output power and data rates up to 200 Kbps. For applications that require extended wireless range, the transmitter output power, receiver input sensitivity and data rate can be adjusted to give a link budget up to -107 dBm while only slightly increasing the power consumption of the device.

WSN evaluation kit.
WSN evaluation kit.

The device is highly integrated and offered in a 3 x 2 mm chip scale package or 5 x 5 mm QFN. Other than the antenna and, in some cases, its matching network, only a crystal, resistor and two coupling capacitors are required. The chip includes a media access controller (MAC) that performs most link support functions, received signal strength indications (RSSI), clear channel assessment, sniff, preamble and synchronisation, packetisation, whitening and forward error correction (FEC). Microsemi’s optional Z-Star protocol enables rapid product development and offers a full star configuration to allow a full network to be deployed.

The company offers a wireless sensor network (WSN) evaluation kit and an application development kit (ADK) to ease and accelerate hardware and software development. The evaluation kit includes one USB hub and one accelerometer sensor node, and demonstrates a wireless sensor network application using the ZL70550’s built-in Z-Star protocol. The ADK provides all the necessary hardware and software to demonstrate the performance of the ZL70550 and is intended to be used as a tool to support prototype development.

For more information contact Steve Santamarina, ASIC Design Services, +27 (0)11 315 8316,,


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