RF ICs reduce external part count

30th August 2016
Mick Elliott

The ATA8520 transmitter and ATA8520D transceiver ICs from Atmel for operation in the 868 MHz SIGFOX network are available fromdistributor Mouser Electronics.Targeting European LPWAN and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, the devices incorporate a radio frequency (RF) front end, a digital baseband and a low-power 8-bit AVR microcontrollerin a single chip.

The transmitter and receiver reduce external part count by offering a very high level of integration, combining outstanding RF performance with highly sophisticated baseband signal processing to achieve robust wireless communication.

Firmware stored in internal memory supports the chips’ operations, including handling of the SIGFOX protocol. The transmit path uses a closed loop fractional-N modulator, while a serial peripheral interface (SPI) provides for external control and configuration.

The single chip solutions provide extremely low power consumption, requiring just 32.7mA current at +14.5dBm output power and 5nA in Off mode.

Both ICs provide uplink data rates of 100 bits per second with differential BPSK modulation, with the ATA8520D transceiver offering 600 bits per second with GFSK modulation for downlink.

Mouser supports ATA8520/D design-in activities through three evaluation kits.

The ATA8520-EK1-E standalone evaluation kit comes with a fully preprogrammed ATA8520D transceiver, an Atmel ATmega328P microcontroller, temperature sensor, and external 868MHz antenna.

The kit also includes a SIGFOX ID and PAC code for registration in the cloud-based SIGFOX backend. Mouser also offers the ATA8520-EK2-E and ATA8520-EK3-E extension boards.

The ATA8520-EK2-E board is designed for use with an Atmel Xplained Mini development kit or an Arduino Uno R3, while the ATA8520-EK3-E board is designed for use with an Atmel Xplained Pro development kit. Both boards include an ATA8520D transceiver, temperature sensor, and 868 MHz antenna as well as SIGFOX ID and PAC code.

Engineers can use the 32-pin QFN ATA8520 transmitter and ATA8520D transceiver to provide IoT and other machine-to-machine connectivity using an air interface to the SIGFOX proprietary network in industrial and consumer applications such as environmental sensors, smart meters, patient monitors, home automation, and building security systems.

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