Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) offers three tools for IEEE 802.15.4 wireless networking. The MRF24J40 is a 2.4-GHz IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver targeted for the ZigBee™ protocol in RF applications requiring low power and RF performance. The ZENA™ wireless network analyzer tool enables development of ZigBee protocol systems using Microchip's semiconductors. The MiWi™ protocol is a free, small-footprint protocol developed by Microchip for customers who do not need ZigBee protocol interoperability but want to use IEEE 802.15.4 transceivers in peer-to-peer, star, and mesh networks. With the MRF24J40 transceiver, Microchip now offers a complete ZigBee protocol platform through the addition of an integrated RF transceiver that requires few external components. Microchip's radio also offers low power consumption and performance that exceeds all IEEE 802.15.4 specifications, with full Media Access.

Controller (MAC) support and an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) hardware encryption engine. The MRF24J40 transceiver can be combined with 200 8-bit and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers, and dsPIC® DSCs to provide wireless networking solutions. The ZENA wireless network analyzer tool uses a simple graphical user interface to configure the ZigBee and MiWi protocol stacks, enabling users to reduce the code size of the stacks by removing optional features. Consisting of both hardware and software, the ZENA network analyzer is an IEEE 802.15.4 protocol analyzer capable of decoding ZigBee and MiWi protocol packets from the lowest layers to the top of the stack. The network-configuration display window allows users to see the traffic in real time, as it travels from one node to another.

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This article first appeared in the January, 2007 issue of Embedded Technology Magazine.

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