Atmel Unveils ZigBee-ready Chipset with Dedicated Controller

5/19/2004 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) announced the industry's first turnkey solution for ZigBee systems. Atmel's Z-link solution consists of the AT86ZL3201 Z-Link Controller, the only dedicated, ZigBee-ready, full function device (FFD) for 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 frequency bands, an low power AT86RF210 Z-Link 868 MHz/902-928 MHz 802.15.4 radio, and plug-and-play ZigBee and 802.15.4 protocol stacks.

ZigBee is a low data rate, low power, networked wireless standard for control and monitoring applications based on IEEE Standard 802.15.4. ZigBee-enabled products do not need hard wiring between a powered device and its switch therefore, offering the potential to save millions of dollars in wiring costs in new and existing construction. Target applications include home and office lighting, environmental control and security, industrial sensors and controls, and medical monitoring systems.

Atmel is the only vendor to provide an 802.15.4 radio plus a ZigBee-specific microcontroller designed to meet the special memory, security and peripheral requirements of the ZigBee standard, and optimized, plug-and-play protocol stacks. Other manufacturers offering ZigBee-based 802.15.4 radios expect them to be used with general purpose microcontrollers (MCUs) that have neither the security hardware nor the memory structures to cost effectively meet the program and data storage and network security requirements of the ZigBee standard. Their encryption will have to be implemented in software, adding to the processor load, power consumption and required memory.

Atmel's AT86ZL3201 Z-Link Controller integrates encryption hardware with an 8-bit AVRÒ RISC processor and memory structures that are optimized specifically to implement the ZigBee standard at the lowest possible cost with the longest possible battery life.

Atmel's AT86ZL3201 Z-Link Controller - Atmel's Z-Link controller is an FFD that has been optimized to meet the requirements of the ZigBee standard at the lowest cost and lowest possible power consumption. It also eliminates the need for any firmware engineering for the ZigBee and 802.15.4 stacks.

The Z-Link controller is based on Atmel's own 8-bit AVR RISC MCU and uses standard AVR development, debugging and emulation tools. Thus, code development for the Z-Link Controller is identical to code development for any other AVR-based design. In addition, ZigBee applications that have been implemented using general-purpose AVR processors can be recompiled easily for the Z-Link controller.

AT86RF210 Z-Link 802.15.4 Radio - Atmel's AT86RF210 Z-Link radio is an 868 MHz/902-928 MHz, 802.15.4 and ZigBee-compliant transceiver with10 channels at 40 kpbs in the 915 MHz ISM band, and one channel at 20 kpbs in the European 868 MHz band. The air interface is DSSS, including spreading and despreading, using BPSK. The PHY includes receiver energy detection, link quality indication and clear channel assessment. The Z-Link MAC allows network association and disassociation, has an optional superframe structure with beacons for time synchronization and a GTS mechanism for high priority communications. Atmel's AT86RF210 Z-Link radio supports up to 65,000 nodes in star, cluster or mesh networks, with a range of one to 100 meters. CSMA-CA is used for channel access, using contention-based and contention-free access modes.

With 14.5 mA receive current and 4 mW (6 dBm) transmit current at 1.8 volts, Atmel's Z-Link transceiver consumes 25% less current in receive mode than competing 900 MHz 802.15.4 radios. The Z-Link radio's 1.8V power supply extends battery life beyond that which can be expected from 802.15.4 radios with 2.0V or higher power supplies. Power consumption in sleep mode is 1 uA. The Z-Link radio's ultra low power and extended battery life are significant advantages in ZigBee applications that target a two-year battery life.

Price and Availability - Atmel's Z-Link ZigBee chipset will be available in May 2004 and will be priced at $6.75 in quantities of 100,000 for the radio, FFD controller and 802.15.4 and ZigBee protocol stacks. The AT86ZL3201 Z-Link controller will be available in 64-lead TQFP and 64-ball LFBGA packages. The AT86RF210 Z-Link 868MHz/902-928MHz 802.15.4 transceiver will be available in a 48-pin QFN package. Development boards will be available in June 2004.

About Atmel
Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, California with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

About The ZigBee Alliance
The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance is a rapidly growing, non-profit industry consortium of leading semiconductor, manufacturers, technology providers, OEMs, and end-users worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found at

Atmel and AVR are registered trademarks of Atmel Corporation. Z-Link is a trademark of Atmel Corporation. ZigBee is a trademark of the ZigBee Alliance.

Atmel's AT86RF210 and AT86ZL3201 product information may be retrieved at:

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