As the Internet of Things (aka IoT) is becoming more popular day by day, and as there are any kinds of IoT devices in any kind of environments, in some cases power consumption is a very important concern, due to the fact that some of the devices work with low-capacity batteries, or they cannot be charged very frequently. In those cases lowering the power consumption is the key to keep the devices running until their battery can be charged again, and maybe the key to success for the project.
One of the parts that most consumes power is the Wi-Fi chipset, this can be caused by many factors, such as:
- Powering the antenna
- Chipset firmware
- Reach of antenna (or lack of it)
Because this is a problem that lots of IoT developers face, hardware companies are developing new low-power Wi-Fi chipsets with similar quality to the high-consumption ones, in order for the batteries last longer.
Here are some of the chipsets we have found interesting for IoT:
This device includes an ultra low power Wi-Fi processor and supports IEEE 802.11-n networks. It also offers backward compatibility with 802.11a/b/g standards. This is a very good choice as it can be operated in multiple temperature environments from -40ºC to 85ºC. It supports several interfaces: SDIO v1.2/2.0, I2C, SPI, GPIO and UART; and a very important feature: it supports WMM and WMM Power Save, so you will be able to transmit from single data, to VoIP, even video.
More information about Redpine Lite-Fi, visit Redpine Lite-Fi RS9110
Marvell 88W8977 SoC
A great device that includes not only low power Wi-Fi but also Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It is a very versatile device and has a sleep and a standby mode, both for lowering power consumption. This module comes with dual-core CPUs that run at a maximum rate of 160MHz.
It also includes a sleep clock in order to manage power and reduce consumption. Compliant with 802.11n, supports security standards (TKIP/AES/WAPI) and QoS 802.11e standard for video transmission. The only interfaces it provides are SDIO 3.0 and High speed UART. It is a very good option when you need both Wi-Fi and BLE in the same device.
You can find more information about this device at Avastar 88W8977 System-on-Chip
Silicon Labs Wizard Gecko WGM110
A new device brought to us by Silicon Labs, targeted for applications that need good RF performance. The WGM110 implements the IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards and security protocols and is build on an ARM Cortex-3 processor. The most outstanding feature of this product is that it comes with an SDK, allowing faster development and deployment of the software applications. A very interesting feature that outstands as well is the fact that it comes with an USB interface, making communication with it faster. This device can be accessed by multiple interfaces, as they are UART, SPI and USB. It is suitable for a wide range of temperatures (-40ºC to 85ºC).
It features a maximum power consumption of 261 mA for TX current at +16 dBM. Definitely it is worth a try.
More information on this module can be found here: Wizard Gecko WGM110 Wi-Fi® Module
Zentri AMW007 ‘Spectre’ Wi-Fi Module
The Zentry AMW007 is an extremely tiny component that is very suitable for small IoT devices, with dimensions as small as 12 x 11 x 1.8mm (0.47” x 0.43” x 0.08”) this very small module will be useful for your smallest device projects. It features several operation modes (Active receive: 65mA, Standby: 0.9mA, Wi-Fi Powersave: 0.86mA, Sleep: 0.31mA, Deep Sleep: 60μA) in order to help reducing power consumption. This will help you not only to develop a small IoT solution but a solution with great autonomy. Like the other modules, it implements the IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards and common security protocols (including WEP, WPA, WPA2-PSK). The microprocessor is a 32-bit that runs at 80MHz and the temperature range is between -40ºC and 85ºC. It comes with ZentriOS preloaded and Zentri Mobile App SDK is available in order to help developing applications faster.
This is a very tiny module you should give a try.
More information about it can be found at Zentry AMW007 ‘Spectre’
Here is another module that apart from Wi-Fi, it also allows Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications. What is interesting of it is that it comes with a small U.FL socket, providing a faster and easier way to connect the antenna (which is shared both by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).
Following the line of the other modules, it also implements the 802.11b/g/n standards and security protocols. It comes with a SPIO interface in order to interact with it and it also provides a low power consumption mode.
Interested in LSR TiWi-BLE? Take a deeper look at TiWi-BLE Bluetooth Classic & Bluetooth Low Energy + Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n Module
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