Qualcomm Atheros AR4100P Provides WiFi Connectivity to the Internet of Things

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In January, Texas Instruments was the first company (to my knowledge) to release a WiFi chip for the internet of things, the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000, where WiFi is mostly implemented in hardware to lower power consumption. Now, the company has some competition with the announcement of Qualcomm Atheros AR4100P, an improved version of its AP4100 WiFi chipset, including IPv4/IPv6 support.

The AR4100 targets the home, enterprise, smart grid and home automation and control applications that have lower data rates and transmit or receive data on an infrequent basis.

AR4100 WiFi Chip SPI Interface with MCU for IoT
Qualcomm AR4100 Block Diagram

The AR4100 system-in-package (SIP) features the following:

  • Low energy
    • Power saving modes as low as 5 µA
    • Wake-up times as low as 2.2 ms
    • Support for Quad SPI flash for faster wake times
  • Low system resource requirements
    • Low footprint host driver (25K Flash and 8K RAM)
  • Simple, low-cost wireless system integration
    • LGA package simplifies 2- or 4-layer PCB design
    • Near zero RBOM
    • Integrated RF front end, RF shield and clocks
    • Direct connect to a 50-ohm antenna
  • Qualcomm Atheros 802.11n Wi-Fi
    • Integrated high-power, high-efficiency power amplifier
    • On-SIP Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS 2.0)
  • Standard SPI interface for connecting to MCUs
  • FCC Modular SIP Certification

The AR4100P should also feature all of the above, except IPv4/IPv6 is handled by hardware, which allows a lower power consumption (as low as 2 µA) and a lower network  stack footprint in the MCU flash and RAM.

The AR4100P is featured in Qualcomm Atheros’s SP137 development kit, a reference design for low-power IP sensors, which integrates Energy Micro EFM32 Gecko Cortex-M3 MCU and runs Micrium µC/OS-III operating system. Thanks to hardware implementation of most of the network stack, the devkit can operate off AA batteries. IAR Systems Embedded Workbench IDE is used for development. 

AR4100P solutions will be showcased at Qualcomm booth (#2101) at the Embedded Systems Conference (Design West) on March 26-29, 2012.

You can find further information on the (older) AP4100 WiFi chip on Qualcomm Atheros website, as a page for AP4100P does not appear to have been setup yet…

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