ROCKCHIP has made a major leap in bringing WiFi technology to the Internet of Things (IoT).
The new Rockchip RKi6000 uses 85 percent less energy than a standard WiFi card, bringing it into line with Bluetooth 4.0 LE devices, and essentially bringing it back into the game as far as IoT sensor protocols go.
The RKi6000 is a combined memory and WiFi system on a chip (SoC) which has already been granted a series of patents and can be run for 35 years on AAA batteries. Coin batteries are also compatible.
The changes to the radio frequency architecture actually reduce power by making data transmission and reception continuous, even in standby, reducing the amount of handshakes and other high power transactions of standard WiFi.
Using Rockchip's Adaptive Dynamic Power Control Technology allows the SoC to be tailored to run in different working modes according to requirements, adjusting its signal strength to optimise it for the job in hand and its relative position to the transceiver.
The WiFi stays connected even in standby, meaning that it can maintain a connection without having to wake up the main control processor, a further boon to battery life.
"In terms of a circuit’s power consumption and the user friendly design of a device, there is currently a large gap between Wi-Fi SoCs based on traditional radio frequency architecture and the practical needs of new IoT devices," said Gavin Que, director of IoT at Rockchip.
"The Rockchip RKi6000 closes the gap for wearable and other IoT devices being developed for consumer electronics, home appliances and many more products using the Wi-Fi standard, greatly reducing the cost of development and implementation, and speeding up a smart device’s time to market.”
Intel recently invested in a joint venture with Rockchip for low-end tablet production, the fruits of which should come about later this year.
Rockchip is less of a household name than some others, but is already present on a wide variety of devices, including the forthcoming but delayed Firefox Matchstick Streaming Dongle.
The RKi6000 will become available in the third quarter of this year. µ
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