Renesas Electronics America and Redpine Signals Collaborate to Provide Fully Productized Ultra-Low-power, High-throughput 802.11n Wi-Fi® I/O Connectivity for Embedded Systems

System engineers building embedded systems that use popular Renesas Electronics R8C, RX and SuperH™ microcontrollers can easily implement wireless connectivity capabilities by adding Redpine's Connect-io-n™ and n-Link™ 802.11n Wi-Fi modules to their designs

27 Apr 2010

SANTA CLARA and SAN JOSE, Calif., April 27, 2010 -Renesas Electronics America Inc. and Redpine Signals announced today 802.11a/b/g/n wireless connectivity solutions that make it easy for system engineers to add single-stream 802.11n Wi-Fi capability to embedded systems that use Renesas Electronics' R8C, RX and SuperH™ microcontrollers (MCUs). These solutions are based on the Connect-io-n (http://www.redpinesignals.com/connection.html) and n-Link series of modules from Redpine Signals®, which make it easy to design new systems and upgrade existing products to provide reliable wireless data communications while meeting various power and throughput requirements. A demonstration of the solution can be seen in Redpine's booth (#1334) and in Renesas Electronics America's booth (#2002) at Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley, April 27 to 29, in the McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California. Renesas Electronics America and Redpine Signals also will be presenting a complimentary seminar titled "Full-featured 802.11n Wi-Fi for Embedded Systems-Available Now!" on April 28 from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in Room D at the McEnery Convention Center.

 

The Connect-io-n and n-Link modules work seamlessly with the Renesas Electronics MCUs that are among the top sellers in global markets and are used extensively in a broad range of embedded system applications. The modules implement single-stream 802.11n connectivity in a smaller space, at less cost and using less power than legacy 802.11b and 802.11g modules. Importantly, system developers do not have to have a detailed knowledge of Wi-Fi technology to apply them. Thus, these modules remove major barriers to the widespread adoption of the 802.11n wireless communication standard in embedded system applications.

 

The Connect-io-n 802.11n modules are "self-contained," and Renesas Electronics customers can readily integrate them into any existing Renesas Electronics MCU-based system, including designs built with devices in the R8C, RX and SuperH (SH) families. The Redpine module products offer SPI and UART interfaces and provide wireless connectivity up to 10Mbps on the SPI interface, or up to 4Mbps on the UART interface. Available with an option for TCP/IP and Web applications embedded within the Wi-Fi module, the Connect-io-n modules enable extremely small MCU driver footprints: less than 9KB for the SPI interface and less than 2KB for the UART interface. As a result, existing R8C-, RX- and SH-based designs can be enhanced with future-proof Wi-Fi 802.11n functionality by adding as little as 2KB of new software and minimal hardware changes in the MCU hardware.

 

The higher-performance n-Link 802.11n modules have SDIO/SPI host interfaces and are ideal for applications that must deliver greater throughput (up to 35Mbps) or require stringent QoS (WMM-PS for voice/video, etc.). Redpine Signals provides the required SDIO driver, HAL, Wi-Fi Management and OS abstraction functions for the n-Link modules.

 

"These solutions are important to our customers because we are seeing growing interest from them to add Wi-Fi connectivity to existing and new designs," said Ritesh Tyagi, Director of Microcontroller Products and Solutions Marketing, Consumer and Industrial Business Unit, Renesas Electronics America Inc. "Now, system engineers can easily provide Wi-Fi capability by combining the Renesas Electronics MCU of their choice with the fully FCC-certified Wi-Fi modules from Redpine. We have worked closely with Redpine Signals to deliver Wi-Fi solutions that achieve high throughput with very low power consumption."

 

"Redpine has spent over nine years in developing technology and products in the 802.11n space going up to 4x4 configurations (600Mbps). Our single-stream 802.11n products offer all the benefits of ease-of-integration, low cost, ultra low power and high performance for embedded systems and, at the same time, preserve the 802.11n network capacity. It is important to note that the higher data rates offered by 802.11n enable shorter packet durations resulting in a much higher battery life than competing 802.11b or 802.11b/g solutions," said Venkat Mattela, CEO of Redpine Signals, Inc. "Our collaboration with Renesas Electronics America protects our customer investment in product development and enables them to create full-featured and future-proof wireless solutions for multiple vertical markets."

 

Key applications for the Redpine wireless connectivity solutions for Renesas Electronics MCU-based embedded system designs include home appliances; medical equipment such as remote patient monitors; home gateways; and security systems, thermostats, HVAC equipment, home automation systems, and lighting control systems for residential buildings; among many others.

 

Renesas Electronics' R8C MCUs have a powerful 16-bit CPU core with dual-register banks that allow context switching, as well as direct clock-cycle operation for high throughput, and a built-in hardware multiplier that accelerates mathematical computations. The MCUs in the new RX product line have a 32-bit Harvard-type architecture with a 5-stage instruction pipeline that achieves a one-clock-per-instruction execution rate and connects to on-chip flash that can be read with no delays at up to 100MHz operation. The devices in the RX62N group, for instance, have Ethernet, USB OTG, and CAN capabilities, while those in the RX62T group provide sophisticated timer functions for controlling motors and inverters. The latest Renesas Electronics SuperH MCUs utilize the fast SH-2A superscalar RISC CPU with FPU that delivers performance levels up to 400 DMIPS and 400 MFLOPS. They integrate many peripheral functions and are excellent choices for fast real-time systems, high-thoughput connectivity, rich GUI and digital audio applications.

 

The Connect-io-n and n-Link modules are based on Redpine's mature Lite-Fi® chipset, the industry's first Wi-Fi certified 802.11n single-stream device, which has been successfully integrated into a significant number of embedded systems over the past two years. These modules have best-in-class transmit power of 18dBm, as well as receiver sensitivity down to -98dBm, so they enable wireless designs with excellent range. Their shutdown power is less than 0.01mW; their associated mode power is less than 3mW, and their active operational power is as low as 30mW (SPI 100 kbps). Thus, the modules make it possible to implement ultra-low-power wireless battery-operated applications with >10-year battery life with burst updates at rates faster than 1Kbyte at 15-minute intervals. Further, starting at a small size of 11mm x 13mm, they offer system integrators modular certification for FCC/IC/CE to simplify product development. The variants that support dual-band 2.4/5GHz band operation serve applications that demand better reliability and QoS in crowded wireless environments.

 

Wi-Fi Starter Kit

Redpine and Renesas Electronics America have collaborated to provide a Wi-Fi starter kit (http://www.redpinesignals.com/Wi-Fi-Kit-R8) based on the Renesas Electronics R8C series of low-power microcontrollers. This kit includes the Renesas Electronics' Starter Kit for the R8C/25 MCU, one 802.11n companion board based on the Redpine Connect-io-n module, an E8a hardware debugger, HEW IDE, evaluation compiler and all necessary software examples and documentation. The kit is pre-loaded with a demonstration application and is accompanied by a PC-based GUI application. With these, system designers can establish connections to an existing wireless infrastructure and begin interaction with the kit from a PC wirelessly in less than 15 minutes.

 

Pricing and Availability

Customers can purchase the R8C-based Wi-Fi kit (part #: RS2201R8C25) from Redpine's online store (http://www.semiconductorstore.com/pages/asp/supplier.asp?pl=0150). The kit, which contains the R8C RSK and the RS9110-N-11-22-01 (http://www.redpinesignals.com/products_RS9110-22.html) Connect-io-n Companion Card, is available for US$299. A promotional price of US$225 will be provided to all the customers who purchase the kit by the end of May 2010. (Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.)

 

Information

Additional information about the Renesas Electronics America and Redpine Wi-Fi solution can be found at http://www.renesas.com/wifi.

 

About Renesas Electronics America Inc.

Renesas Electronics America Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), the world's number one supplier of microcontrollers and a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions including microcontrollers, SoC solutions, and a broad range of analog and power devices. In the Americas, Renesas Electronics America markets and sells industrial-type active-matrix LCD modules from NEC LCD Technologies, Ltd., a global leader in innovative display technologies. More information about the products offered by Renesas Electronics America can be found at www.renesas.com.

 

About Redpine Signals, Inc.

Headquartered in San Jose, California, Redpine Signals, Inc., is a fabless semiconductor and wireless system solutions company focusing on ultra-low-power and high-performance products for next-generation wireless applications. Redpine was founded in 2001 and was the first in the industry to launch an ultra low power and low-cost single-stream 802.11n chipset in late 2007. Redpine offers chipsets, modules and solutions covering multiple market segments including industrial, consumer electronics, medical, mobile, PC, and smart energy. Its technology portfolio includes multi-stream 802.11n along with mobile WiMax (802.16e) and 3GPP LTE technologies. The company has more than 130 employees worldwide. For more information on Redpine products, visit www.redpinesignals.com or contact Redpine at info@redpinesignals.com.

 

Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. SuperH is a trademark of Renesas Electronics Corporation. Redpine Signals, Lite-Fi, Connect-io-n and n-Link are trademarks or registered trademarks of Redpine Signals.


The content in the press release, including, but not limited to, product prices and specifications, is based on the information as of the date indicated on the document, but may be subject to change without prior notice.