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Wireless communications play very important role in many of electronics. The application of wireless communication system includes not only the areas described by home electronics but also manufacturing, industrial Local Area Networks, military purposes, or in any other areas where wired transmission of information is either impossible or impractical. Wireless communication can be implemented by methods including but not limited to radiofrequency, infrared light, sound wave and visible lights. Basically, any form of media that is capable of transferring energy from the source to destination can be used for wireless communication. In our project, we resort to implement wireless communication by means of radiofrequency electromagnetic wave.
Radiofrequency signals(RF signal) are the most widely used means of wireless communication in home electronics, next to infrared light. Unlike infrared light, however, RF‐signals have advantage in the fact that the signal can travel around obstacles to reach the destination. Also, RF‐signals allow reliable communications across wide range of distances, typically, ranges that are much(more than 10 ~ 1000 folds) greater than the range offered by any infrared transceiver pair.
On the market, there are numerous vendors that offer Application Specific Integrated Circuit(ASIC) specifically designed to generate and control wireless signals that requires only few external passive elements, at very low prices. Depending on the base carrier frequency, RF‐signal transceiver ASICs cost from as low as less than $2 for devices having sub GHz carrier frequency, to $20 dollars for device operating at 2.4GHz.For our purposes, we chose RF‐signal drivers with 2.4GHz carrier frequency because of its versatility. Higher base frequency allows more versatility in terms of size. RFsignals at 2.4GHz allow us to make antenna size very small for the same antenna gain, thus allowing very small device size. An engineer with experience in using microcontroller(MCU) for implementation of digital systems, can easily implement simple wireless communication systems using a general purpose microcontroller and an RF‐signal generator/driver ASIC.
Theory of operation a. RF‐signal driver operating modes When the device is powered down, the quiescent current falls to very low level, allowing the system to save power, especially in case of mobile application where battery life is important. When the device is powered up The RF‐signal driver, or RF‐signal transceiver primarily operates in one of 2 modes, Primary Receiver(PRX), or Primary Transmit(PTX). When the device is in PRX mode, the device constantly monitors the channel at specified frequency, which is also user configurable from 2.4GHz to 2.527 GHz, and specified data rate(250KHz, 1MHz, or 2MHz), for the right address. If the device determines that the address is right, then it stores that in Receive First‐In‐First‐Out register(RX‐FIFO), whose size is 32 bytes, and sends Acknowledgement(ACK) signal to the transmitter, so that the transmitter device (TX‐device) knows that the data packet has been safely received. When the device is in PTX mode, it waits for the user(meaning microcontroller who acts as master in serial communication SPI) to write to TX‐FIFO, whose size is also 32 bytes. As soon as there are fresh data in the TX‐FIFO and the CE pin is driven low(by MCU’s general purpose input‐output pin(GPIO)).
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