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RF Transceiver Info

Digi (formerly Maxstream) XBee Modules
XBee summary page
device series frequency power (mW) serial data-rate (bps) RF data-rate (Kbps) comments
point-to-point & point-to-multipoint
(series 1)
2.4 Ghz 1 (XBee)
63 (XBee-PRO)
to 115,200 250 Kbps original XBee devices (NCFG)
868 868 Mhz 1 - 315 to 230,400 24 Kbps long-distance, low data-rate (NCFG)
900 900 Mhz 50 to 230,000 156 Kbps greater range than 2.4-Ghz (NCFG)
XSC (extended range) 900 Mhz 100 to 57,600 9.6 Kbps long-distance, low data-rate (NCFG)
mesh networks
Zigbee (ZB)
(S2, S2B)
2.4 Ghz 1.25,2 (XBee)
50 (XBee-PRO S2)
63 (XBee-PRO S2B)
to 1,000,000 250 kbps interoperable with other 'ZigBee' devices; replaced series 2, 2.5;
(ZNET 2.5 = formerly Series 2). (CFG req)
DigiMesh 2.4 (DM) 2.4 Ghz 1 - 63 to 115,200 250 Kbps dynamic, peer-to-peer protocol (NCFG)
DigiMesh 900 (DM) 900 Mhz 50 to 230,400 156 Kbps dynamic, peer-to-peer protocol; same hardware as 900-series (NCFG)
XBee Wi-Fi 2.4 Ghz to 16 dBm (40 mW) to 1,000,000 to 54 Mbps 802.11b/g/n
1. NCFG ="No configuration needed for out-of-the-box RF communications" - this means the default settings for module addresses, RF-channel, and pan-ID are set so 2 of the same series modules will immediately establish comms with each other. Source and destination addresses have the same settings, which is allowable with no more than (2) XBee modules in a network.
2. CFG req = on ZB modules, the nodes should be configured as "ZNET 2.5" or "Series 2 Zigbee", as appropriate, plus "Router/End Device AT" (ATVR1241) for one node, and "Coordinator AT" (ATVR1041) for the other.
3. XBee series 1, 2, and 2.5 modules will not communicate across series, each uses a different protocol.

For a basic 2-way RF-link, such as between a PC and a remote board or robot, the 801.15.4 series-1 2.4-Chz modules are probably the most popular and least expensive way to go. The 1-mW XBee modules are rated for 100' range, while the 63-mW XBee-Pro modules will give 300' or so range with stock antennas. As noted above, they will provide instant wireless comms right out-of-the-box [albeit at 9600-bps] with no need for any configuring beforehand. Simply buy 2 of the same modules, plug into an appropriate carrier board, and go.

Antenna Types. XBee modules come with several different antenna types:

  • quarter-wave whip (on-module, simple piece of wire 1.25" long @ 2.4-Ghz).
  • chip antenna (on-module, flat square with 1/4" sides).
  • pcb-antenna (small snake-like trace on pcb) - not as common as previous two.
  • u.FL connector (tiny somewhat flimsy, made to mate with external dipole antenna with cable with u.FL termination).
  • RPSMA plug (made to mate with external dipole antenna with cable with matching termination - industry standard).

    The first two are most convenient for general use, the latter good for permanent installations where the external dipole can be mechanically mounted. The dipole antennas provide longer range operation. Also, because of polarization issues, it works best if both ends of an RF-link use the same RFM22B Vendors type of antenna.

    Overview of RF Modules

  • RFM12
  • RFM12/22 comparisons

    RF Module Vendors
    HopeRF RFM12 Transceivers
    - Embedded Wireless
    - Farnell
    - Karlsson
    - LittleBird
    - RobotShop
    - Sparkfun

    HopeRF RFM22 Transceivers
    - Karlsson
    - Electronics123
    - Embedded Wireless
    - Flytron
    - LittleBird
    - Sparkfun

    - Farnell 868Mhz
    - RFM23

    XBee socket-compatible modules
    - dozens of vendors.
    - many types of Bees

    Nordic nRF2401
    - ElecFreaks [2]
    - ElecHouse [2]
    - ElecFreaks
    - Itead
    - Karlsson
    - RobotShop [2]
    - Seeed
    - Yourduino

    RN-XV Wifi Modules
    - Roving Networks
    - Mouser

    Other Wifi Modules
    - Wiznet: wiznet, digikey, mouser
    - USB podules: adafruit, ebay, amazon

    Miscellaneous RF Modules
    - RobotShop
    - Sarkfun

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    © OT-Hobbies, April 2013, updated May 2013