Family of wireless microcontrollers connects the smart, energy-efficient home with ZigBee and JenNet-IP

January 11, 2013 // By Paul Buckley
NXP Semiconductors N.V. has introduced the JN516x family of wireless microcontrollers for the Internet of Things, as well as a new evaluation kit which simplifies commercial development of ZigBee, JenNet-IP and other IEEE 802.15.4 applications.

The JN516x-EK001 evaluation kit provides all the hardware and software components required for product design, and includes several demos such as a smart lighting system based on JenNet-IP; several energy metering applications using ZigBee Smart Energy; ZigBee Light Link; and an RF4CE remote control system. NXP is showcasing the company’s ultra-low-power, high-performance wireless microcontrollers at the 2013 International CES. One of the many smart home and energy products using NXP’s wireless microcontrollers is a wireless energy harvesting switch from Cherry, which operates without a battery and can be used for any application in the home requiring an on-off switch.

The JN516x evaluation kit is specifically designed for use with the NXP JN5161, JN5164 or JN5168 wireless microcontrollers, which feature an enhanced 32-bit RISC processor with best-in-class memory options - up to 256 kB of embedded flash, 4 kB of on-chip EEPROM and 32 kB of RAM. The JN516x series devices also include an IEEE802.15.4 2.4-GHz transceiver and extensive analog and digital peripherals.

Providing all the components required for system development, the JN516x evaluation kit includes a series of wireless carrier boards; plug-in expansion boards; USB dongles; a remote control; a specially programmed Internet router running enhanced OpenWRT firmware; and a complete software design kit. This comprehensive development kit makes it easy to design solutions for the Internet of Things using ZigBee, JenNet-IP or RF4CE.

Using the various demos included in the kit, designers can quickly produce proof-of-concept systems, with software that can then be used for end products using JN516x ICs or modules. The demos include:

  • A JenNet-IP-based Smart Lighting demo which uses the router to support connection to a WLAN or the Internet
  • A ZigBee Smart Energy demo that lets the user experiment with an energy service portal (via the USB dongle), an in-premise display (using the display expansion board), standalone meters for electricity and gas, or a range extender
  • A ZigBee Light Link demo that gives the designer