A single-chip, 2.4-GHz transceiver is promising to deliver impressive radio performance. The nRF24L01+ from Nordic Semiconductor (www.nordicsemi.com) delivers a 250-kb/s data-rate option mode that triples operating range and drop-in compatibility with the company's existing nRF24L01 2.4-GHz Ultra Low Power (ULP) transceiver. This device continues the legacy of the nRF24L01 in terms of being a true ULP wireless solution.

With a peak current of 13.5 mA, it provides enough power budget to run applications on standard coin cell batteries for years. (The practical peak current limitation of a typical coin cell is 20 mA.)

With the 250-kb/s data-rate option, the nRF24L01+ can provide 94 dBm sensitivity and extend operating range by around 3X compared to operation in 1-Mb/s mode. As a result, the nRF24L01+ is well suited for battery-powered RF applications that require maximum operating range without sacrificing battery life. The 250-kb/s mode is also air compatible with the 250-kb/s mode in Nordic's previous-generation nRF2401A transceiver family (the nRF2401, nRF2401A, nRF2402, nRF24E1, and nRF24E2). The nRF24L01+ is fully drop-in compatible with the nRF24L01mechanically, functionally and electrically.

The transceiver provides enhancements in wideband blocking and intermodulation performance that make the radio a good solution for environments that are prone to intensive Wi-Fi interference. In addition, the inclusion of a fast front-end automatic gain controller (AGC) improves dynamic range and operational robustness with close proximity interferers. The net result is less retransmits, lower average latency, and lower average current consumption in noisy RF environments. Prime coin-cell battery-powered application candidates for the nRF24L01+ include wristwatches and wireless sensors (e.g., heart rate monitors and foot pods used in sports products). Prime AA- or AAA-battery-powered application examples include wireless mice, keyboards, and RF remote controls that would benefit from battery lifetimes of up to one year.