The growth of biotelemetry applications in recent years has spurred many developments. Among the most recent is a 1-V multimode RF transceiver for wireless-body-area-network (WBAN) applications. The IEEE 802.15.6 wireless-communications standard has been developed to promote device interoperability while enabling ultra-low-power device implementation and the required security and quality of service (QoS). On the consumer side, meanwhile, existing personal-area-network (PAN) protocols like Bluetooth have been migrated to meet the low-energy and robust needs of WBANs. At the UK’s Toumaz Microsystems Ltd., a 1-V, 5-mA multimode IEEE 802.15.6/Bluetooth transceiver has been developed for biotelemetry applications.

The transceiver was developed by Alan Chi Wai Wong, Mark Dawkins, Gabriele Devita, Nikolaos Kasparidis, Andreas Katsiamis, Oliver King, Franco Lauria, Johannes Schiff, and Alison J. Burdett. In a WBAN, sensor nodes are worn on or implanted in the human body to monitor vital signs or stimulate normal bodily functions. The new WBAN transceiver operates in both 2.36-GHz medical body-area networks (MBANs) and 2.4-GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) bands. By implementing rotated differential-phase-shift-keying (DPSK) and Gaussian-filtered-frequency-shift-keying (GFSK) modulation, it adheres to both IEEE 802.15.6 narrowband and Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) standards. In addition, the transceiver design includes a proprietary 900-MHz ISM-band transmit mode based on FSK modulation.

The half-duplex transceiver achieves -104/-96.5 dBm receiver input sensitivity (for 10% packet-error rate) at data rates of 121.4/971.4 kb/s for IEEE 802.15.6. For BLE, it achieves -94 dBm with a 0.1% bit error rate at 1 Mb/s. It can deliver transmit power to +3/+5 dBm, respectively, for IEEE 802.15.6 and BLE. The transceiver consumes 4.8 mA during IEEE 802.15.6 and BLE receive and 4.6 mA during BLE transmit at -10 dBm output power (from a 1-V supply). To perform IEEE 802.15.6 transmission at -10-dBm output power, 5.9 mW is consumed. This drops to 1.7 mW for proprietary 900-MHz transmission. See “A 1 V 5 mA Multimode IEEE 802.15.6/Bluetooth Low-Energy WBAN Transceiver for Biotelemetry Applications,” IEEE Journal Of Solid-State Circuits, Jan. 2013, p. 186.