To feed both home networking and the “Internet of Things,” multiple wireless standards will have to be available at any given time to support a multitude of functions. By combining IEEE 802.11b/g/n and IEEE 802.15.4 Internet Protocol (IP) standards in one chip, for instance, Gainspan Corp. is targeting smart-home devices ranging from gateways to appliances and thermostats. Because WiFi and ZigBee IP both provide for and support IP addressing and methods, they extend those Internet protocols directly to a device or sensor.

The key is that the GS2000 system-on-a-chip (SoC) includes the two wireless IP-based home-area-network (HAN) standards while supporting IPv4 and/or IPv6 devices. Thus, it extends Internet connectivity wherever there is a WiFi access point or hotspot. The chip leverages the high data rates and widespread availability of WiFi along with the small channelization and meshing capability of ZigBee wireless communications. In residential applications, for example, the solution will bridge the gap between smart meters using ZigBee and connected white appliances integrating WiFi.

The GS2000 system-on-a-chip (SoC) device features a dual-mode IPv4/IPv6 TCP/UDP networking stack along with additional networking services. Thus, it enables a complete networking solution for embedded microcontroller (MCU) -based applications. The SoC supports wireless-local-area-networking (WLAN) software and networking features, ZigBee IP (which is based upon 6LoWPAN), and IP-based addressing and methods over the IEEE 802.11x and 802.15.4 standards.

The chip also provides support for station/client mode, limited access point for easy provisioning or connecting to smartphones, and Wi-Fi Direct. In addition, Wi-Fi Direct with concurrent mode allows a device to act simultaneously as an access-point station and an access point for other devices. The GS2000 SoC and associated modules will be sampling this month with full production slated for later this year.