Module uses interference blocking to boost range

Jon Lawson

Digi International has launched a wireless module with interference blocking for noisy environments.

The Digi XBee SX 868 can be deployed in regions that use the 868MHz unlicensed band and comes with pre-certification for EU countries to provide reliable long-range, low-data rate connectivity for industrial IoT applications such as agriculture, heavy equipment, transportation, and energy/utilities.

The surface mount (SMT) module is based on the Silabs EFM32 Gecko controller and ADI7023 transceiver and measures 22 x 3mm.

It operates in the 863 - 870 MHz frequency band (K, L, M, N, Q/R) and combines tuned Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) filtering with intelligent Listen Before Talk / Adaptive Frequency Agility (LBT/AFA) software to avoid connectivity issues caused by external radio interference.

The patented frequency scan occurs automatically without performance impact by listening to the radio environment before any transmission starts, automatically shifting to a new channel when a interference source is detected. This helps boost the range up to 14km.

The module has software-selectable data rates up to 80 Kbps, 128-bit AES encryption for data privacy, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communication, repeater mode, and the patented DigiMesh protocol option with advanced networking features such as self-healing network configurations, sleeping routers, and high-density mesh network configurations.

DigiMesh also allows nodes to both route data and enter low-power states, optimising the power profile of the entire mesh network.

An RF management and configuration tool called XCTU simplifies development and deployment of wireless networks based on XBee technology, including robust and scalable Over-The-Air (OTA) firmware update capabilities.

“The Digi XBee SX 868 Sub-GHz radio module provides sub 2 µA sleep modes, excellent receive sensitivity, and exceptional performance with a theoretical line-of-sight range of up to 14.5 km using standard antennas,” said Mike Rohrmoser, senior director of product management, embedded systems and RF connectivity at Digi International. “The module’s advanced immunity in challenging wireless environments, including problematic interference issues caused by public cellular networks, makes it the ideal choice for industrial IoT applications demanding reliable communication at all times.”

The Digi XBee SX 868 module is available for under $20 in 1K quantities with a variant containing an on-module standard U.FL antenna connector, as well as a variant containing a surface mount antenna pad for high-vibration or customized applications.