Making Sense of Low Power and Ultra Low Power Radio
Although not everyone is a wireless designer, everyone seems to want to include a wireless interface on their chip or system. With the advent and exploding interest in IoT, the emphasis on making all data communication wireless has only increased. Some of these communication interfaces are interesting from a research point of view, and some are not. When overall power consumption and efficiency are of paramount interest, however, simply adding a wireless interface onto an otherwise low power sensing or computing chip may not be straightforward. In fact, the wireless interface is likely to consume the bulk of the power of these systems and overwhelm the power budget. With the range of technologies calling themselves low power wireless interfaces, it is no surprise that uninitiated system designers often choose the wrong one. The purpose of this tutorial is to demystify some of these choices and make it easier for designers whose focus is not on the RF interface to pick the correct technology for their applications and get started with simple designs. I will introduce the basic transceiver architectures for popular wireless candidates including: wakeup radios, low power UWB radios, NFC, backscatter radios, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. I will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages as well as potential applications for each. I will compare and contrast these radios with the end goal of enabling designers to make educated and intelligent decisions about which RF transceivers make sense for their applications in sensors, body area networks, IoT, implantables, or whatever they may be. Finally, attendees will walk through case studies and simple design problems and select suitable wireless interfaces for different applications.