Freescale Introduces Ultra-Low-Power Smart Radio for Wirelessly Connected Metering and Medical Applications

Sub-1 GHz MC12311 solution utilizes platform approach, including hardware, software and tools, to help simplify development

MC12311 Chip
MC12311 Chip
MC12311 Block Diagram
MC12311 Block Diagram

AMSTERDAM, Oct 04, 2011 -- Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) is expanding its broad portfolio of wireless connectivity solutions with the new ultra-low-power, sub-1 gigahertz (GHz) MC12311 smart radio. The feature-rich, cost-effective MC12311 includes software and development tool support, making it a ready-to-go wireless networking solution ideal for smart metering, medical, building and home automation applications.

Pike Research predicts 535 million smart meters will be deployed worldwide by 2015, of which approximately 50 percent of them will use wireless mesh technology. To address the needs of these growing markets, Freescale, a leading provider of 802.15.4 ZigBee(R) wireless chipsets, has been expanding its wireless portfolio through new product introductions and partnerships to provide a broad range of solutions for standards-based and proprietary wireless connectivity. The Freescale wireless portfolio includes off-the-shelf and application-specific standard products for sub-1 GHz, 802.15.4 and ZigBee connectivity.

With the introduction of the new MC12311 radio, Freescale is expanding its wireless portfolio beyond its successful 2.4 GHz devices to include an integrated sub-1 GHz solution. The MC12311 platform combines a sub-1 GHz RF transceiver featuring high link budget and strong blocking immunity and a low-power, high-speed 8-bit HCS08 microcontroller (MCU) in a single land grid array (LGA) package, along with outstanding support in the form of multiple protocol stacks, development tools and reference designs to decrease design effort and time to market.

"Our new MC12311 smart radio offers consistent and robust RF performance as well as feature-rich flexibility to help simplify and speed our customers' path to market," said Bruno Baylac, director of Freescale's Metering, Medical and Connectivity Solutions business.

The MC12311 helps designers quickly connect to the smart grid by making it easier to add wireless connectivity to many types of equipment. The device provides improved propagation and increased range for home area network (HAN) RF communication to perform the wireless last mile connection for utility meter reading. It can connect smart meters to remote displays that show consumption data and thermostats that help control energy use. For medical applications, the MC12311 can replace cables to eliminate problems associated with wired connectivity, including cable or connector damage, as well as the potential spread of infection. Additional application examples include ultra-low-power medical sensors worn on the body, wireless building sensors that detect temperature and humidity, garage door openers and general cable/wire replacement.

Freescale and its partners provide a variety of resources, including software and development tools, to help improve design cycle time. Software and hardware enablement includes certified reference designs that simplify the design of applications that require RF connectivity, as well as complementary CodeWarrior development tools and kits that include cost-effective board combinations and features. Several protocol stacks are available, including Simple MAC (SMAC) and a subset of the IEEE 802.15.4g standard. These are part of the Freescale BeeKit Wireless Connectivity Toolkit, a standalone software application that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) in which the user can create, modify, save and update wireless network solutions. Additionally, a wireless M-bus protocol stack that meets the requirements of the EN13757-4 communications standard is available from Freescale partner AMiHo.

Feature-rich functionality and industry-leading RF performance

Freescale's MC12311 platform solution offers an integrated, sub-1 GHz RF transceiver that supports 290-340 MHz, 424-510 MHz and 862-1020 MHz frequencies while complying with global and local regulations. The MC12311 also includes the HCS08QE 8-bit MCU with up to 50 MHz bus clock, embedded 32 Kb flash memory and 2 Kb of RAM to support wireless communication protocol and application software in a single chip. The MCU offers multiple 16-bit timers, up to 33 GPIO, 13-bit port keyboard interrupt, 10-channel 12-bit ADC, SCI, I2C and dual analog comparators.

Leading RF performance and security features include:

Exceptional RF performance with a budget link up to +137 dB

Up to -120 dBm sensitivity @ 1.2 Kbps, -105 dBm @ 38.4 Kbps, -18 to +17 dBm output in step of 1 dBm

"Bulletproof" front end: IIP3 = -18 dBm, IIP2 = +35 dBm, 80 dB blocking immunity

Low-power features such as 100 nA configuration retention, 16 mA Rx current, 20 mA Tx current at 0 dBm and 33 mA Tx current at +10 dBm make the MC12311 suitable for battery-operated equipment

Support of multiple modulation schemes (GFSK, MSK, GMSK and OOK), enabling a common, flexible platform development compliant with multiple standards

Embedded full packet engine with FIFO, synch word recognition, CRC computation and AES128 encryption and decryption without MCU running, enabling low-power implementations

Availability and price

The MC12311 platform solution is available in a RoHS-compliant 8x8, 60-pin LGA package, supporting -40 to +85°C operating temperatures with a voltage range from 1.8V to 3.6V to meet industrial and medical application requirements. Sample quantities of the MC12311 are available now from Freescale, with pricing starting at $2.79 (USD) in 1,000-unit quantities. Development kits are expected to be available from authorized distributors in December 2011. For more information, visit

Metering Europe

Freescale will be demonstrating an In-Home Energy Display during Metering Europe at Booth F81 in the RAI Convention Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In this demo, the IHED receives data from a smart meter through wireless M-Bus communication running on the MC12311 smart radio.

About Freescale Semiconductor

Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing and sales operations around the world.

Freescale, the Freescale logo and CodeWarrior are trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off., BeeKit is a trademark of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. © 2011 Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.