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Tiny Linux module targets WSNs

Nov 21, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

SSV Embedded Systems is shipping a tiny, chip-like, Linux-based SBC (single-board computer) that targets “wireless sensor networks” (WSNs). The DIL/NetPC ADNP/9200 is based on an Atmel ARM9 microcontroller, and integrates Ethernet, UART, SPI, SSI/I2C, and USB controllers, among other functions, according to the company.

(Click here for larger view of tiny SBC)

According to SSV, the ADNP/9200 is specifically designed for connecting Ethernet LANs to WSNs. The SBC is based an Atmel 32-bit AT91RM9200 ARM9 microcontroller clocked at 180MHz, and is equipped with 64MB of SDRAM and 32MB of flash memory. It also integrates dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, dual UARTs, SPI, SSI/I2C, dual USB Host ports, and a USB Device port. For additional expansion, the module provides a top-side 16-bit “flexible” bus interface connector, plus 20 lines of GPIO (general purpose I/O).

Like other members of SSV's DIL/NetPC family, the ADNP/9200 conforms to the company's QIL-128 form-factor, which matches the footprint of a standard 128-pin QIL (quad-in-line) socket with 0.1-inch pin centers. Footprint dimensions of the SBC are 3.2 x 1.4 inches (82 x 36 mm).

The ADNP/9200 can be tailored to specialized applications, such as WSN, by means of the top-side connector that implements an “ESL” (expansion sandwich layer) interface. SSV says it has used this interface to implement small daughter modules (see photo, below) that enable communications with IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 WLAN, and a number of other WSN wireless standards.

ADNP/9200 along with an ESL adapter

From a software perspective, the ADNP/9200 comes with a flash-based embedded Linux system that “has been optimized, particularly in terms of communication capability,” according to SSV.

To simplify the development of WSN applications, SSV offers a WSN starter kit for the ADNP/9200, which includes the DIL/NetPC module along with a 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4 ZigBee-capable wireless interface ESL adapter, plus a battery-operated temperature sensor with a wireless interface. The kit supports the wireless transfer of temperature data via WSN to the ADNP/9200, and makes the data available via Ethernet or other TCP/IP-based access, according to SSV.

The ADNP/9200 and starter kit appear to be available now. Pricing was not disclosed.

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