Originally Published MPMN October
Originally Published MPMN October 2004
HOTLINECompany Builds Bridge to Wireless Connectivity for OEMs
Embedded bridge module is designed for easy integration
|An embedded bridge module developed by DPAC Technologies simplifies adding wireless connectivity to products with a built-in serial interface.|
The first in a family of embedded bridge modules designed to provide drop-in
wireless connectivity for OEM applications includes an RS-232 interface and
manufacturer-specific command set. DPAC Technologies (Garden Grove, CA)
designed the device to reduce the time and effort involved in adding 802.11
connectivity to products with a built-in serial interface. The medical device
sector is one of the firms core markets.
Built on the companys small-form-factor Airborne Wireless LAN Node Module, the Airborne Serial Bridge Module supports multiple industry-standard serial interface protocols and is fully IEEE 802.11b compliant. Baud rates from 300 to 921.4 Kb/sec can be accommodated, and the device can operate in full- or half-duplex mode. A key design element, notes director of wireless applications Mike Grobler, is its easy integration.
Programming and configuration couldnt be simpler, says Grobler. A built-in Web server provides full configuration using a standard browser. In addition, an onboard communication processor includes a full TCP/IP protocol stack, eliminating the need to set up network software in the host system. There is no need to develop a driver or firmware, or to wrestle with radio-frequency engineering, notes Grobler. The use of standard components also benefits customers, adds director of engineering Vince Cuomo.
Many competing solutions use proprietary technology, says Cuomo. We use a standard 802.11b protocol, widely deployed proven hardware and connectors, and a Web browser interface. All of the firmware is in standards-based code. In other words, you wont be stuck with a DPAC product now or in the future, he says.
To further simplify the OEM design process, the company offers a reference design kit. The kit provides all of the hardware, software, and documentation needed to quickly implement a serial-to-wireless interface with an OEM product. A Windows-based virtual communications port driver is included to enable rapid conversion of existing serial-port application software.
Many companies wont give the time of day to OEMs who dont have huge production quantities, says Grobler. Not so at DPAC, he stresses. We typically work with customers that make a few hundred to 10,000 products a year. Our goal is to make wireless connectivity available to companies that dont always have access to the technology.