The top story of the last edition of EWT, titled "ZigBee vs. Z-Wave Battle Continues," received many good reviews and responses from readers. One of the readers, John Rouse, was eager to draw my attention to another company and wireless technology that is operating in the remote metering and home automation market space along with ZigBee and Z-Wave. Rouse is the director of sales Americas for Coronis Systems, which developed an ultra-low-power wireless meshed network technology called Wavenis. Rouse’s e-mail led me on an investigation of the Coronis Web site to see what I could learn about Wavenis.

Coronis and Wavenis background

Coronis System’s Wavenis is classified as an ultra-low-power, long-range, wireless mesh technology. Coronis System’s Web site indicates that Wavenis is an open standard for which Coronis has accumulated a good list of partners. The majority of Wavenis sales appear to have been in Europe where most of the Wavenis adopters are located.

Market categories addressed by Wavenis-based solutions include automatic meter reading, industrial automation, home automation, building management, UHF RFID track and trace, healthcare and handheld portable smart devices.

Back in February, Coronis revealed that it had passed the 1 million devices sold point, now more than 1.3 million. In May, Coronis announced that Mesh Systems, a wireless sensor network (WSN) integrator, had chosen to use Wavenis wireless technology for use in its new wireless sensor products. The company indicated that Mesh Systems was looking for a local area radio-frequency technology that could provide the long range and low-power characteristics needed for its high-volume, vertical applications. These earmarks of success drew the attention of the Elster Group, which purchased Coronis as announced the end of June.

Wavenis technical summary

Topologies – tree, star and mesh
Modes – point-to-point, broadcast, polling and repeater
Operation – self-configuring with dynamic routing
Flexibility – custom parameterization
Duty cycle – programmable
Supports – Active X for Win32 and Windows Mobile
Power – ultra-low 10 uA, 2.7 V with 1 s access time
Bands of operation - 868 MHz, 915 MHz, 433 MHz ISM (2.4 GHz optional)
Line-of-sight range - up to 1 km (125 dB link budget)
Indoor range – 200 m
Battery life – 10 years on a set of AA
PHY data rate – 4.8 kbps to 100 kbps
Medium access – frequency hop spread spectrum
Modulation – GFSK
Enablement – Wavenis API, Wavenis DLL, Coronis ref. designs and evaluation. kit

Wavenis applications

Wavenis wireless technology is finding its way into applications such as power consumption meters, residential gateways, home automation devices for lighting and mechanical control, temperature and humidity monitoring and control devices, level monitors for volume and pressure and handheld computing devices for data collection and inventory control.

Like ZigBee and Z-Wave solutions, Wavenis enables real-time remote monitoring and control of a wide range of parameters either under the watchful eye of computer automation or human intervention.

Applications are enabled with a Waveenis API, Wavenis DLL, Coronis product reference designs and an evaluation kit.

Wavenis positioning

Thus far, Wavenis does not have the mass or inertia of ZigBee or Z-Wave in world markets. Even so, Wavenis proponents emphasize ultra-low-power prowess and longer range over other solutions, valuable metrics for strictly battery-operated solutions and remote sensors. However, power consumption and range are not the only figures of merit that are considered when a wireless mesh solution is selected. Other issues such as the guarantee of interoperability, susceptibility to interference, security, multiple chip sources and the type of standardization upon which the technology is based are also important.

Some manufacturers demand that the technology be based upon a globally recognized regulatory standard, such as IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee), while others are satisfied with the weight of a widely accepted industry standard (Z-Wave). Less accepted are those classified as proprietary standards, which garner a following and may, over time, become an alternate industry standard if a strong value proposition can be preserved. Though proprietary, Coronis offers a Wavenis technology licensing program and technical support.

Time will reveal the successes and niches of, and for, these mesh technologies. We’ll be watching. Look for additional coverage of all three wireless mesh technologies in this column.

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