One company on the front lines of military unmanned systems and industrial wireless applications is FreeWave Technologies. Quite literally—millions of FreeWave’s radios have seen action in harsh and dangerous environments throughout the world. One notable product line offered by the company is the ZumLink 900 Series (Fig. 1). This series of 900-MHz radios is intended for a wide range of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, such as agriculture, oil and gas, utilities, and many more.
FreeWave recently introduced the ZumLink Z9-PC radio module, which is the newest addition to the ZumLink 900 Series (Fig. 2). The company actually calls the ZumLink Z9-PC its “most advanced embeddable radio to date.” In addition, FreeWave announced its ZumIQ app server software, which enables developers to program ZumLink 900 Series radios with their own applications. This capability allows for intelligent control and automation of remote sensors and devices.
The ZumLink Z9-PC joins the other ZumLink 900 Series products: the Z9-P, Z9-PE, Z9-C, and Z9-T. Like the other radios in the series, the ZumLink Z9-PC operates in the 902-to-928 MHz frequency band. Its output power level is user-selectable and can range from 10 mW to 1 W. Furthermore, the ZumLink Z9-PC can cover a range as great as 60 miles. Five data rates are supported, with throughput reaching as high as four Mbps.
The ZumLink Z9-PC takes advantage of FreeWave’s ZumBoost technology to enhance performance. This technology consists of four algorithms that can be used either independently or together to improve throughput in demanding RF environments. These four techniques are defined as packet compression, packet aggregation, forward error correction, and the patent-pending Adaptive Spectrum Learning technology. The ZumLink Z9-PC radio module is available now.
As mentioned, FreeWave also recently announced the ZumIQ app server software platform. This platform brings another aspect to the ZumLink 900 Series, as it enables developers to create and host open-source third-party applications. In essence, the ZumIQ platform combines 900-MHz wireless communications with app programmability, ultimately allowing sensor data at the network edge to be monitored, collected, and controlled. The ZumIQ app server software platform is also available now.
FreeWave’s vision can basically be described in its own words as an “iPhone strategy.” “Smartphones introduced a new realm of innovation,” said Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave. “That’s similar to what we’re doing with ZumLink radio.”