The FreakLabs Freakduino 900 MHz Long Range Wireless board is designed to be an easy way to rapidly prototype and evaluate usage of high powered radios for wireless sensor networks. It comes with a full Arduino compatible subsystem and an integrated Atmel AT86RF212 900 MHz radio which conforms to the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol. It also sports a high power amplifier on the transmitter and an amplifier on the receiver that boosts the received signal more than 10x.
This board was originally designed to evaluate high power radios for research work in environmental monitoring applications. In a remote location, a wireless sensor network often consists of a localized sensor network to collect data and a long distance link to a location where the data can be processed or forwarded into the internet. If high gain, directional antennas are used, its possible to get communication ranges in the tens of kilometers.
This board is also good to evaluate the performance of a high power radio in environments that are either harsh or difficult for lower power radios to communicate. This is often the case in industrial environments where the background RF noise may drown out signals coming from lower power radios. Building automation is also difficult for low power radios since there are usually many obstacles to an RF signal such as ceilings, floors, walls, and furniture. This is often seen when communications occurs across multiple floors of a building.
The main feature of this board, as opposed to the standard Freakduino 900 MHz board is that the wireless front end is based on the TI CC1190 900 MHz RF front end IC and has a 500 mW power amplifier on the transmitter with an 11 dB low noise amplifier on the receiver. That's around 50x the transmit power and greater than 10x increase in the receiver sensitivity compared to a standalone radio.
This board was also designed for low power operation, consuming approximately 300 uA at 3V (2-AA batteries) in sleep mode. This would theoretically allow for months of operation on 2-AA batteries. It also features AES-128 encryption, a hardware-based true random number generator, and special high data rate modes that can transfer at speeds up to 1Mbps.
It comes with an RP-SMA external antenna connector for connection to a wide array of antennas including omni-directional antennas or high gain directional antennas which can provide even greater range. There is an optional battery boost kit which can take a varying battery voltage and convert it to a stable 5V. It will also provide up to 400 mA of current to supply the radio during transmit bursts. There is also an optional ruggedized enclosure or bottom mounted battery case for this board.
For the optional ruggedized enclosure or bottom-mounted battery case, these are available as a complete set or sold separately.
FREAKDUINO 900MHz Long Range Wireless Datasheet
chibiArduino Source code and Documentation
chibiArduino Library Usage Guide (pdf)
Walkthrough tutorial on basic usage for the Freakduino 900 MHz Long Range Wireless Board:
Freakduino Long Range Wireless Board WalkThrough - Part 1
Walkthrough tutorial on more advanced features for the Freakduino 900 MHz Long Range Wireless Board:
Freakduino Long Range Wireless Board WalkThrough - Part 2
Tutorial on assembling the board and setting it up:
Tutorial on installing the chibiArduino library:
Tutorial on using it as an 802.15.4 protocol analyzer. That way, it's possible to decode XBee/Zigbee or 6LoWPAN traffic:
Tutorial on using the Freakduino to wirelessly sequence and control lighting or motors via DMX: