faq

networking

How many nodes can we have in a network?

The theoretical limit for a ZigBee network is 65,536 nodes and the theoretical limit for a Thread network is 255 nodes. Silicon Labs has successfully deployed ZigBee networks containing thousands of nodes. Click here to see a case study.

What is the typical hop latency once the network is setup?

Latencies on the order of 10ms per hop (including security) are typical.

Security is a requirement. Can you provide more details about what the zicm35x chipset supports?

The EM35x supports 128-bit AES encryption. NIST-based CCM, CCM, CBC-MAC, and CTR modes are implemented in hardware.

manufacturing

What are the default software configurations for cel's modules?

Modules included with the Silicon Labs development kit come loaded with Silicon Labs' nodetest software. CEL production modules come loaded with CEL's Hardware Evaluation Software.

This software can be downloaded from the "Dev Tools & Software" product page on the CEL website.

What options are available for programming the cel mini module in production?

CEL recommends customers use the 10-pin Insight port and an Ember Debug Adapter (ISA3) to load or debug software. Please see the ZICM35xSPx Hardware Design Guidelines for the recommended connector and the debug port pin connections.

CEL also sells a programming fixture that can be used for programming in conjunction with the Ember Debug Adapter (ISA3). Please see the ZICM35xSPx Programming Fixture application note located here for more details. Please contact us here for pricing and availability.

Silicon Labs offers two software tools for programming:Ember® EM35x Utilities Guide for the EM35x SoC Platform

Ember® Debug Adapter (ISA3) Technical SpecificationWith both options you can use the ISA3 debug port in conjunction with the Ember Debug Adapter and reprogram the modules using Ember Desktop (Ethernet) or the ISA Utilities (USB) provided by Silicon Labs.

Is there a unique serial number stored on each cel module and if so how i do access it?

Yes, the module serial number is stored in the manufacturing token TOKEN_MFG_CUSTOM_EUI_64. See the Silicon Labs application note Ember® EM35x Utilities Guide for the EM35x SoC Platform for details on reading tokens.

How do i read token information?

Please see the following document from Silicon Labs for examples on how to read tokens: Ember® EM35x Utilities Guide for the EM35x SoC Platform.

software

Where can i get information on the silicon labs ember stack?

Silicon Labs' API documents are very comprehensive, and their support is very good. For more information, click here. For video tutorials, lectures, and forum, please visit the Silicon Labs community.

Does silicon labs offer a trial version of ember desktop for software evaluation?

Silicon Labs does not offer a trial version of their software environment. We recommend starting with the development kit. Click here for more information.

Are there any tutorials available to help familiarize us with the silicon labs development environment?

Silicon Labs offers an extensive set of videos which provide an introduction to the Ember Desktop tools and App Builder. Click here for a good place to start.

What gpios are available on the cel mini module for emberznet pro stack and the ezsp interface?

The EM35x Mini Modules fully support both the EmberZNet PRO stack and the EZSP interface. All EM35x GPIOs are available at the module castellation pins, so all of the IC functionality is available when developing with the Mini Modules.

Where can i purchase an evaluation kit for the cel mini modules when developing with the ember stack?

We recommend purchasing the Silicon Labs development kit to start evaluation of the CEL Mini Modules. The part number is EM35X-DEV or EM35X-DEV-IAR, depending on whether you already have an IAR license. Click here for more details.

Does silicon labs supply spi drivers that allow data to be moved into and out of the soc? If so are they available via an api call?

Silicon Labs supplies SPI drivers as part of the EmberZNet PRO stack. Within the Silicon Labs support portal there are application notes that will walk the customer through this process.

hardware

What module do you recommend we start with for new zigbee designs?

We recommend using the ZICM357SP2-2 module for new designs. This is one of the world's smallest ZigBee modules, and has excellent RF performance and low cost.

What module do you recommend we start with for new thread designs?

We recommend using the ZICM3588SP2-2 module for new designs.

The zicm35xsp2-2 datasheet states in the i/o pin assignment table that pc5 and pc6 are not connected to module i/o pins. Can you explain?

In order to improve sleep current performance, PC5 and PC6 are used internally in the module and are not connected to the ZICM35xSP2-2 castellations. We recommend all new designs label these pins as "Not Used" in the schematic and not to connect them to any external circuits. If you are using the ZICM35xSP0 modules, these pins are still available for general purpose digital I/O.

What is the maximum allowable power supply ripple?

Please refer to the Hardware Design Guidelines application note located here.

Does the em35x support hardware flow control?

Flow control is used by a data receiver to prevent buffer overflow by signaling an external device when it is and is not allowed to transmit. RTS/CTS hardware flow control uses two signals, nRTS and nCTS, in addition to receive and transmit data lines. Hardware flow control is available in NCP mode. Please see the Silicon Labs EM35x documentation for more details.

We’ve purchased the em35x development kit for our future deployments. Is it possible to update the firmware of an em250 module with what was provided in the kit?

The EM250 uses a different core processor than the EM35x. If your design was developed using Ember Desktop's Application Builder, it may be possible to update your project file to support the EM35x.

Is a em35x-dev(-iar) development kit required to use cel's mini modules and usb sticks? Where can we purchase the development kit?

Yes, you need to purchase the Silicon Labs development kit if you will be developing a product using the Silicon Labs EmberZNet PRO or Thread stacks. Click here for the Silicon Labs product page.

Is it possible to use the zicm35xspx module as a network coprocessor? We do not want to use your module as the host in our system and would like to use another microprocessor.

Silicon Labs offers an Ember ZigBee EM35x NCP Add-On Kit for evaluation of the EM35x as a network co-processor. We recommend purchasing this add-on kit. It is our experience that it is easier and faster to get the product up and running with the add-on kit and then porting this code to the target microprocessor. For more details click here.

We are having trouble properly powering the module via an external source (like a battery or power supply), but are able to debug our product using the isa3 adapter, why is this?

Check your VCC and GND connections on the ZICM35xSPx module. The ISA3 will supply power correctly via the programming connector using internal power if switched on; there might be a problem with the custom board. Please refer to our Hardware Design Guidelines application note for a reference design and proper power connections.

What is the range of your modules?

The CEL Mini Module has best-in-class range due to the combination of its industry-leading output power plus its innovative antenna design. Actual range really depends on your RF environment. We recommend conducting a range test in the target environment with one of our modules.

How does the tx power step (in software) correspond to the dbm output level?

In the ZICM35xSP2, the “Power Setting” value represents the signal level of the EM35x transmitter (since this is software controlled). The ZICM35xSP2 module contains an amplifier that increases the EM35x output by about 22dB. Therefore for the ZICM35xSP2, a Power Setting of -2 will yield around 20dBm at the output of the module (-2dBm + 22dB = 20dBm). Please see the Software Design Guidelines application note for more details.

How do i enable the lna/pa in the zicm35xsp2?

Please see the Software Design Guidelines application note for more details.

Would it be possible to get a description of how the module was driven during its fcc certification?

FCC testing typically requires the ability to generate continuously modulated and unmodulated signals. To implement these power settings, you can use the CEL Hardware Evaluation software that comes pre-loaded on the modules, or it can be downloaded from our website. You will also want to refer to the CEL MeshConnect ZICM35x Test Tool User Guide.

Where can i find more information about the chipset used in the zigbee/thread mini module?

CEL's ZigBee/Thread Mini Modules use the Silicon Labs EM35x chipset. Click here for more information about the EM35x chipset.