GreenPeak Technologies has published a reference design for a USB stick that would be used to add RF access and control to set-tops, PCs, media players and other devices.
Based on its ability to reach beyond the confines of a single room, RF is experiencing something of a resurgence as a means of connecting devices within a home network. GreenPeak is using the radio frequency for consumer electronics (RF4CE) standard, also known as IEEE 802.15.4, and until recently promoted by the name ZigBee.
Any product with a USB port can host a stick based on the GreenPeak design, enabling that product to accept RF4CE commands from an RF4CE remote control or RF4CE wireless keyboard.
GreenPeak's reference design includes the software stacks for ZRD (ZigBee Remote Control profile) and ZID (ZigBee Input Device, which is an HID, or human interface device, compatible profile). Certification guidelines and tools are provided to ensure an efficient RF4CE and USB certification process. GreenPeak said its patented radio architecture makes its RF4CE products resistant to interference from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals.
"There are two big challenges with controlling home entertainment consumer devices. One is that things don't interoperate well, and the other is that you generally have to be in the same room as most of the devices you are trying to control," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group. "The brilliance of ZigBee RF4CE is that it aggressively addresses both problems because it can be added to any existing USB-capable device, and the remote uses the ZigBee network to provide location-independent control."