Starman Electric has recently released a new wireless module to make point-to-point wireless control and data acquisition easier than ever. These modules will be very useful for wireless DRONE or UAV control, or for data monitoring and measuring. Branded with the name DataBridge™, these modules offer simple and reliable bridging of analog, digital, and Serial UART signals between two points. Two modules automatically link together and function as a wireless cable, sampling and repeating the signal at 200 times per second, giving it one of the fastest latencies on the market. No software configuration or programming is required, and reliable data links can be made in seconds.
It looks like his product is almost a drop-in replacement for simple remote microcontroller applications.
The datasheet reports that the RF Baud is 40k, but that the UART supports standard bauds up to 115k. Something there doesn't match up. If all you need is high rate UART to talk to an autopilot, Xbees are half the price.
1. DataBridge uses FHSS/DSSS hybrid modulation which gives you much more reliability when dealing with wireless interference.
2. No software programming is required, and no configuration over UART is required. Additional configuration can be done through simple hardware jumpers.
3. Lower Data Latency, at just 5mS.
4. DataBridge includes 2 ADC inputs, and 2 DAC outputs, and creates a quick wireless cable replacement for analog signals.
5. Also comes in standard 0.100" DIP package for easy breadboard prototyping, and you won't need an adapter board.
6. Excellent Data Integrity.
7. Less power consumption. (DataBridge 100mW modules draw almost a fourth of the power as xBee 100mW modules)
DataBridge modules are incredible easy to use, and offer several benefits. You can't really compare directly to other modules directly since each will have it's own benefits, and the real determining factor is the application. DataBridge is designed for people that are used to hardware, as you can treat it like a wire.
When you're quoting "up to 4km range" - what total antenna gain (sum of TX and RX antenna gains) are you assuming in order to reach that figure? A curious old amateur radio operator (KA6RBJ) who's built and operated microwave gear would like to know.
It's generally impractical to have a dish or grid antenna on a tiny little RC plane.
You are correct. Xbee does not channel hop during normal operation, but like you said it finds the most quiet channel when establishing the network, and then stays on that channel. If that channel becomes noisy, the network will crash and reboot, and then once again try to find the most quiet channel. Xbee uses DSSS, while DataBridge devices use DSSS/FHSS Hybrid, gaining the benefits of both methods. For more information on this, read this article.
DataBidge devices work in a similar way to bluetooth, however, DataBridge hops every 5mS, continuously. Bluetooth hops even faster, and works great for high bandwidth, but it can't transmit very far, and it uses a lot of power.
Without a doubt, every protocol has its benefits, and it really depends on the application to choose the correct protocol. DataBridge being designed for longer range, low power, low-latency, and ability to work in harsh RF environments.
The main thing we're looking for is more range for less money. Frequency hopping, latency, & mesh networking are items, but people want to go 20km with no dropouts. That's the only metric anyone values in this business. Listen to the podcast with Reed & it's just about range vs cost.