Today at Computex in Taiwan, Rockchip announced a ultra-low-power WiFi SoC for IoT devices. The RKi6000 promises huge jumps in power efficiency, and the ability to provide WiFi connectivity at the levels of Bluetooth Low-Energy. The RKi6000 is a 802.11b WiFi combo-chip with up to 11Mbps data transfer rates. Rockchip explains that it achieves such drastic improvements in low power in the following ways:

- Improvements in wireless communication and radio-frequency architecture:  Rockchip’s patented technology greatly reduces an IoT smart device’s power consumption by receiving and transmitting data continuously, enabling devices to achieve ultra-low power consumption while in standby and in use. 
 
- Adaptive Dynamic Power Control Technology:   improves power efficiency in different working modes, greatly reducing all-over power consumption in different application scenarios and adjusting the chip’s power configuration according to data transmission requirements and actual transmission quality, achieving the best energy efficiency ratio. 
 
- Technological innovation - connects to Wi-Fi without waking up the main-control processor:   for IoT applications requiring long standby times while remaining online, the Rockchip RKi6000 maintains its Wi-FI connection without waking up the main-control processor, simplifying the power consumption system’s design and extending battery life.   
 
Comparing the RXi6000 to other competing solutions from Broadcom, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments or Gainspan shows significant reduction in Rx power, with up to 3 times less power than the next-best WiFi solution.

While Rockchip has a clear advantage in power over other LP WiFi chipsets, it's the comparison with other low-power transmission technologies that Rockchip is able to show its true strength:

When comparing the RKi6000 running WiFi 802.11b at 11Mbps, the chipset is able to present an order of magnitude of improvement over other technologies such as Bluetooth with Enhanced Data Rate, Bluetooth LE or Zigbee. The fact that this is a WiFi technology simplifies deployment and development of IoT application as it is able to use connections provided by standard infrastructures.  Applicable product categories include wearables, home appliances, home automation and safety. The RKi6000 starts availability in Q3 2015.

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  • MikhailT - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    "The RKi6000 promises huge jumps in power consumption"

    Umm, phrasing. Jump == increase == higher. More power consumption == bad.
    Reply
  • fteoath64 - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Just look at Table 2 column 2 and 4. This 802.11b uses almost the SAME power as BT 4.0 LE!!
    That is an amazing feat!. So we might see BT 4 uses lowering in future as sustained high data rate is not really possible with BT but wifi b is something else, way more useful!.
    Reply
  • mnguyen - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - link

    the actual word is '...in power efficiency' and 'power efficiency' is the opposite of 'power consumption' Reply
  • jonsmirl - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    These announcements just go into the my garbage if they don't include some kind of price guideline. Why waste time on this if it ends up being $15?

    From the press release: "Allows AAA Batteries to be Used for 35 Years". What a pile of manure, AAA battery won't last 35 years without anything connected to it.
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    Reply
  • BillyONeal - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    Because for some products (e.g. Nest Protect) $15 for the WiFi is reasonable. Reply
  • toyotabedzrock - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    The Nest Protect is a consumer product, this article is about a WiFi chip. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    No way in hell for it to be even $2! This is a sub dollar part!. Hey, you $15 can buy two full SoC modules!. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    So basically what we are getting here is Wifi B @ 11mbit while using the same amount of power as Bluetooth @ 1Mbit. Not bad, but doesnt having a legacy 802.11B device on a wifi network kinda slow it down somewhat for the other clients too? Reply
  • BillyONeal - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    Not if your router isn't terrible :). Just having the device on the network doesn't slow it down; it would only be if the device was consuming all 11Mbit that things would be an issue. Reply
  • wtallis - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    You can gain some performance by configuring your network to completely eschew compatibility with slow devices, but you also lose compatibility with some higher-speed devices that have bugs. It's usually not worth the trouble, but if you've got a lot of devices on your network generating a lot of multicast/broadcast traffic, it eats a lot of airtime at 1Mbps. Reply

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