“Using a wireless module has several advantages. For one thing, all the RF engineering is done.”
The reality for many wireless engineering teams is that the wireless capability of their products is not their key selling feature. The market is pushing products that once functioned as wired devices now to be wireless.
The question for engineering teams with finite development resources is how much time and money should they devote to engineering wireless capabilities rather than enhancing the core functionality of their product to make it more competitive. For many products, the answer is to find the fastest, most cost-effective solution to the wireless challenge. But, what are the key challenges, and how do you overcome them so that you can focus on core product functionality? Start with the following factors:
• Understanding your requirement. Sometimes, the wireless requirement comes from a marketing organization that knows little about wireless technology. You must clearly understand the radio-frequency (RF) requirements and the environment in which your device will function. For industrial applications, the requirement includes all the physical aspects of operating in an industrial environment, range and bandwidth, noise immunity, ruggedness, and operational stability. If you are designing a consumer product, portability, battery power, and power consumption are often key factors. You must understand trade-offs; for instance, if you want a longer run time, you will need to pay more for a larger battery.