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To provide interface capabilities for its Zigbee wireless mesh products, IDC has launched the ZB104 Ethernet Gateway for logistics, warehouse distribution, manufacturing and medical applications.

The ZB104 is a dual-function device, which acts as the central co-ordinator for a network of Zigbee devices; it also transfers data to and from the wireless network over Ethernet.

The gateway uses standard 10/100 BaseT Ethernet, making it simple and flexible for integrators to achieve interface solutions across all networks.

The company is also providing wider connectivity options for manufacturing and automation with a new standard OPC Server interface.

This allows industrial automation Scada and DCS applications supporting OPC client connectivity to integrate IDC’s ZB product range.

The ZB104 is the latest addition to IDC’s range of Zigbee modules for cable-less wireless mesh networking.

It features power over Ethernet or, alternatively, it can be powered via an external 5VDC power supply.

The device is housed in an IP45-rated enclosure and is provided with a wall-mounting bracket to facilitate installation.

The IDC range of Zigbee modules is designed around the ZB108 OEM module, which features a complete system on chip (SoC), combining a high-performance microprocessor with digital, analogue and serial connectivity.

In addition to the ZB104 and the ZB108, the range includes serial and OPC gateways, routers, logic and serial controllers, handheld keypads, key fobs with touch screens and analogue general-purpose modules, which will be introduced in the near future.

All of these devices offer embedded intelligence, 16-digit identifiers and internal position tracking algorithms based on received signal strength.

In addition, they consume very little power.

The Zigbee wireless network used by the modules is based on IEEE 802.15.4, the licence-free international standard, which provides 2.4GHz, two-way communications and is capable of connecting hundreds of devices together in a mesh network using gateways, router and end devices (usually battery powered).

The product range features the Zigbee stack, which leverages the advantages of continued mainstream development and future compatibility with other manufacturers’ equipment and products.

IDC supports its Zigbee products with complementary software applications including over-the-air programming, data logging, remote control and position tracking.

Hardware, application firmware, PC-based software and server applications are all designed in house by IDC software engineers at the company’s headquarters in Derby.

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