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How to bridge 40 km (or more) with two XBee-PRO 868 modules?

Tags: .NET Micro Framework

xbeeproxsc-rpsma Since I first used the XBee modules from Digi International I got questions from developers how to get higher ranges. Well, the XBee 802.15.4 modules I’m currently using have a maximum range of nearly 100 m. The XBee-PRO modules that are using 63 mW (+18dBm) power output could reach up to 1 mile (~1.6 km). In Germany you have to limit the XBee-PRO modules to +10dBm because of some restrictions in the 2.4 GHz band, so you loose some meters.

Digi International now offers the XBee-PRO 868 modules which are using the 868 MHz short range device (SRD) GH3 band for Europe. With a dipole antenna you can reach 40 km, using a high gain antenna you should get a signal up to 80 km. The XBee-PRO 868 modules are pin-compatible with the XBee 802.15.4 modules which makes it very easy to choose the modules you need.

XBee-PRO 868 modules are long range embedded RF modules for European applications. Purpose-built for exceptional RF performance, XBee-PRO 868 modules are ideal for applications with challenging RF environments, such as urban deployments, or where devices are several kilometers apart. The XBee-PRO 868 features:

  • 868 MHz short range device (SRD) G3 band for Europe
  • Software selectable Transmit Power
  • 40 km RF LOS w/ dipole antennas
  • 80 km RF LOS w/ high gain antennas (TX Power reduced)
  • Simple to use peer-to-peer/point-to-mulitpoint topology
  • 128-bit AES encryption

By deploying this and any XBee device, OEMs are leveraging the value of the XBee product family and Digi's unsurpassed Drop-in Networking offering of gateways, adapters and network extenders. In addition, XBee users can take advantage of platform agility, the ability to rapidly change their XBee solution with minimal development.
Product summary:

  • 868 MHz SRD G3 band
  • 500 mW EIRP
  • RPSMA, U.FL, or attached whip antenna options
  • 24 kbps RF data rate
  • Industrial (-40C to +85C) temperature rating
  • ETSI Approved

I have ordered two development kits each including two modules and USB/serial boards. Digi has an offer until end of February 2008: $99 USD compared to a single module that costs already between $69 and $72 USD. The kits contains:

  • (1) XBee-PRO 868 w/ RPSMA Connector
  • (1) XBee-PRO 868 w/ Wire Whip antenna
  • (1) RS-232 Development Boards
  • (1) USB Development Board
  • (1) RS-232 serial Cable
  • (1) USB Cable
  • (1) 868 MHz RPSMA Antenna 
  • (1) Power Adapter
  • (1) 9V Battery & Clip
  • Various Adapters
  • My XBee library will support both modules, of course, and will be released this week.


    • Bernd Schneider said

      Hello Michael, sounds good. I have somme additional questions: * Is it possible to share my local internet connection (TCP/IP) to mobile notebook using XBee and your library ? If so is it hard to configure ? * Are there any restrictions in Germany using these XBee devices ? * What experiance have you made with the real data rates (24kbps) ? Bernd

    • Marcos said

      Hello, i think in build my own rf transmiter for radio model purposes using Some kind of radio modem and a set of ucontrolers like Atmega8. The product Xbee sounds perfect for my purposes. I need to know if with the parts in the development kit is posible to construct an emmiter (ic + anntena) and a receiver IC + anntena ensuring a range of at least 5 Km. I can do everything, in a short time, except the RF comunication Any people interested in colaborate on a proyect like this whit me? Thanks in advance MArcos.

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