Need to get some data across a long distance on a dedicated private network, but don’t want to run wires? These nifty little contraptions let you send your data up to 15 miles – assuming you’ve got a line-of-sight connection.
XBee 900 XCS and XBee 900 wireless modules send data over the 900MHz ISM band (which requires no FCC license), allowing for information to be sent over great distances. The XCS models can push data up to 15 miles away, but only sends and receives data at a pokey 9.6kbps. On the other hand, the 900 modules can still traverse up to 6 miles line-of-sight at up to 156kpbs (still not super-fast, but passable for transmitting small amounts of data). The boards are part of the hacker-favorite XBee module series, which makes it easy to connect these devices to a microcontroller like an Arduino for all sorts of custom applications.
Sure, most of us connect our PCs wirelessly at an access point, and let wires connect behind the scenes, but for completely wire-free projects (like sending private data between two offices across town on the cheap), these devices are some of the most powerful little devices out there. Wondering what else you could use these for? There are a variety of interesting XBee project ideas bubbling over on the SparkFun forums.
The XBee 900 series is available over at SparkFun Electronics. Maybe I’ll wire these up to the brains of my dog and my cat and see if they can transmit secret messages to each other from across town.