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The CC1100/CC1101/CC2500 radios are transceivers designed for very low-power wireless applications. The CC1100/CC1101 radios can operate at frequency bands 315, 433, 868, and 915 MHz. The CC2500 radio operates at 2.4 GHz.

Dubbed project "Blaze" to encompass all of these radios types, this TinyOS development will continue pushing the boundaries of practical and efficient radio technology in wireless sensor networks.


Tmote2500 Development Platform

Radio Software

Drivers for TinyOS are open-source and are located in the tinyos-2.x-contrib/blaze repository.



Radio Comparisons

Side-by-side Performance

CC1100 vs. CC2500 vs. CC2420 vs. AT86RF230
CC1100 CC2500 CC2420 AT86RF230
Throughput 1.2-500 kbps 1.2-500 kbps 250 kbps 250 kbps
Frequencies 315/433/915 MHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz
Rx Current 14 mA 12.8 mA 19.7 mA 15.5 mA
Tx Current 15 mA 21.6 mA 17.4 mA 16.5 mA
Output Power +10 dBm +1 dBm +0 dBm +3 dBm
Receiver Sensitivity -111 dBm -104 dBm -95 dBm -101 dBm
Packaging 20QFN 4×4 mm 20QFN 4×4 mm QLP-48 7×7 mm QLP-32 5×5 mm
Encryption None None AES-128 None
Current Low Power Implementations Wake-on Radio/ XMAC / BMAC / BoX-1 / BoX-2 Wake-on Radio / XMAC / BMAC / BoX-1 / BoX-2 BoX-MAC-2 unknown
Experimental Range on the ground 700-800 ft (315 MHz) unknown 10-20 ft unknown



The CC1100/CC1101/CC2500 radios are pin and driver compatible. Dual-radio platforms are easily achievable, and exist today.

Range vs. Frequency

The lower the frequency, the longer the range. The CC1100 sports the lowest frequency.

Frequency vs. Antenna Size

The lower the frequency, the larger the antenna. The 2.4 GHz radios, CC2500 and CC2420, require the smallest antenna.

Frequency vs. Throughput

There is no correlation between frequency and throughput on any of these radios. The CC1100 radio at 315 MHz can transmit at 500 kbps, while the CC2420 at 2.4 GHz always transmits at 256 kbps.

Throughput vs. Current Consumption

The higher the throughput, the less energy it takes to transmit the data. In terms of raw throughput, the CC1100 and CC2500 can be more energy efficient than the fixed-rate throughput of the CC2420. However, at a lower throughputs, the maximum current consumption decreases. Although the maximum current consumption decreases (helping you match to a particular battery better), the total energy consumption increases because it takes longer to send the same amount of data.

Throughput vs. Range

The CC1100 and CC2500 can decrease their throughput to achieve longer range. With the CC1100 radio at 315 MHz, for example, we've achieved a maximum of ~700-800 feet transmission range on the ground at 500 kbps. If we were to decrease the data throughput, that would increase radio sensitivity and therefore achieve longer range.


The CC1100 and CC2500 include hardware Wake-on-Radio (low power listening) functionality. Your microcontroller can completely go to sleep while your radio duty cycles in the background. Note: it is a considered opinion that bugs present on the CCXX00 silicon prevent this as a reliable operation in current capabilities. This is an active area of research.