Newly Optimized RF24Network Layer v2.0.0
2020 - Optimized RF24 Network Layer for NRF24L01 radios
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Addressing Format: Understanding Addressing and Topology

An overview of addressing in RF24Network


The nrf24 radio modules typically use a 40-bit address format, requiring 5-bytes of storage space per address, and allowing a wide array of addresses to be utilized. In addition, the radios are limited to direct communication with 6 other nodes while using the Enhanced-Shock-Burst (ESB) functionality of the radios.

RF24Network uses a simple method of data compression to store the addresses using only 2 bytes, in a format designed to represent the network topology in an intuitive way. See the Topology and Overview page for more info regarding topology.

Decimal, Octal and Binary formats

Say we want to designate a logical address to a node, using a tree topology as defined by the manufacturer. In the simplest format, we could assign the first node the address of 1, the second 2, and so on. Since a single node can only connect to 6 other nodes (1 parent and 5 children) subnets need to be created if using more than 6 nodes. In this case, the

  • children of node 1 could simply be designated as 11, 21, 31, 41, and 51
  • children of node 2 could be designated as 12, 22, 32, 42, and 52

The above example is exactly how RF24Network manages the addresses, but they are represented in Octal format.

Decimal, Octal and Binary

Decimal Octal Binary
1 01 00000001
11 013 00001011
9 011 00001001
73 0111 01001001
111 0157 01101111

Since the numbers 0-7 can be represented in exactly three bits, each digit is represented by exactly 3 bits when viewed in octal format. This allows a very simple method of managing addresses via masking and bit shifting.

Displaying Addresses

When using Arduino devices, octal addresses can be printed in the following manner:

uint16_t address = 0111;
Serial.println(address, OCT);

Printf can also be used, if enabled, or if using linux/RPi

uint16_t address = 0111;
printf("0%o\n", address);
See also