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The presented analysis shows that a system approach, that targets heterogeneous technologies, is clearly needed to address ultra-low power operation of hardware built for wireless sensor networks. CMOS design efforts have to be aided by a clear understanding of network requirements and protocol implementation. A very talented CMOS designer, or even dozen of them, working in isolation are not going to get far ahead in designing useful RF transceivers for "smart dust" applications. Although impressive progress has been made in the last decade in CMOS RF design in order to build state-of-the-art ultra low power wireless nodes CMOS designers need to pair with battery chemists, antenna physicists, and communication experts to execute on the exciting vision of "ambient intelligence"