5G-Ready IoT Module Provides Advanced Security

U‑blox has announced the SARA‑R5 series of LTE‑M and NB‑IoT modules for low power wide area (LPWA) IoT applications. The module is built on the u‑blox UBX‑R5 cellular chipset and the u‑blox M8 GNSS receiver chip. By integrating a hardware‑based Root of Trust in a discrete secure element within the UBX‑R5 chipset, the device provides robust secure communication from the chip all the way to the cloud. The secure element is compliant with EAL5+ High common criteria certification, making the SARA‑R5 well suited to protect sensitive assets and communications.

The module also features a lightweight and low power pre‑shared key (PSK) management system that is tailored to the needs of IoT applications, along with a comprehensive set of security features. LTE‑M and NB‑IoT are forward‑compatible with 5G networks and, by implementing key LTE‑M and NB‑IoT features from 3GPP Release 14, SARA‑R5 offers customers a smooth transition towards 5G via software upgrades to already deployed devices.

The SARA‑R5 series builds on the new u‑blox UBX‑R5 LTE chipset and the u‑blox M8 GNSS chip, which means that production and product lifetime are not dependent on third party chipmakers. For IoT system developers, this translates into long‑term availability, roadmap stability and technical support down to the silicon level.

SARA‑R5 comes in two product variants. Featuring a built‑in u‑blox M8 GNSS receiver, SARA‑R511M targets mobile applications in the automotive, fleet management, tracking, and telematics sectors. The GNSS receiver’s chip‑down design includes a dedicated GNSS antenna interface and can run in parallel with the cellular connection. This assures maximum design flexibility, while preserving overall system power consumption.

The second product variant, SARA‑R510M, is optimized to deliver the lowest achievable power consumption, drawing less than 1 microampere of current in power save mode, making it ideal for metering, smart city, connected health, security and surveillance, remote monitoring and other battery‑powered applications.

Samples for the SARA‑R5 series will be available in Q4 2019.

U-blox | www.u-blox.com

 

Open-Spec Omega2 LTE SBC Features Cat 4 and GNSS

By Eric Brown

Last December, Onion updated its MIPS-based, WiFi-enabled Omega2 board with a similarly OpenWrt-driven Omega2 Pro SBC that increased RAM to 512 MB and flash to 8 GB and added real-world USB host and micro-USB ports. Now, the company has returned to Crowd Supply with a similarly open source, OpenWrt Linux driven Omega2 LTE model with 4G LTE and GNSS location connectivity. Pricing ranges from $99 for the board alone to $199 for a fully loaded “Ultimate Collection” kit, all with early August shipments.

 
Omega2 LTE
(click images to enlarge)
The Omega2 LTE is not based on the Omega2 Pro, but rather the earlier, surface-mount Omega2S+ compute module version of the Omega2 announced back in 2017. Designed for the OEM market, the 42.9 mm x 26.4 mm  x 9.9 mm Omega2S+ module is equipped with the same MIPS-based, 580MHz MediaTek MT7688 SoC with 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n radio found on the Omega2 and Omega2 Pro. However, it has a smaller allotment of 128 MB RAM and 32 MB flash.


Omega2 Pro

The 80 mm x 50 mm Omega2 LTE board is slightly larger than the 73 mm x 44 mm Omega2 Pro. The 5 V board features a JST-PH battery connector and LiPo battery management for mobile and remote applications. The SBC is designed for applications including remote sensor hubs and real-time asset and fleet tracking gizmos that need to report “geoposition, an accurate timestamp, and other data to remote servers,” says Onion.

The Omega2 LTE is equipped with a Quectel EC25 chipset available in variants for North American and global LTE Cat 4 networks. Cat 4 provides 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink speeds. The Omega2 LTE board supports the module with a nano-SIM slot and U.FL connectors for main and diversity antennas.

The Quectel EC25 also supplies a “high-sensitivity, multi-constellation” GNSS receiver for satellite positioning with support for GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, and QZSS networks. With the help of a built-in U.FL connector, the GNSS receiver provides “accurate time data worldwide,” says Onion.

You can set up the system to keep the power-sucking LTE modem asleep for most of the time, waking only at intervals to transmit cached data stored on the microSD card. At the same time, you can keep the lower-powered GNSS connection operating continually. The system can also be configured to share the LTE connection over the Omega 2S+ WiFi radio, which can simultaneously establish an access point while running a client session. As usual, the WiFi radio includes with u.FL connector and is accompanied by a 2 dBi directional chip antenna.

 
Omega2 LTE detail views
(click images to enlarge)
The Omega2 LTE lacks the USB 2.0 host port of the Omega2 Pro. In place of the micro-USB port, it supplies a USB Type-C port with power and serial communications support. A USB-to-serial chip provides always-on access to the command line for configuration and debugging. Alternatively, you can use a more secure command-line terminal connection through the local network using SSH.

The SBC is further equipped with a power switch, a programmable button, multi-colored status LEDs for LTE and general operation, and a 30-pin GPIO connector. The latter supports the same add-on modules that debuted on the Omega2 Pro. including 10/100 Ethernet, 1-inch OLED, 16-signal servo, 4-channel, 16-bit ADC, NFC/RFID, and a proto-pad breadboard for soldering.

 
Omega2 LTE pinout and add-on modules
(click images to enlarge)
A $129 Essential Collection gives you the Ethernet and ADC modules, as well as a $10 3-in-1 Flex Antenna Kit. The Ultimate Collection adds the OLED, servo, NFC/RFID, and Proto-pad modules, as well as a $49 Pro Antenna Kit.

Like the Omega2 Pro, the board offers the OnionOS GUI stack on top of the underlying OpenWrt 18.06 Linux distro stored in flash. Running within a browser, OnionOS supports languages such as Python, GoLang, NodeJS, PHP, C, and C++. It also includes Terminal and Code Editor apps.

Further information

The Omega2 LTE is available for the next 36 days on Crowd Supply starting at $99 with volume discounts. Shipping is free in the U.S. and $10 to $15 worldwide, and current orders will be fulfilled Aug. 9. More information may be found on the Omega2 LTE Crowd Supply page and the Onion website.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on May 22.

Onion | onion.io

ST and Virscient Team Up for Connected-Car Effort

STMicroelectronics has teamed up with Virscient to help system designers build automotive solutions using ST’s Telemaco3P secure telematics and connectivity processors. Virscient offers support to ST customers in the development and delivery of advanced automotive applications based on the ST Modular Telematics Platform (MTP). MTP is a comprehensive development and demonstration platform incorporating ST’s Telemaco3P telematics and connectivity microprocessor.

MTP enables the rapid prototyping and development of smart-driving applications, including vehicle connectivity to back-end servers, road infrastructure, and other vehicles. Virscient brings a deep understanding of wireless connectivity technologies and protocols ideal for architecting connected-car systems that rely on technologies such as GNSS (Precise Positioning), LTE/cellular modems, V2X technologies, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

The Telemaco3P incorporates dual Arm Cortex-A7 processors with an embedded Hardware Security Module (HSM), an independent Arm Cortex-M3 subsystem, and a rich set of connectivity interfaces. With security at its core, and considerable flexibility in both hardware and software configurations, the Telemaco3P provides an excellent platform for connectivity within the vehicular environment.

ST’s Telemaco3P system-on-chip is designed as a solution for ensuring a secure connection between the vehicle and the Cloud. Its asymmetric multi-core architecture provides powerful application processors as well as an independent CAN control subsystem with optimized power management. Its ISO 26262 silicon design, its embedded Hardware Security Module, and automotive-grade qualification up to 105°C ambient temperature make it well suited for implementing a wide range of secure telematics applications supporting high-throughput wireless connectivity and over-the-air firmware upgrades.

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com
Virscient | www.virscient.com

 

U-blox Low Power GNSS Receiver Tapped for Smart Watch Design

Technologies from U‑blox and TransSiP have been selected for the recently announced PowerWatch 2 from MATRIX Industries. Power Watch 2 claims to be the world’s first GPS smartwatch that you never need to recharge. The smartwatch embeds the ultra‑small, ultra‑low power U‑blox ZOE‑M8B GNSS receiver. Meanwhile, TransSiP’s PI technology ensures energy harvested is used at maximum efficiency.

The PowerWatch 2 does away with cables and external batteries by continually topping up its battery using thermoelectric energy generated from body heat as well as solar energy. The watch can connect to your smartphone and display notifications on your wrist, while tracking activities and visualizing them using dedicated iOS and Android apps, as well as with popular third-party health and fitness platforms.

The PowerWatch 2 delivers location tracking using the low‑power U‑blox ZOE‑M8B GNSS receiver module that consumes as low as 12 mW. Packaged as a (System‑in‑Package), the 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.0 mm module helps achieve the watch’s comparatively low 16‑mm thickness. And concurrent reception of up to three GNSS constellations means that it delivers high accuracy positioning in challenging situations such as urban or dense forest environments and when swimming.

Satellite based positioning is typically the most power‑hungry process on a sports watch. Providing highly efficient conversion of harvested energy into a very quiet supply of DC power, TransSiP PI enhances the ability of the ZOE‑M8B GNSS receiver module incorporating U‑blox Super‑E technology, to strike an ideal balance between power and performance. Working on a tight power budget, the watch supports 30 minutes of continuous GNSS tracking per day, with unused time accumulating in the watch’s battery pack—powering two hours of location tracking every four days.

TransSiP | www.transsip.com

U‑blox | www.u‑blox.com

Modular DIN Rail Box PC Targets Transportation Systems

MEN Micro has announced the MC50M, a modular DIN rail box PC for embedded applications in transportation. The computer platform is based on Intel’s Atom E3900 CPU series. This makes the MC50M the ideal basis for functions such as security gateway, predictive maintenance, CCTV, ticketing systems or as a diagnostic server.

The MC50M can be used as a stand-alone product or in combination with a range of pre-fabricated extension modules, providing additional features and short delivery times. Extension modules can provide application-specific functions such as wireless communication (LTE advanced, WLAN, GNSS), MVB, CAN bus or other I/Os. A removable storage shuttle supports the integration of one to two 2.5″ SATA hard disks/SSDs. The wide range PSU allows isolated power supply from 24 V DC to 110 V DC nominal and extends the entire system to EN 50155 compliance.

The board management controller provides increased reliability and reduces downtime. The Trusted Platform Module supports security and encryption features. With the ignition switch for remote startup and shutdown control, the platform provides additional energy saving features. The aluminum housing with cooling fins ensures conductive cooling and fanless operation. The MC50M has no moving parts, so it can be operated maintenance-free.

The long-term availability of 15 years from product launch minimizes life cycle management by making the MC50M available for at least this period. MEN’s DIN rail concept is designed for flexible configuration of module combinations and is suitable for embedded IoT applications in various markets. The CPU modules can be flexibly combined with various expansion modules and power supplies.

In the modular system, the data transfer between the individual modules as well as the power supply of the components is implemented via the expansion connectors standardized by MEN.The concept specifications include housing dimensions, mounting, cooling and IP protection. In addition, the expansion connectors and their pin assignment are defined. DIN rail mounting (35 mm) is standard. Wall and 19” rack mounting is possible using adaption brackets.

MEN Micro | www.menmicro.com

GNSS Modules Enable Low-Power Location-Based IoT

Telit has announced the SE878Kx-A series of GPS and GNSS integrated antenna receiver modules for applications that require high performance, maximum reliability and low power consumption. Compatible with GPS, GLONASS, Beidou and Galileo, the new SE878K3-A and SE878K7-A enable device vendors to develop quickly and cost-effectively location-based IoT solutions for use in virtually any country worldwide.

The SE878Kx-A series supports dual internal-external antennas to ensure connectivity when one is broken or compromised, along with a SAW filter to maximize jamming immunity. These features make the modules well suited for mission-critical applications and other use cases where reliability is key, such as alarms, stolen cars or high-end asset tracking. The SE878Kx-A series also provides seamless integration with Telit’s cellular modules, including eCall/ERA-GLONASS compliant solutions, making them ideal for telematics applications such as fleet management, road tolling and in-vehicle navigation systems.

Telit | www.telit.com

Small, Self-Contained GNSS Receiver

TM Series GNSS modules are self-contained, high-performance global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers designed for navigation, asset tracking, and positioning applications. Based on the MediaTek chipset, the receivers can simultaneously acquire and track several satellite constellations, including the US GPS, Europe’s GALILEO, Russia’s GLONASS, and Japan’s QZSS.

LinxThe 10-mm × 10-mm receivers are capable of better than 2.5-m position accuracy. Hybrid ephemeris prediction can be used to achieve less than 15-s cold start times. The receiver can operate down to 3 V and has a 20-mA low tracking current. To save power, the TM Series GNSS modules have built-in receiver duty cycling that can be configured to periodically turn off. This feature, combined with the module’s low power consumption, helps maximize battery life in battery-powered systems.

The receiver modules are easy to integrate, since they don’t require software setup or configuration to power up and output position data. The TM Series GNSS receivers use a standard UART serial interface to send and receive NMEA messages in ASCII format. A serial command set can be used to configure optional features. Using a USB or RS-232 converter chip, the modules’ UART can be directly connected to a microcontroller or a PC’s UART.

The GPS Master Development System connects a TM Series Evaluation Module to a prototyping board with a color display that shows coordinates, a speedometer, and a compass for mobile evaluation. A USB interface enables simple viewing of satellite data and Internet mapping and custom software application development.
Contact Linx Technologies for pricing.

Linx Technologies
www.linxtechnologies.com