Keysight and Sequans Team for IoT Deployment Test Offering

Keysight Technologies has announced an agreement with Sequans Communications whereby Keysight will use Sequans’ Monarch LTE for IoT chip platform to provide support for NB-IoT and LTE-M customers using Keysight’s E7515A UXM wireless test set (shown). The integration assures customers that they have their test needs covered for IoT deployments and are in compliance with 3GPP standards. Keysight and Sequans are developing products and solutions that are tailored for the IoT ecosystem and the companies are now working closely together to accelerate the deployment of IoT technologies in the industry.

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The combined solution addresses users’ deployment test needs and ensures compliance with 3GPP standards. Keysight’s UXM Wireless Test Set integrated with Sequans’ Monarch LTE for IoT platform supports testing needs of NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and enhanced Machine-Type Communication (eMTC) Cat-M1 customers. Keysight is testing for 3GPP RF/RRM compliance for NB-IoT and Cat-M1 using the Sequans Monarch chip.

Keysight Technologies | www.keysight.com

Sequans Communications | www.sequans.com

Kickstarter Enables Building LoRa IoT Gear in 3 Steps

Electronic Cats has launched a Kickstarter campaign called LoRaCatKitty to enable the building of Internet of Things (IoT) applications with LoRa in just three steps. LoRaCatKitty is designed to simplify the development of IoT applications using LoRa technology. It has based its development on the ESP8266 WiFi module and the LoRa RN2903 or RN2483 Microchip module.

LoRAKitty

The mobile application for LoRaCatKitty, allows you to generate and compile the firmware in the cloud and use your smartphone to transfer and the firmware to the board. All the necessary hardware libraries are accessible through the app so you can select, download and transfer them to your LoRa device directly. The solution uses Grove connectors that allow easy and quick use of sensors, actuators or external elements without the need for soldering. Users can just connect the blocks and build their project. LoRaCatKitty supports a long list of sensor modules with Grove connectors.

The LoRaCatKitty app for Android is used to wirelessly program the device and will allow beginners to develop an infinite number of applications in an easy and intuitive way. LoRaCatKitty is completely compatible with LoRaWAN platforms like The Things Network, Beelan and others, allowing you to access RESTful API resources which can be used to develop IoT apps easily with the sensors and actuators visualized.

Technical specs of the hardware:

  •     Class A LoRaWAN Soon support of Class C LoRaWAN
  •     Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n Encryption
  •     Wi-Fi: WEP/TKIP/AES
  •     Module ESP8266-12E Certified FCC
  •     Module RN2903 Certified FCC
  •     Power supply:battery port: 3.4 V to 4.2 V
  •     Micro USB: 5 V
  •     Output current: 1000 mA MAX
  •     Operating voltaje : 3.3 V
  •     Charging current: 500 mA MAX
  •     Flash memory: 4 MB
  •     Size: 50 mm x 50 mm
  •     Weight: 26 g

NXP and Widex Team for Wireless Audio Streaming Hearing Aids

NXP Semiconductors and Widex announced that they have collaborated to develop, test and integrate NXP’s NxH2003 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) audio streaming SoC into Widex BEYOND hearing aids. The two companies worked closely together throughout the product development cycle, merging the best of hearing aid engineering and wireless audio streaming semiconductor technology, to deliver hearing aid devices that can stream wireless audio from an iOS device, consuming only 2.8 mA current at 1.2 Volts, which is best in industry. This allows end users to enjoy music directly from their personal devices for prolonged periods of time.

iphone

NXP’s state-of-the-art BLE 4.1 certified solution measures only 7.25mm2 and has industry-lowest receive and transmit power levels of 4mW and 7mW respectively. The NxH2003 forms a total solution for ultra-low power wireless audio streaming as it embeds both an M0 microcontroller (running the protocol stack and application), as well as an embedded CoolFlux DSP (running all of the required audio processing including sample rate conversion and audio [de]compression). Furthermore, this advanced IC is highly integrated and can run directly from a Zinc-Air battery as typically used in hearing aids, which minimizes the number of external components and consequently reduces the volume of the end product.

Technologies and solutions for hearing aids and consumer hearables are converging as both markets share closely related use cases while at the same time facing similar end-user requirements and technology barriers. Both markets strive to design smaller and more comfortable end devices exhibiting longer battery life. Additionally, both hearing aid and consumer hearables companies recognize that users desire more functionality from their devices, ranging from the ability to sync with their phones, for calls, music, and games to biometric measurements for health monitoring.

NXP offers solutions for both markets. NXP has been providing proprietary NFMI (Near Field Magnetic Induction) technology to the hearing instrument industry for nearly a decade. And at CES earlier this year, the company debuted its NFMI-based MiGLO solutions with several OEMs in smart consumer hearables. The NXP MiGLO platform is designed to enable long battery life, exceptional audio quality and reliable wireless experiences while enabling the development of smarter, smaller and comfortable truly wireless earbuds or hearables.

NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com

13.6 GHz, Next-Generation Wideband Synthesizer

Analog Devices has launched the ADF5356, which is a 13.6 GHz next-generation wideband synthesizer with an integrated voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO). The ADF5356 is well-suited for a variety of applications, including wireless infrastructure, microwave point-to-point links, electronic test and measurement, and satellite terminals. The ADF4356 is a complementary synthesizer product that operates to 6.8 GHz and is comparable in performance.

Analog-ADF5356

The ADF5356’s and ADF4356’s features, specs, and benefits:

  • Generate RF outputs from 53.125 MHz to 13.6 GHz without gaps in frequency coverage
  • Offer superior PLL figures of merit (FOM), ultra-low VCO phase noise, very low integer-boundary and phase-detector spurs, and high phase-comparison frequency.
  • Feature VCO phase noise (–113 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset at 5 GHz) with integrated RMS jitter of just 97 fs (1 kHz to 20 MHz) and integer-channel noise floor of –227 dBc/Hz
  • Phase detector spurious levels are below –85 dBc (typical), and the phase detector comparison frequency can be as high as 125 MHz.
  • Fully supported by the ADIsimPLL, which is Analog Devices’s easy-to-use PLL synthesizer design and simulation tool. The synthesizers are pin-compatible with Analog Devices’s existing ADF5355 and ADF4355 devices.
  • Specified over the –40°C to 85°C range
  • Operate from nominal 3.3-V analog and digital power supplies as well as 5-V charge-pump and VCO supplies
  • Features 1.8-V logic-level compatibility

The ADF5356 costs $39.98 in 1,000-unit quantities. The ADF4356 costs $20.36 in 1,000-piece quantities. The EV-ADF5356SD1Z pre-release boards cost $450 each.

Analog Devices | www.analog.com

High-Performing, Intelligent Wireless Transceiver Module

The RF Solutions high-performance ZETA module was recently updated to include a simple SPI and UART interface. The ZETAPLUS module doesn’t require external components, which means a fast and effective plug-and-play setup.

ZETAPLUS

Available on 433-, 868-, and 915-MHz frequencies, the module is easy to set up and you’ll be sending and receiving data quickly. Furthermore, you’ll find it easy to create networks of ZETAPLUS modules or point-to-point links without the need for time-consuming register configuration.

With an impressive 2-km range, the ZETAPLUS is well-suited for sensor networks, sleepy nodes, and numerous other telemetry, control, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

RF Solutions | www.rfsolutions.co.uk

13.6-GHz, Next-Generation Wideband Synthesizer

Analog Devices recently launched the ADF5356, which is a 13.6-GHz next-generation wideband synthesizer with integrated voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO). The ADF5356 is well suited for a variety of applications, including wireless infrastructure, microwave point-to-point links, electronic test and measurement, and satellite terminals. The ADF4356 is a complimentary synthesizer product that operates to 6.8 GHz and is comparable in performance.Analog-ADF5356

The ADF5356/4356’s features, specs, and benefits:

  • Generate RF outputs from 53.125 MHz to 13.6 GHz without gaps in frequency coverage
  • Offer superior PLL figures of merit (FOM), ultra-low VCO phase noise, very low integer-boundary and phase-detector spurs, and high phase-comparison frequency.
  • Feature VCO phase noise (–113 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset at 5 GHz) with integrated RMS jitter of just 97 fs (1 kHz to 20 MHz) and integer-channel noise floor of –227 dBc/Hz.
  • Phase detector spurious levels are below –85 dBc (typical), and the phase detector comparison frequency can be as high as 125 MHz.
  • Fully supported by the ADIsimPLL, which is Analog Devices’s easy-to-use PLL synthesizer design and simulation tool. The synthesizers are pin-compatible with Analog Devices’s existing ADF5355 and ADF4355 devices.
  • Specified over the –40°C to 85°C range.
  • Operate from nominal 3.3-V analog and digital power supplies as well as 5-V charge-pump and VCO supplies
  • Features 1.8-V logic-level compatibility.

The ADF5356 costs $39.98 in 1,000-unit quantities. The ADF4356 costs $20.36 in 1,000-piece quantities. The EV-ADF5356SD1Z pre-release boards cost $450 each.

Source: Analog Devices

Lightweight Systems and the Future of Wireless Technology

Last November, we published engineer Alex Bucknall’s essay “Taking the ‘Hard’ Out of Hardware.” We recently followed up with him to get his thoughts on the future of ‘Net-connected wireless devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).

BucknallAs we enter an age of connected devices, sensors, and objects (aka the Internet of Things), we’re beginning to see a drive for lightweight systems that allow for low power, low complexity, and long-distance communication protocols. More of the world is becoming connected and not all of these embedded devices can afford high-capacity batteries or to be connected to mains power. We’ll see a collection of protocols that can provide connectivity with just a few milliwatts of power that can be delivered through means of energy harvesting such as solar power. It’ll become essential for embedded sensors to communicate from remote locations where current standards like Wi-Fi and BLE fall behind due to range constraints. Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) will strive to fill this gap with protocols such as Sigfox, LoRa, NB-IoT, and others stepping up to the plate. The next hurdle will be the exciting big data challenge as we start to learn more about our world via the Internet of Things! — Alex Bucknall (Developer Evangelist, Sigfox, France)

The Importance of Widely Available Wireless Links for UAV Systems

Readily available, first-rate wireless links are essential for building and running safe UAV systems. David Weight, principal electronics engineer at Waittcircuit, recently shared his thoughts on the importance developing and maintaining high-quality wireless links as the UAV industry expands.

weightOne of the major challenges that is emerging in the UAV industry is maintaining wireless links with high availability. As UAVs start to share airspace with other vehicles, we need to demonstrate that a control link can be maintained in a wide variety of environments, including interference and non-line of sight. We are starting to see software defined radio used to build radios which are frequency agile and capable of using multiple modulation techniques. For example, being able to use direct links in open spaces where these are most effective, but being able to change to 4G type signals when entering more built-up areas as these areas can pose issues for direct links, but have good coverage for existing commercial telecoms. Being able to change the frequency and modulation also means that, where interference or poor signal paths are found, frequencies can be changed to avoid interference, or in extreme cases, be reduced to lower bands which allow control links to be maintained. This may mean that not all the data can be transmitted back, but it will keep the link alive and continue to transmit sufficient information to allow the pilot to control the UAV safely. — David Weight (Principal Electronics Engineer, Wattcircuit, UK)

Brain Controlled-Tech and the Future of Wireless

Wireless IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in both private and public spaces. Phil Vreugdenhil, an instructor at Camosun College in Canada, recently shared his thoughts on the future of ‘Net-connected wireless technology and the ways users will interact with it.

VreugdenhilI see brain-controlled software and hardware seamlessly interacting with wireless IoT devices.  I also foresee people interacting with their enhanced realities through fully integrated NEMS (nano-electromechancical systems) which also communicate directly with the brain, bypassing the usual pathways (eyes, ears, nose, touch, taste) much like cochlear implants and bionic eyes. I see wireless health-monitoring systems and AI doctors drastically improving efficiency in the medical system. But, I also see the safety and security pitfalls within these future systems. The potential for hacking somebody’s personal systems and altering or deleting the data they depend upon for survival makes the future of wireless technology seem scarier than it will probably be. — Phil Vreugdenhil (Instructor, Camosun College, Canada)

Multi-Protocol Sub-GHz Wireless Transceiver Platform

NXP Semiconductors recently added the OL2385 family sub-GHz wireless transceivers to its low-power microcontroller and 2.4 GHz portfolio for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Based on a PIN-to-PIN compatible, sub-GHz transceiver hardware platform, the OL2385 supports multiple wireless protocols  (e.g., Sigfox, W-MBus powered by Xemex, and ZigBee IEEE 802.15.4).

With a two-way RF channel and common modulation schemes for networking applicatios, the OL2385 transceivers cover a wide range of frequency bands from 160 to 960 MHz. In addition, extended range radio operation is enabled with high sensitivity up to –128 dBm. Operation in congested environments is enhanced with 60 dB at 1 MHz of blocking performance and 60 dB of image rejection.

Platform features include: 14-dBm Tx output power compliant with ETSI limits; typical 29-mA transmit power consumption at full output power; less than 11 mA receive power consumption; excellent phase noise of –127 dBc at 1 MHz in the 868- and 915-MHz band for flexibility with external power amplifiers; and Japanese ARIB T108 standard compliant.

The OL2385 platform samples and development boards with SIGFOX are currently available. Mass production of preprogrammed parts are scheduled for the end of Q4 2017.

Source: NXP Semiconductors

Dialog Semiconductor & Energous Announce Wireless Charging Partnership

Dialog Semicondcutor recently announced it will be the exclusive supplier of Energous Corp.’s WattUp RF-based wireless charging ICs. As part of the partnership, Dialog will make a $10 million investment in Energous and work to help drive broader adoption of wireless charging in products such as smartphones, IoT devices, wearables, and more.

The partnership combines Energous’s uncoupled wireless charging technology and Dialog’s power-saving technologies. WattUp technology uses Dialog’s SmartBond Bluetooth low energy solution as the out-of-band communications channel between the wireless transmitter and receiver. Dialog’s power management technology then distributes power from the WattUp receiver IC to the rest of the device. Dialog’s AC/DC Rapid Charge power conversion technology delivers power to the wireless transmitter.

Sources: Dialog Semiconductor and Energous

Sensor-to-Cloud Kit for Developing IoT Applications

Interested in developing cloud-connected wireless sensing products? Silicon Labs recently introduced its Thunderboard Sense Kit for developing cloud-connected devices with multiple sensing and connectivity options. The “inspiration kit” provides you with all the hardware and software needed to develop battery-powered wireless sensor nodes for the IoT.

The Thunderboard Sense Kit’s features and benefits:

  • Silicon Labs EFR32 Mighty Gecko multiprotocol wireless SoC with a 2.4-GHz chip antenna
  • ARM Cortex-M4 processor-based
  • Supports Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee, Thread, and proprietary protocols
  • Silicon Labs EFM8 Sleepy Bee microcontroller enabling fine-grained power control
  • Silicon Labs Si7021 relative humidity and temperature sensor
  • Silicon Labs Si1133 UV index and ambient light sensor
  • Bosch Sensortec BMP280 barometric pressure sensor
  • Cambridge CCS811 indoor air quality gas sensor
  • InvenSense ICM-20648 six-axis inertial sensor
  • Knowles SPV1840 MEMS microphone
  • Four high-brightness RGB LEDs
  • On-board SEGGER J-Link debugger for easy programming and debugging
  • USB Micro-B connector with virtual COM port and debug access
  • Mini Simplicity connector to access energy profiling and wireless network debugging
  • 20 breakout pins to connect to external breadboard hardware
  • CR2032 coin cell battery connector and external battery connector
  • Silicon Labs’s Simplicity Studio tools support the Thunderboard Sense

The Thunderboard Sense kit (SLTB001A) costs $36. All hardware schematics, open-source design files, mobile apps, and cloud software are included for free.

Source: Silicon Labs

Contactless Security Chip Powers First NFC Payment Ring

NFCRing’s new EMVCo-compliant, wearable payment ring features a Infineon Technologies contactless security chip. Operating like a contactless payment card, the ring enables users to pay for products via an EMVCo contactless-enabled payment terminal. The EMVCo’s member organizations include American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay, and Visa.NFC Payment Ring

The Infineon SLE 77CLFX2407P contactless security cryptocontroller chip enabled the ring’s designers to develop a  wearable that doesn’t have a battery. The chip acquires the energy it needs from the electromagnetic field.

The chip’s features and specs:

  • Powerful 16-bit core
  • 90-nm Technology
  • SOLID FLASH
  • Common criteria EAL 5+(high)
  • EMVCo certified

 

 

The ring is available for $52.

Sourece: NFCRing, Inc.

WLAN Measurement Suite Solution for 802.11ax High-Efficiency Wireless

National Instruments (NI) recently announced an early access version of the WLAN Measurement Suite with support for the IEEE 802.11ax (draft 0.1) high-efficiency wireless draft standard. Combined with NI’s RF vector signal transceiver (VST), the WLAN Measurement Suite enables you to measure the performance of their 802.11ax designs confidently in the presence of significant new changes to the 802.11 physical layer specification.National Inst WLAN MeasSuite

Aso called High-Efficiency Wireless (HEW), the 802.11ax is intended to improve the average throughput per user by a factor of at least 4× in dense user environments. This new standard focuses on implementing mechanisms to serve more users a consistent and reliable stream of data (average throughput) in the presence of many other users.

The WLAN Measurement Suite offers the power and flexibility to generate and analyze a wide range of 802.11 waveforms, such as 802.11a/b/g/n/j/p/ac/ah/af. Now, with the measurement suite’s latest update targeting 802.11ax, you can speed up development work on 802.11ax devices. The software supports key features of 802.11ax, including narrower subcarrier spacing, 1024-QAM, and multi-user orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA). The updated measurement suite also includes LabVIEW system design software example code to help engineers automate WLAN measurements quickly and easily.

NI’s platform-based approach helps ensure you can update their existing PXI RF test systems to support 802.11ax device testing with a simple software update and continue to do so as the 802.11ax standardization process evolves. You can take advantage of this smarter approach to RF test to help lower the cost of testing and better prepare for future connectivity and cellular standardization initiatives, such as 5G.

Source: National Instruments

Cross-Platform, Dual-Band Spectrum Analyzer for Wireless Pros

Oscium recently announced the WiPry 5x, a dual-band spectrum analyzer solution that visualizes all spectral activity on 2.4 and 5 GHz on both iOS and Android devices.  A hardware plug-in accessory, the WiPry 5x makes possible to identify and avoid interferences and optimize wireless connectivity from a smartphone or tablet. The portable WiPry 5x is an excellent tool for field technicians, wireless professionals, and home audio enthusiasts who need to set up wireless audio networks.Oscium - WiPry5x

Oscium currently offers the LogiScope (logic analyzer), iMSO-204L and iMSO-104 (mixed-signal oscilloscopes), WiPry-Pro Combo (combination spectrum analyzer and dynamic power meter), WiPry-Pro (2.4-GHz spectrum analyzer), and now the new WiPry 5x Dual Band Spectrum Analyzer (2.4 and 5 GHz) with cross platform support. By adding coverage to the Android market and supporting 5 GHz, Oscium has expanded its customer base and made some significant improvements in direct response to market’s demands.

The WiPry 5x visualizes all wireless activity on both the 2.4 and  5 GHz hands. Measurement settings include 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and 802.15.4 (ZigBee). Also available is SSID-specific activity, which is ideal for troubleshooting home security, home automation, and home audio wireless installations.

The WiPry 5x costs approximately $499. WiPry software is free both in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Although initial support will only include iOS version 7.0 or higher and Android version 4.0.3 and higher, the hardware can support other platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. Compatible devices include Apple’s iPod touch (5th generation), iPhone 5 to 6S Plus models, and all iPads from the third generation forward, including the iPad Pro. All Android devices with USB On-The-Go are compatible.

Source: Oscium