As the IoT phenomenon continues to gather momentum, so too is the demand for highly integrated modules designed for the IoT edge. Feeding those needs, a new crop of IoT modules have emerged that offer pre-certified solutions ready for design in.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become one of the most dynamic segments of today’s embedded system design. The scope that comprises IoT edge devices includes a combination of embedded processors and microcontrollers (MCUs) that provide intelligence. Those are combined with various wireless, cellular and other connectivity solutions to connect to the network.
To get to market quickly, IoT system designers are looking to modular solutions that combine intelligence and connectivity, while also taking on the vital certifications needed to get IoT implementations up and running. Over the past 12 months, a new crop of module-based products have emerged aimed directly at IoT. The product gallery in the next two pages provides a representative look at some of these modules.
An example application using modular IoT technology, is an ESP8266-based, distance monitor designed to help people properly maintain the official guidelines for social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. ESP8266 is an integrated Wi-Fi MCU for IoT applications from Espressif Systems. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a number of basic protective measures against the new coronavirus. Along with practicing meticulous personal hygiene and wearing a mask as appropriate, one important piece of advice from the WHO experts has been to maintain social distancing. This has been specified as keeping a specified distance between yourself and other people.
With that in mind, Sahil Rastogi and his team at Random Stuff We Make! (RSWM!) in Delhi, India, built a gadget that can help people properly implement the WHO guidelines about social distancing. The gadget that RSWM! created is called “Wearable Corona Distance Monitor” (Figure 1). This simple wearable device changes its color and pitch of sound, whenever a person comes closer than one meter to you. The key components of the device are an Espressif ESP8266-based NodeMCU ESP8266 breakout board and an Adafruit WS2812 5050 RGB LED NeoPixel Ring.
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • JULY 2020 #360 – Get a PDF of the issue
System Module Sports NXP i.MX8M Nano Processor
Based on the NXP i.MX8M Nano application processor, the Digi ConnectCore 8M Nano from Digi is an integrated system-on-module (SoM) platform. The Nano is designed for a wide range of industrial, medical, agricultural and transportation applications, including IoT, human-machine interface (HMI), equipment monitoring, audio/voice, edge computing and machine learning (for example anomaly detection).
• Industrial i.MX8M Nano quad/dual-core SoM
• Digi SMTplus form factor
(40mm × 45mm)
• Power management with both HW and SW support for low-power designs
• Multi-display and camera capabilities with hardware acceleration
• Pre-certified dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 1×1 and Bluetooth 5 connectivity
• Seamless cellular modem and Digi XBee integration
• Built-in device security, identity and privacy with Digi TrustFence
• Remote monitoring and management with Digi Remote Manager
ConnectCore 8M Nano datasheet
Module Uses Espressif's ESP32-DevKitC-32D
The ESP Module from Edge Devices leverages benefits of Espressif’s ESP32-DevKitC-32D, which lies at the heart of the ESP Module. The module’s circuitry allows for the control of four Panasonic SPDT relays via GPIO pins. 5V circuitry protection allows ESP32 to be powered from the screw terminals. Two more screw terminals function as grounds for power and GPIO pins.
• Based on ESP32-DevKitC-32D, with an ESP32 dual-core processor,
32Mb SPI flash
• 4x Panasonic SPDT relays controlled via GPIO pins
• Screw terminals for relay outputs, 6x analog inputs and 2x analog outputs
• 5V input, 3.3V and GND
• 5V input via terminal or Micro USB port; 5V circuitry protection
• DIN rail enclosure
ESP Module datasheet
BLE Module Serves Up Arm Cortex Processor
InnoComm BM20 module is based on Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 Bluetooth Low-Energy (Bluetooth LE) SoC. It features an Arm Cortex-M4 32 bit processor with FPU, 64MHz. Target applications include smart buildings, smart homes, CE remote control, health and medical, wearables and more.
• Bluetooth 5 - Nordic nRF52832
• 32-bit Arm Cortex- M4F CPU, 64MHz
• 512KB internal flash,
64KB internal RAM
• 2.4GHz transceiver
• Supports data rates: 1Mbps, 2Mbps
• SPI/I2C master/slave interface
Module Supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and BT 5.0
The WG3221-00 from Jorjin Technologies is a wireless local area network and Bluetooth combination module supporting 1×1 IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN standards and Bluetooth 5.0, enabling seamless integration of WLAN/BT and low-energy technology. The WLAN function is connected to the host processor via a SDIO interface, and the Bluetooth is connected via a UART interface.
• Integrated Crystal, power inductor, filter and diplexer on a single module
• M.2 type 1216 package 108pin
• Supports a low-power SDIO 3.0 interface for WLAN and a UART/PCM interface for BT
• Supports 20MHz/40 MHz at 2.4GHz and supports 20MHz, 40MHz or 80MHz at 5GHz
• BT 5.0, BLE, and ANT+ and backward compatibility with BT 1.x and BT 2.x + EDR
• Supports a single-ended RF port with I-PEX MHF4 connector
• 3.3V for main power supply. / 3.3V or 1.8V for I/O supply
• -30°C to 85°C operation
• 16mm × 12mm × 2.1mm
Device Enables 450MHz LTE IoT Applications
Telit’s ME310G1-W2 is an LTE Category M1/NB2 (Cat M1/ NB2) module supporting 450MHz bands. It is conceived for IoT applications requiring secure and robust connectivity through LTE 450MHz private networks, such as smart metering, smart grid, smart city, smart agriculture, mPERS, mission-critical services and public safety.
• Deep indoor and wide-area propagation due to 450MHz frequency
• Optimized for ease-of-design and high-yield and low-cost manufacturing
• Compliant to 3GPP Rel. 14 Cat M1/NB2, tailored for IoT devices
• IPv4/IPv6 stack with TCP and UDP protocol
• Extended temperature range:
-40°C to +85°C
• Compact dimensions:
15mm × 18mm × 2.6mm
LPWA Cellular Modules Gain GNSS Tech
SARA-R422 modules from U-blox provide 23dBm output power, allowing the end device to properly operate in all network conditions. The SARA-R422M8S is pre-integrated with the U‑blox M8 GNSS (global navigation satellite system) receiver and a separate GNSS antenna interface. This uniquely provides highly reliable, accurate positioning data simultaneously with LTE communications
• Secure Cloud LTE-M, NB-IoT and EGPRS module
• Integrated M8 GNSS receiver for multiregional use
• End-to-end security with root of trust
• Software-based configurability within each hardware design
• Simultaneous LTE communication with GNSS positioning
• Future-proof solutions via LWM2M and uFOTA