IoT Modules Enable Large-Scale LTE-M and NB-IoT Deployments

Telit has announced the ME310G1 (shown) and ME910G1 modules, designed for mass-scale LTE-M and NB-IoT deployments that feature hundreds of thousands or millions of devices. Based on the new Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem and featuring optional 2G fallback, the modules also provide a future-proof foundation for IoT deployments that span legacy networks, 4G and 5G.
The ME310G1 and ME910G1 are the first 3GPP Release 14 additions to the Telit portfolio and the first members of Telit’s new series based on the Qualcomm 9205 LTE IoT Modem, which was announced in late 2018. The highly compact chipset enables Telit to meet booming global demand for ultra-small modules for applications such as wearable medical devices, fitness trackers and industrial sensors.

The new modules are ideal for battery-powered applications via improved features such as Power Saving Mode (PSM) and extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX), which periodically wakes up the device to transmit only the smallest amounts of data necessary before returning to sleep mode. Both modules also ensure reliable indoor connections, with a maximum coupling loss of up to +15dB/+20dB for superior in-building penetration compared to earlier LTE standards.

The multi-band ME310G1 and ME910G1 are available in versions with 2G fallback for use in areas where LTE-M/NB-IoT service is yet to be deployed. These versions also support GSM voice and will support VoLTE for applications that require the ability to make phone calls.

The ME910G1 is the latest member of Telit’s best-selling xE910 and family. The ME910G1 is also a drop-in replacement in existing devices based on the family’s modules for 2G, 3G and the various categories of LTE. With Telit’s design-once-use-anywhere philosophy, developers can cut costs and development time by simply designing for the xE910 LGA common form factor, giving them the freedom to deploy technologies best suited for the application’s environment.

The ME310G1 LTE-only variant is less than 200 mm-squared and variant with 2G fallback is less than 300 mm2-squared and they enable enterprises to deploy new small footprint designs across many application areas including asset tracking, health-care monitoring, smart metering, portable devices, industrial sensors, home automation, and others that benefit from low-power and low-data rate capabilities. The xE310 family’s flexible perimeter footprint includes pin-to-pin compatible 2G and 4G modules, enabling integrators to design a single PCB layout and deploy a combination of technologies.

ME310G1 and ME910G1 samples are now available. Mass production begins in late 2019 and Q1 2020, depending on the product version.

Telit | www.telit.com

Multi-Channel RF Converter ICs Meet Wireless Carrier Needs

Analog Devices has introduced a mixed-signal front-end (MxFE) RF data converter platform designed to meet the performance needs for a range of wireless equipment such as 4G LTE and 5G millimeter-wave (mmWave) radios. ADI’s new AD9081/2 MxFE platform allows system developers to install multiband radios in the same footprint as single-band radios, which as much as triples call capacity available in today’s 4G LTE base stations. With a 1.2 GHz channel bandwidth, the new MxFE platform also enables wireless carriers that are adding more antennas to their cell towers to meet the higher radio density and data-rate requirements of emerging mmWave 5G.

The AD9081 and AD9082 MxFE devices integrate eight and six RF data converters, respectively, which are manufactured using 28 nm CMOS process technology. Both MxFE options achieve the industry’s widest instantaneous signal bandwidth (up to 2.4 GHz), which simplifies hardware design by reducing the number of frequency translation stages and relaxing filter requirements. This new level of integration addresses the space constraints of wireless device designers by lowering chip count and yielding a 60 percent reduction in printed-circuit-board (PCB) area compared to alternative devices.

By shifting more of the frequency translation and filtering from the analog to the digital domain, the AD9081/2 provides designers with the software configurability to customize their radios. The new multi-channel MxFE platform meets the needs of other wide-bandwidth applications in 5G test and measurement equipment, broadband cable video streaming, multi-antenna phased array radar systems and low-earth-orbit satellite networks.

The MxFE platform processes more of the RF spectrum band and embeds DSP functions on-chip to enable the user to configure the programmable filters and digital up and down conversion blocks to meet specific radio signal bandwidth requirements. This results in a 10X power reduction compared to architectures that perform RF conversion and filtering on the FPGA, while freeing up valuable processor resources or allowing designers to use a more cost-effective FPGA.

The AD9081 is priced at $1,487 (1,000s) and the AD9082 at $1,500. Both will be available for sampling in September 2019.

Analog Devices | www.analog.com

mmWave Chipset Solution Eases 5G System Design

Analog Devices has introduced a new solution for millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G featuring high-integrations for next gen cellular network infrastructure. The solution combines ADI’s advanced beamformer IC, up/down frequency conversion (UDC) and additional mixed signal circuitry. ADI is calling this an optimized “Beams to Bits” signal chain.

The new mmWave 5G chipset includes the 16-channel ADMV4821 dual/single polarization beamformer IC, 16-channel ADMV4801 (shown) single-polarization beamformer IC and the ADMV1017 mmWave UDC. The 24- to 30-GHz beamforming + UDC solution forms a 3GPP 5G NR compliant mmWave front-end to address the n261, n257 and n258 bands.

The high channel density, coupled with the ability to support both single- and dual-polarization deployments, greatly increases system flexibility and reconfigurability for multiple 5G use cases while best-in-class equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) extends radio range and density. According to ADI, the company’s experience in mmWave enables system designers to take advantage of world class applications and system design to optimize complete lineups for thermal, RF, power and routing considerations.

Analog Devices | www.analog.com

 

Study Predicts 5G Will Reach the IoT Market in Late 2020

According to a new report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, 5G will make its first appearance in the IoT market in late 2020. The first 5G cellular IoT modules will become available to developers this year, enabling early adopters to create the first IoT devices based on the standard. Based on the experience of previous introductions of new standards, 5G will however not be an instant hit. By 2023, Berg Insight forecasts that 5G will account for just under 3 percent of the total installed base of cellular IoT devices.
“5G still has some way to go before it can become a mainstream technology for cellular IoT”, says Tobias Ryberg, Principal Analyst and author of the report. “Just like 4G when it was first introduced, the initial version of 5G is mostly about improving network performance and data capacity. This is only relevant for a smaller subset of high-bandwidth cellular IoT applications like connected cars, security cameras and industrial routers.” Ryberg predicts that he real commercial breakthrough won’t happen until the massive machine type communication (mMTC) use case has been implemented in the standard.

mMTC is intended as an evolution of the LTE-M/NB-IoT enhancements to the 4G standard. Since NB-IoT has only just started to appear in commercial products, there is no immediate demand for a successor. Over time, fifth generation mobile networks will however become necessary to cope with the expected exponential growth of IoT connections and data traffic. The report identifies homeland security as an area where 5G cellular IoT can have a major impact already in the early 2020s. “5G enables the deployment of high-density networks of AI-supported security cameras to monitor anything form security-classified facilities to national borders or entire cities”, says Mr. Ryberg. “How this technology is used and by whom is likely to become one of the most controversial issues in the next decade.”

Berg Insight | www.berginsight.com

Up and Downconverter Pair Offers 24- to 44-GHz Frequency Range

Analog Devices has announced the ADMV1013 and ADMV1014, a paired highly integrated microwave upconverter and downconverter, respectively. These ICs operate over a very wide frequency range with 50 Ω-match from 24 GHz up to 44 GHz, facilitating ease of design and reducing the costs of building a single platform that can cover all 5G mm Wave frequency bands including 28 GHz and 39 GHz.

Additionally, the chipset is capable of flat 1 GHz RF instantaneous bandwidth supporting all broadband services as well as other ultra-wide bandwidth transceiver applications. Each upconverter and downconverter is highly integrated, comprising I (in-phase) and Q (quadrature-phase) mixers with on-chip programmable quadrature phase-shifter configurable for direct conversion to/from baseband (operable from DC to 6 GHz) or to an IF (operable from 800 MHz to 6 GHz).

Also included on-chip are voltage variable attenuators, transmit PA driver (in the upconverter) and a receive LNA (in the downconverter), LO buffers with x4 frequency multiplier and programmable tracking filters. Most programmability functions are controlled via an SPI serial interface. Through this port, these chips also provide a unique capability for each upconverter and downconverter to correct its respective quadrature phase imbalance, hence the usually difficult to suppress sideband emission can be improved from a typical value of 32 dBc, by 10 dB or more.

The highly integrated ADMV1013 microwave upconverter and the ADMV1014 microwave downconverter are well suited for the microwave radio platforms that operate in the emerging 28 GHz and 39 GHz 5G wireless infrastructure bands. The converters’ 1GHz bandwidth capability, along with the upconverter’s OIP3 of more than 20 dBm that supports stringent modulation schemes such as 1024QAM, are necessary to enable multi-Gigabit wireless data. Moreover, the chipset benefits other applications such as satellite and earth station broadband communication links, aircraft radios, RF test equipment and radar systems. Their superb linearity and image rejection performance are particularly compelling for improved range of microwave transceivers.

The ADMV1013 is offered in a 40-pin, 6 mm x 6 mm LGA, and the ADMV1014 is in a 32-pin, 5 mm x 5 mm LGA package. Samples and production quantities are available immediately. Pricing per 1,000 each for the ADMV1013 starts at $90.79 in a 40-pin, 6 mm x 6 mm CSP package. Pricing per 1,000 each for the ADMV1014 starts at $88.37 in a 32-pin, 5 mm x 5 mm CSP package.

Analog Devices | www.analog.com

 

NB-IoT Module is Ready for 3GPP Release 14 and 5G

U‑blox has announced the SARA‑N3, a multi‑band NB‑IoT module that supports a preliminary set of 3GPP Release 14 features (LTE Cat NB2). The SARA‑N3 is available in two variants: one dedicated to China and another that can operate across multiple bands on any NB‑IoT network globally. The U‑blox firmware‑over‑the‑air (uFOTA) client/server solution with Lightweight M2M (LwM2M) allows SARA‑N3 to be remotely provisioned with additional features.

LwM2M is a more lightweight solution as compared to OMA‑DM. That means it is well suited for providing critical firmware updates to IoT devices. In this way, SARA‑N3 can ultimately become 5G compliant. SARA‑N3 also supports the creation of dynamic LwM2M objects. That enables users to do feature customization by scripting their own configurable objects.

The SARA‑N3 provides a comprehensive set of features and protocols that NB‑IoT‑based applications will benefit from, including TCP, HTTPS, CoAP, DTLS and MQTT. With its ultra‑low power consumption profile and the ability to configure voltage domains, the module is optimized to operate on a single cell primary battery for 10+ years, eliminating the need for frequent maintenance visits. Other features include a “last gasp” function that lets the module send one last message should the power fail unexpectedly and protection against software attacks by detecting potential jamming signals.

U‑blox manufactures according to ISO/TS16949 professional grade specifications. This approach incorporates 100% automated x‑ray and optical inspections, 100% outgoing test and product traceability. Together with failure analysis and product qualification criteria ensures that highly reliable products designed for long‑term operation are created.

U‑blox | www.u‑blox.com

Technology and Test Solutions for 5G

Next-Gen Communications

As carriers worldwide prepare for 5G communications, chip suppliers and test equipment vendors are evolving their products to meet the challenges of the 5G era.

By Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

The technologies that are enabling 5G communications are creating new challenges for embedded system developers. Faster mobile broadband data rates, massive amounts of machine-to-machine network interfacing and daunting low latency constraints all add to the complexity of 5G system design. Feeding those needs, chip vendors over the past 12 months have been releasing building blocks like modem chips and wideband mixers supporting 5G. And test equipment vendors are keeping pace with test gear designed to work with 5G technology.

With standards expected to reach finalization around 2020, 5G isn’t here yet, But efforts worldwide are laying the groundwork to deploy it. For its part, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) released a report in October 2017 entitled “Evolution from LTE to 5G.” According to the report, there is a frenzy of testing of 5G technology and concepts worldwide. The GSA has identified 103 operators in 49 countries that are investing in 5G technology in the form of demos, lab trials or field tests that are either under way or planned. Operators are sharing their intentions in terms of launch timetables for 5G, or prestandards 5G. The earliest launch dates currently planned are by operators in Italy and the US. Those early launches are necessarily limited in scope to either specific applications, or in limited geographic areas where they will function as extended commercial trials. Figure 1 shows the countries and the current planned dates for the earliest 5G launches in those countries.

FIGURE 1
Here is a map of pre-standards and standards-based 5G network plans announced. It shows the countries and current planned dates for the earliest 5G launches in those countries. (Source: Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA)).

THE BIG PLAYERS

Intel and Qualcomm have been the big players to watch for 5G enabling technologies. In October 2017, Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, hit a significant milestone successfully achieving a 5G data connection on a 5G modem chipset for mobile devices. The Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset achieved speeds and a data connection in the 28 GHz mmWave radio frequency band. The solution is expected to accelerate the delivery of 5G new radio (5G NR) enabled mobile devices to consumers. Along with the chip set demo Qualcomm Technologies previewed its first 5G smartphone reference design for the testing and optimization of 5G technology within the power and form-factor constraints of a smartphone.

The 5G data connection demonstration showed the chip set achieving Gigabit/s download speeds, using several 100 MHz 5G carriers and demonstrated a data connection in the 28 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. In addition to the Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset, the demonstration also used the SDR051 mmWave RF transceiver IC. The demonstration made use of Keysight Technologies’ new 5G Protocol R&D Toolset and UXM 5G Wireless Test Platform. Qualcomm Technologies was the first company to announce a 5G modem chipset in 2016. The Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem family is expected to support commercial launches of 5G smartphones and networks in the first half of 2019. …

Read the full article in the January 330 issue of Circuit Cellar

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January Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The January issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. And it’s got a robust selection of embedded electronics articles for you. Here’s a sneak peak.

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Here’s a sneak preview of January 2018 Circuit Cellar:

 

                                     IMPROVING EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGNS

Special Feature: Powering Commercial Drones
The amount of power a commercial drone can draw on has a direct effect on how long it can stay flying as well as on what tasks it can perform. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines solar cells, fuel cells and other technology options for powering commercial drones.

CC 330 CoverFPGA Design: A Fresh Take
Although FPGAs are well established technology, many embedded systems developers—particularly those used the microcontroller realm—have never used them before. In this article, Faiz Rahman takes a fresh look a FPGAs for those new to designing them into their embedded systems.

Product Focus: COM Express boards
COM Express boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. This brand new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative COM Express products.

TESTING, TESTING, 1, 2, 3

LF Resonator Filter
In Ed Nisley’s November column he described how an Arduino-based tester automatically measures a resonator’s frequency response to produce data defining its electrical parameters. This time he examines the resultsand explains a tester modification to measure the resonator’s response with a variable series capacitance.

Technology Spotlight: 5G Technology and Testing
The technologies that are enabling 5G communications are creating new challenges for embedded system developers. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest digital and analog ICs aimed at 5G and at the test equipment designed to work with 5G technology.

                                     MICROCONTROLLERS IN EVERYTHING

MCU-based Platform Stabilizer
Using an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), two 180-degree rotation servos and a Microchip PCI MCU, three Cornell students implemented a microcontroller-based platform stabilizer. Learn how they used a pre-programmed sensor fusion algorithm and I2C to get the most out of their design.

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 2)
Continuing on with this four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal this time discusses the mechanical aspect of the design. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Massage Vest Uses PIC32 MCU
Microcontrollers are being used for all kinds of things these days. Learn how three Cornell graduates designed a low-cost massage vest that pairs seamlessly with a custom iOS app. Using the Microchip PIC32 for its brains, the massage vest has sixteen vibration motors that the user can control to create the best massage possible.

AND MORE FROM OUR EXPERT COLUMNISTS:

Five Fault Injection Attacks
Colin O’Flynn returns to the topic of fault injection security attacks. To kick off 2018, he summarizes information about five different fault injection attack stories from 2017—attacks you should be thinking about as an embedded designer.

Money Sorting Machines (Part 2)
In part 1, Jeff Bachiochi delved into the interesting world of money sort machines and their evolution. In part 2, he discusses more details about his coin sorting project. He then looks at a typical bill validator implementation used in vending systems.

Overstress Protection
Last month George Novacek reviewed the causes and results of electrical overstress (EOS). Picking up where that left off, in this article he looks at how to prevent EOS/ESD induced damage—starting with choosing properly rated components.