Embedded Solutions Enable Smarter Railway Systems

Computing, Connectivity and Control

Railway systems keep getting more advanced. On both the control side and passenger entertainment side, embedded computers play critical roles. Railway systems need sophisticated networking, data collection and real-time control—all while meeting safety standards.

By Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

There’s no doubt that railway systems represent one of the most dynamic segments of embedded computing design. There’s a lot for embedded systems to do aboard trains—ensuring both safety and precise control for the train, but also for the increasingly sophisticated entertainment systems installed on today’s modern trains.

Meanwhile, trains are evolving into moving Internet-of-Things (IoT) platforms, as system developers strive to leverage the many benefits of data collection and passenger monitoring. Even embedded artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into the mindshare of railway system developers.

Figure 1
An overview EN 50155, ISO 7637-2 and IRIS certified electronics that are embedded into trains (and buses) for control, supervision, communication, passenger information, security and testing.

Exemplifying these trends, MEN Micro is a leading example of an embedded computer vendor deeply immersed in railway system technology development. Among its offerings are its line of EN 50155, ISO 7637-2 and IRIS certified electronics that are embedded into trains (and buses) for control, supervision, communication, passenger information, security and testing. Figure 1 shows an overview of the MEN’s solutions along those lines. EN 50155 is one of a handful of standards targeted specifically for railway systems. Table 1 shows of summary of these standards.

TABLE 1
Shown here is a summary of the key certifications for embedded computers for railway systems. (Source: Assured Systems).

DIN-Rail Mounting

In January, MEN Micro introduced the MC50M, its latest modular computer for DIN rail mounting. To clarify, “rail” in this context is referring not to railroad rails but rather to the metal DIN rail, a standard type of mounting used in industrial control equipment inside equipment racks. MEN’s DIN rail concept is designed for flexible configuration of module combinations and is suitable for embedded IoT applications in various markets. DIN rail mounting (35 mm) is standard. Wall and 19’’ rack mounting are possible using adaption brackets.

The EN 50155-compliant box is based on Intel’s Atom E3900 series with low power dissipation and scalability in performance and memory. The modular expansion concept makes the DIN rail family a cost-effective and flexible solution. For memory, the system provides up to 8 GB of DDR3 SDRAM and an M.2 NVMe slot for mass storage. The box embeds a Trusted Platform Module for security and for I/O the MC50M provides Gbit Ethernet, USB 3.0, RS-232, R-S485/422 and DisplayPort. Input voltage is 24 VDC nominal with ignition and it supports a full-range of PSUs from 9 VDC to 60 VDC. Operating temperature is -55°C to +70°C.

According to MEN Micro, the MC50M is well suited for transportation functions such as security gateways, 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 or two 2.5” SATA hard disks/SSDs. The wide range PSU allows isolated power supply from 24 VDC to 110 VDC 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 an 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 that period.

Security and Safety

Security and safety go hand-in-hand when it comes to railway computing systems. With that in mind, in April Kontron and SYSGO jointly started the development of an integrated platform for safety-critical railway solutions based on Kontron’s SAFe-VX hardware. Their aim was to provide system integrators with a solid and flexible basis for certifiable applications in trains and signaling.

Kontron’s hardware is already used in many railway systems and has been certified up to SIL-4, the highest level of the IEC 61508 standard for functional safety of electronic systems. …

Read the full article in the July 348 issue of Circuit Cellar
(Full article word count: 3856 words; Figure count: 8 Figures.)

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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

Rugged Touch Panel Computer Targets Railway System Designs

ADLINK Technology has released its latest Driver Machine Interface (DMI) touch panel computer, the DMI-1210, designed specifically for train control and driver information display. Powered by the Intel Atom x5-E3930 processor (formerly Apollo Lake) and featuring a 12.1” (4:3) high resolution color display, 5-wire resistive touch screen and securable I/O interface, the DMI-1210 can be deployed as an HMI unit for driver’s desks, control panel for passenger information systems, surveillance system control/display unit or in railway diagnostics and communications applications.
The DMI-1210 is an EN 50155 certificated, cost-effective, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) driver interface that offers train radio display, electronic timetable, and diagnostic display functions and additional functionality such as train data recorder. The DMI-1210 supports full range DC power input from +16.8 V to +137.5 V DC. Optional MVB, GNSS, 3G/LTE, WLAN and Bluetooth through add-on modules give system integrators the necessary tools to expand use case possibilities.

With ADLINK’s built-in Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA) management and status LEDs on the front panel, the DMI-1210 provides easy and effective health monitoring and system maintenance. In addition, system robustness and reliability are provided by careful component selection for extended temperature operation, isolated I/Os, conformal coated circuit boards, securable I/O connectors and high ingress protection rating (IP65 front, IP42 rear).

ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com

 

Secure Cellular Router Serves Industrial and Transportation Needs

Digi International has announced the Digi WR54, a rugged, secure, high-performance wireless router for complex mobile and industrial environments. With dual cellular interfaces, Digi WR54 provides immediate carrier failover for near-constant uptime and continuous connectivity, especially as vehicles move throughout a city or for locations with marginal cellular coverage. Together with a hardened milspec-certified design and built-in Digi TrustFence security framework, this LTE-Advanced router is designed specifically to meet the connectivity challenges inherent in multi-location, on-the-move conditions, from rail and public transit to trucking fleets and emergency vehicle applications.

LTE-Advanced technologies with carrier aggregation are pushing theoretical download speeds to 300 Mbps, and the next generation of cellular radios is capable of aggregating three or more channels for capabilities up to 600 Mbps. It’s expected that 5G deployments this year will push the demands for performance and edge computing even further. Digi WR54 provides an LTE-Advanced cellular module built on a platform that supports higher speeds to optimize bandwidth today while also being positioned for the future as network capabilities improve.

Multiple transit system use cases require rugged, reliable, high-speed connectivity solutions to carry mission-critical data and communications. Transit system integrators require connectivity for fleet tracking, logistics, engine and driver performance monitoring, fare collection and video monitoring; rail companies that are building in wayside data capabilities need constant visibility into complex systems; industrial corporations like utility companies need to monitor high-value assets.

The Digi WR54 architecture supports these performance requirements with not just the aforementioned LTE-Advanced cellular module, but four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired systems and the latest 802.11 ac Wi-Fi which combine to support the needs of any user. Other key features include:

  • Dual-core 880 MHz MIPS processor: designed with this high-speed architecture, the Digi WR54 is future-built with a CPU capable of supporting higher network speeds and capabilities as infrastructure is updated to support them
  • SAE J1455, MILSTD-810G and IP-54 rated: tested and certified to withstand water, dust, heat, vibration and other environmental challenges suitable to transportation and many industrial applications
  • Optional dual-cellular radios for continuous connectivity between carriers: for users that cannot afford downtime, if the primary cellular carrier drops out, the Digi WR54 automatically and immediately switches over to the secondary carrier
  • Digi TrustFence: a device-security framework that simplifies the process of securing connected devices and adapts to new and evolving threats
  • Digi Remote Manager: with this Digi web-based management tool, users can simply manage their devices, receive alerts and monitor the health of their deployed devices

For users looking to add high-speed passenger Wi-Fi to mass transit systems, the recently launched Digi WR64 dual LTE-Advanced cellular and dual 802.11ac Wi-Fi router offers an all-in-one mobile communications solution for secure cellular connectivity between vehicles and a central operations center. It offers a flexible interface design with integrated Wi-Fi for client and access point connectivity along with USB, serial, a four-port wired Ethernet switch, GPS and Bluetooth in order to consolidate multiple transit or industrial applications into a single, consolidated router.

Digi International| www.digi.com

LTE and NB-IoT Modules Embed New Qualcomm 9205 LTE Modem

Telit has announced that it will be among the world’s first providers of IoT modules based on the recently announced Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem. The highly compact chipset will enable Telit to meet booming demand for ultra-small modules for applications such as wearable medical devices, fitness trackers and industrial sensors as well as deliver 3GPP Release 14 functionality for the first time in its portfolio.

The first Telit products based on the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem include the new xE310 family of LTE-M and NB-IoT modules. As one of the smallest form factors available in the market, according to Telit, the new form factor family includes support for 2G fallback and GNSS location technology. Telit’s new xE310 form factor is based on a single LGA pad layout supporting multiple module dimensions from ultra-miniature single mode NB-IoT variants for global applications, to larger versions supporting multi-mode multi technology packaging.

Telit says it will also apply the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem in new members of the ME910x1 and xL865 module families. The new xE310, xE910 and xL865 products are designed for future-proofing existing IoT applications on the road to 5G. Telit IoT modules based on the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem will be available for sampling in H1 2019.

Telit | www.telit.com

2G Cellular Module Smooths Upgrade Path to LPWA

U‑blox has announced the SARA‑G450, a cost‑optimized 2G cellular module for machine‑to‑machine (M2M) applications, such as utility metering and tracking systems. Provided in the industry‑proven SARA form factor, the SARA‑G450 quad‑band GSM/GPRS module lets product developers easily migrate their products to 3G, LTE, or LPWA technology to meet a broad range of environmental and technological requirements.

2G cellular technology offers reliable performance for mobile applications and broad geographical coverage. Until recently, this made it the technology of choice for machine type connectivity such as fleet management, metering and tracking. While some regions are currently phasing out their 2G network infrastructure (most notably the USA), 2G continues to be a viable and popular option for M2M solutions in regions still lacking NB‑IoT and LTE Cat M1 networks or where coverage is spotty. The SARA‑G450 is an ideal solution for cost and space‑sensitive applications in these markets.

Thanks to its pin‑compatibility with the entire u‑blox cellular line‑up product designers can use a single platform and PCB design to enable solutions for a variety of air interface technologies, including  2G, 3G, LPWA (LTE Cat M1 and NB1), and high speed LTE. This also means that product developers can anticipate future upgrades of their applications to move to LTE Cat M1 and NB1 connectivity as soon as they become available in their target markets.

SARA‑G450 is a standard grade quad‑band GSM/GPRS module that is power‑optimized for IoT applications. It offers the flexibility to combine with a variety of best‑in‑class u‑blox GNSS or Bluetooth modules for solutions that integrate positioning, short range and cellular communication. An embedded internet suite facilitates the development of a wide range of M2M devices.

Samples will be available at the end of August with production starting end of September.

U-blox | www.u-blox.com

Verizon Certifies Several Telit LTE Modules

Telit has announced that Verizon has certified several of its LTE products. The seven modules are part of Telit’s portfolio of LTE Cat M1, Cat 1, Cat 4 and Cat 11 products, with the LE910-SV V2 and LE910B1-NA modules that also supports Verizon’s Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology. The modules are now available for operation on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The following modules are included: ME910C1-NV LTE Cat M1 module, LE910-NA V2 LTE Cat 4 module, LE910-SV V2 LTE Cat 4 VoLTE module, LE910B1-NA LTE Cat 1 VoLTE module, ME866A1-NV LTE Cat M1 module, LE866-SV1 LTE Cat 1 module and LM940 LTE Cat 11 mini PCIe module.
The ME910C1-NV, LE910-SV V2 and LE910-NA V2 modules are members of Telit’s xE910 family (shown). And the LE866-SV1, one its xE866 family, is one of the smallest cellular modules in the market.  Any of the modules can be applied as drop-in replacements in existing devices based on the families’ 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 or xE866 LGA common form factors, giving them the freedom to deploy technologies best suited for the application’s environment.

Integrators and providers looking for lower costs, more security and extended product lifecycles now have more options with Telit’s Verizon-certified LTE and VoLTE modules. Telit’s certified modules may be used by its customers in segments like telematics, home and business security, person and asset tracking, wellness monitoring for the elderly and convalescent, smart home and smart buildings.

The LM940 module boasts a power-efficient platform and is the ideal solution for commercial and enterprise applications in the network appliance and router industry, such as branch office connectivity, LTE failover, digital signage, kiosks, pop-up stores, vehicle routers, construction sites and more. This module includes Linux and Windows driver support.

Telit | www.telit.com

U-Blox Modules Selected for IoT Development Board Pair

U‑blox has announced that its modules will be at the core of two new developer boards. The boards, which are designed and produced by Seeed, one of China’s largest distributors of microelectronic components for the international developer and maker communities, deliver cellular communication and positioning capabilities for a wide range of applications in the IoT

The first of the two development boards is a Raspberry Pi HAT designed to augment Raspberry Pi computers with cellular communication as well as cellular‑based positioning services. The board will be released in multiple variants (USA AT&T, USA Verizon, Europe) based on the u‑blox LARA‑R2 LTE Cat 1 module series.
The second board, the WIO LTE Cat M1 / NB1 tracker, provides the essential hardware to make low‑power location tracking devices for people, pets, and assets. It can be programmed using the Arduino IDE and is also Espruino (JavaScript) compatible. The board uses the u‑blox MAX‑M8Q GNSS module to determine position, integrating signals from multiple GNSS satellite constellations, and connects to the cellular network using the u‑blox SARA‑R4 LTE Cat M1 / NB1 module. Developers and businesses can customize the standalone board and have it manufactured through Seeed’s services to create solutions tailored to their specific needs.

U-blox | www.u-blox.com

Nordic BLE SoC Selected for Cloud-Connected Thermostat

Nordic Semiconductor has announced that Sikom, a developer of GSM-based IoT platforms, employs Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) in its ‘Bluetooth Thermostat EP’ to support smartphone connectivity and smart-home networking. The thermostat is available to consumers and OEMs developing their own heating control systems.

The Nordic SoC’s Bluetooth 5 long-range capability enhances connection stability, boosting range, and allowing the thermostat to be configured and controlled from anywhere in the house. From a companion app on a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone the user can control thermostat features such as comfort and economy temperature set points, week programs, vacation modes and temperature logs.

Because the thermostat can be controlled and configured directly from the smartphone, there is no requirement for a proprietary gateway between mobile device and thermostat, lowering the cost and complexity of installation and setup. In addition, the thermostat’s Bluetooth 5 connectivity enables it to join a Sikom smart-home network and communicate directly with other wireless devices to support advanced features such as power control and limiting. The thermostat also integrates with 4G/LTE (cellular) technology to enable remote control via Sikom’s Cloud platform.

Enabled by the nRF52840 SoC’s 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor, 1 MB Flash memory, and 256 KB RAM, the Bluetooth Thermostat EP platform can support a variety of complex remote thermostat/heating applications. The processor has ample power to run the Bluetooth 5 RF software protocol (“stack”) and Sikom’s application software and bootloader. The SoC also supports Over-the-Air Device Firmware Updates (OTA-DFU) for future improvements.

Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth LE SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The SoC combines the Arm processor with a 2.4 GHz multiprotocol radio architecture featuring -96dB RX sensitivity and an on-chip PA boosting output power to a maximum of 8 dBm. The SoC is supplied with the S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified stack which supports all the features of the standard and provides concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles.

Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com

 

Edge-as-a-Service Solution Targets Commercial IoT

Rigado has announced Cascade, its new integrated Edge-as-a-Service solution. Designed for commercial IoT applications like Asset Tracking, Smart Workplaces and Connected Retail, Cascade helps companies save six months of time—or more—in bringing their solutions to market, without the need for upfront hardware investments.

Offered as an integrated monthly subscription starting at $9/month, Cascade gives you the wireless infrastructure, edge computing platform and managed security updates that allow IoT product and project teams to focus on driving maximum value from their IoT apps—and not on the underlying edge infrastructure, security and maintenance.

Rigado’s  Cascade Edge-as-a-Service does so with four main components:

Cascade-500 IoT Gateway: Rigado’s newest IoT gateway offers a range of connectivity options including Bluetooth 5, Zigbee, Thread, Wi-Fi & LTE; security features like file system encryption; and 800 MHz of edge computing power.

Edge Protect Service: A managed, automated security service, Edge Protect provides automatic OS and security updates when common vulnerabilities, exposures and exploits are discovered. The service also provides signature authentication to ensure that what your developers publish is exactly what runs.

Edge Direct Tools: Secure edge device orchestration and systems performance monitoring allow your operations teams to set alerts and diagnose issues; provision gateways with secure IDs and encrypted keys; and flexibly schedule, manage and apply application updates. Edge Direct integrates with existing DevOps processes and CI tools and uses a familiar app store deployment model. With Edge Direct, technicians are able to stay out of the field, remotely deploying—and rolling back if necessary—updates for reliable maintenance.

Edge Connect Platform: Gives developers a secure connectivity and computing platform with a fully containerized edge OS. Featuring Ubuntu Core by Canonical with secure boot and an encrypted file system, Edge Connect also leverages Snaps, a simple application packaging system that makes it easier for developers to build and maintain application containers at the edge. With Edge Connect, your developers can work in the programming language of their choice and can easily and securely add multiple apps and functionalities onto a single gateway. Last, EdgeConnect also offers easier connections to IoT sensors and beacons using API calls that do not require device or protocol expertise.

Cascade benefits engineers by shaving months off of their IoT design and build efforts by helping them quickly develop and deploy edge applications. EdgeConnect APIs, with their ‘web-style’ access to devices, greatly simplifies architecture and saves thousands of lines of code and weeks of development and testing time.

Operational teams who are tasked with ongoing edge maintenance can use their same DevOps workflows, dashboards, and tools, such as CI, to monitor their IoT solutions. Edge performance monitoring helps Operations keep a close eye on device health and connectivity to manage successful scaling.

Cascade gives your IoT Support the solutions they need to effectively diagnose and fix client-specific issues. Able to easily integrate into existing support applications, IoT support needs little to no additional team or tools to effectively track device performance, diagnostics and update configurations.

 

Business teams benefit from the ability to easily scale IoT solutions across the commercial enterprise – all with a solution that mirrors their own SaaS Commercial IoT model. With increased security, a faster time to market and the ability to extend easily to the entire commercial enterprise, Cascade gives your business teams the ability to introduce innovation at the speed of the market.

You can get started with Rigado’s Cascade Evaluation Kit.

Rigado | www.rigado.com

IoT Edge Server Manages Distributed Devices

Advantech has announced its new generation of wireless connectivity: the Edge Intelligence Server EIS-D210 series. As smart cities and industry 4.0 deployment installs millions of IoT sensors and devices, wireless communications has become the fastest growing sector and wireless networks have been part of every application. As a result, the task of remotely managing distributed devices becomes more complex.

To echo market requirements, Advantech EIS-D210 series is powered by an Intel Celeron processor N3350 and has LoRa/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and WISE-PaaS/EdgeSense edge intelligence and sensing software built-in. It is also pre-integrated with Microsoft Azure IoT Edge and AWS Greengrass to extend cloud intelligence to edge devices and enable real-time decisions at the edge. Advantech EIS-D210 is an integrated solution from the edge to the cloud and simplifies IoT application deployment. It’s well suited for applications in smart factory, smart energy and intelligent agriculture applications that need wireless sensor network management.

EIS-D210W has a built-in certificated Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz standard) and Bluetooth 4.1 module, and EIS-D210L incorporates a built-in private LoRa long-range modem. All EIS-D210 series have built-in dual GbE, COM (RS-232/422/485), VGA/HDMI, four USB 3.0 and mPCIe ports. The mPCIe ports can be extended to support 3G/4G LTE. EIS-D210 series provide several connection capabilities and peripheral support for multiple wireless/wired communications.

EIS-D210 series comes with Advantech’s WISE-PaaS/EdgeSense edge intelligence and sensing integration software, which provides an IoT SDK and documents for wireless sensor (LoRa, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) data integration and supporting field protocols (MQTT/OPC/Modbus) for sensor/device data acquisition. With these, customers can quickly incorporate data integration, data pre-processing, and edge analytics to their applications.

EIS-D210 series is also pre-integrated with Azure IoT Edge and AWS Greengrass, ensuring that IoT devices can respond quickly to local events, interact with local resources, operate with intermittent connections, and minimize the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud. Furthermore, after data modeling and machine learning with data, results can be pushed back to edge (IoT Edge/ Greengrass) to provide data prediction for IoT applications.

EIS-D210W (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) became available at end of April and EIS-D210L (LoRa) will become available in June.

Advantech | www.advantech.com

Wi-Fi Bluetooth LTE Companion Module Targets IoT

Telit has announced the release of a new module, the WE866C3.  A companion to Telit’s LTE LE910Cx family, the new module advances the ability to deliver LTE and Wi-Fi integration for IoT applications including security panels, video bridges, medical devices, telematics and remote sensors.

Telit’s WE866C3 is a low power, high bandwidth 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 module with a small footprint that provides an easy and cost-effective way for manufacturers to add wireless connectivity to new and existing products. Advanced LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth coexistence dramatically reduces complexity designing cellular back haul with the LE910Cx 4G LTE module family, making the WE866C3 well suited for a wide range of IoT applications including commercial building automation, OEM telematics, fleet management and video surveillance.

The module shortens time to market with off-the-shelf cloud connectivity through deviceWISE, over-the-air firmware updating, support for WPA/WPA2 personal and enterprise security and more. Developer tools, engineering support and comprehensive global certifications make it easy for integrators and OEMs to upgrade or launch new products.

Telit | www.telit.com

Tiny, Rugged IoT Gateways Offer 10-Year Linux Support

By Eric Brown

Moxa has announced the UC-2100 Series of industrial IoT gateways along with its new UC 3100 and UC 5100 Series, but it offered details only on the UC-2100. All three series will offer ruggedization features, compact footprints, and on some models, 4G LTE support. They all run Moxa Industrial Linux and optional ThingsPro Gateway data acquisition software on Arm-based SoCs.

 

Moxa UC-2111 or UC-2112 (left) and UC-2101 (click image to enlarge)

Based on Debian 9 and a Linux 4.4 kernel, the new Moxa Industrial Linux (MIL) is a “high-performance, industrial-grade Linux distribution” that features a container-based virtual-machine-like middleware abstraction layer between the OS and applications,” says Moxa. Multiple isolated systems can run on a single control host “so that system integrators and engineers can easily change the behavior of an application without worrying about software compatibility,” says the company.

MIL provides 10-year long-term Linux support, and is aimed principally at industries that require long-term software, such as power, water, oil & gas, transportation and building automation industries. In December, Moxa joined the Linux Foundation’s Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project, which is developing a 10-year SLTS Linux kernel for infrastructure industries. MIL appears to be in alignment with CIP standards.

Diagrams of ThingsPro Gateway (top) and the larger ThingsPro eco-system (bottom) (click images to enlarge)

Moxa’s ThingsPro Gateway software enables “fast integration of edge data into cloud services for large-scale IIoT deployments,” says Moxa. The software supports Modbus data acquisition, LTE connectivity, MQTT communication, and cloud client interfaces such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. C and Python APIs are also available.

 

Moxa’s UC-3100 (source: Hanser Konstruktion), and at right, the similarly Linux-driven, ThingsPro ready UC-8112 (click images to enlarge)

Although we saw no product pages on the UC-3100 and UC-5100, Hanser Konstruktion posted a short news item on the UC-3100 with a photo (above) and a few details. This larger, rugged system supports WiFi and LTE with two antenna pairs, and offers a USB port in addition to dual LAN and dual serial ports.

The new systems follow several other UC-branded IoT gateways that run Linux on Arm. The only other one to support ThingsPro is the UC-8112, a member of the UC-8100 family. This UC-8100 is similarly ruggedized, and runs Linux on a Cortex-A8 SoC.

UC-2100

The UC-2100 Series gateways runs MIL on an unnamed Cortex-A8 SoC clocked at 600MHz except for the UC-2112, which jumps to 1GHz. There are five different models, all with 9-48 VDC 3-pin terminal blocks and a maximum consumption of 4 Watts when not running cellular modules.

The five UC-2100 models have the following dimensions, weights, and maximum input currents:

  • UC-2101 — 50 x 80 x 28mm; 190 g; 200 mA
  • UC-2102 — 50 x 80 x 28mm; 190 g; 330 mA
  • UC-2104 — 57 x 80 x 30.8mm; 220 g; 800 mA
  • UC-2111 — 77 x 111 x 25.5mm; 290 g; 350 mA
  • UC-2112 — 77 x 111 x 25.5mm; 290 g; 450 mA

All five UC-2100 variants default to a -10 to 60°C operating range except for the UC-2104, which moves up to -10 to 70°C. In addition, they are all available in optional -40 to 75°C versions.

Other ruggedization features are the same, including anti-vibration protection per IEC 60068-2-64 and anti-shock per IEC 60068-2-2. A variety of safety, EMC, EMI, EMS, and hazardous environment standards are also listed.

The first three models ship with 256MB DDR3, while the UC-2111 and UC-2112 offer 512MB. These two are also the only ones to offer micro-SD slots. All five systems ship with 8GB eMMC loaded with the MIL distribution.

The UC-2100 systems vary in the number and type of their auto-sensing, 1.5 kV isolated Ethernet ports. The UC-2101 and UC-2104 each have a single 10/100Mbps port, while the UC-2102 and UC-2111 have two. The UC-2112 has one 10/100 and one 10/100/1000 port. The UC-2104 is the only model with a mini-PCIe socket for 4G or WiFi.

The UC-2111 and UC-2112 offer 2x RS-232/422/48 ports while the UC-2101 has one. It would appear that the UC-2102 and UC-2104 lack serial ports altogether except for the RS-232 console port available on all five systems.

The UC-2100 provides push buttons and dip switches, an RTC, a watchdog, and LEDs, the number of which depend on the model. A wall kit is standard, and DIN-rail mounting is optional. TPM 2.0 is also optional. A 5-year hardware warranty is standard.

Further information

The UC-2100 Series gateways appear to be available for order, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found on Moxa’s UC-2100 product page. More information about the UC-2100, as well as the related, upcoming UC-3100 and UC-5100 Series, will be on tap at Hannover Messe 2018, April 23-27, at the Arm Booth at Hall 6, Booth A46.

Moxa | www.moxa.com

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on April 16.

LTE Cat M1, NB-IoT Module Provides 2G Fallback

U‑blox has announced the SARA‑R412M, an LTE Cat M1, NB‑IoT, and quad‑band 2G (EGPRS) module with worldwide coverage. Measuring just 16 x 26 mm, the module is the world’s smallest to provide both LTE and quad‑band EGPRS support in a single design. The flexibility extends further with dynamic system selection as Cat M1, NB‑IoT, and EGPRS in single mode or as a preferred connection that does not require a module reboot to switch between modes. It brings a rich feature suite optimized for LPWA (low‑power wide‑area) IoT applications that require the assurance of 2G connectivity to guarantee broad geographic coverage, even in areas where LTE Cat M1 and NB‑IoT are not widely available yet. New IoT devices deployed in the field today can activate on existing 2G networks and still leverage the benefits of LTE Cat M1 and NB‑IoT technology once it becomes available.

The SARA‑R4 series covers a whole host of IoT applications, especially those reliant on long‑term, low power use or requiring connectivity deep within buildings. Examples include gas, water, and electricity metering, city street lighting, building automation, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), industrial monitoring and control, telematics, insurance, asset and vehicle tracking, security systems, alarm panels, outpatient monitoring, and many consumer wearables.

SARA‑R412M enables global solutions based on a single hardware version, allowing developers to select their own desired frequencies and operator configurations. SARA‑R412M ensures data integrity between applications via secure communication protocols, notably including two‑way authentication between client and server, a strategy often used with cloud services.

Critical firmware updates can be delivered with the u‑blox proprietary uFOTA (firmware over the air) client/server solution that uses LWM2M, a light and compact protocol that is ideal for IoT applications. This allows end‑users to continue using the same hardware when features and functionalities are updated, making it well‑suited for critical applications running on devices that may be deployed in the field over long periods of time.

SARA‑R412M provides an extended temperature range of -40 to +85°C, and supports Power Save Mode (PSM) and Extended Discontinuous Reception (e‑DRX) for LTE Cat M1 and NB‑IoT connectivity, which can extend battery lifetime for up to 10 years.

3GPP Coverage Enhancement allows the module’s Cat M1 connectivity to reach deeper into buildings and basements, and even underground with NB‑IoT when compared to other air interface technologies such as GSM or Cat 1.

U‑blox | www.u‑blox.com

March Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The March issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. And we’ve got a healthy serving of embedded electronics articles for you. Here’s a sneak peak.

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

TECHNOLOGY FOR THE INTERNET-OF-THINGS

IoT: From Device to Gateway
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most dynamic areas of embedded systems design today. This feature focuses on the technologies and products from edge IoT devices up to IoT gateways. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the wireless technologies, sensors, edge devices and IoT gateway technologies at the center of this phenomenon.

Texting and IoT Embedded Devices
Texting has become a huge part of our daily lives. But can texting be leveraged for use in IoT Wi-Fi devices? Jeff Bachiochi lays the groundwork for describing a project that will involve texting. In this part, he gets into out the details for getting started with a look at Espressif System’s ESP8266EX SoC.

Exploring the ESP32’s Peripheral Blocks
What makes an embedded processor suitable as an IoT or home control device? Wi-Fi support is just part of the picture. Brian Millier has done some Wi-Fi projects using the ESP32, so here he shares his insights about the peripherals on the ESP32 and why they’re so powerful.

MICROCONTROLLERS HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 4)
In this final part of his four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal discusses the firmware part of the system and gets into the system’s actual operation. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Apartment Entry System Uses PIC32
Learn how a Cornell undergraduate built a system that enables an apartment resident to enter when keys are lost or to grant access to a guest when there’s no one home. The system consists of a microphone connected to a Microchip PIC32 MCU that controls a push solenoid to actuate the unlock button.

Posture Corrector Leverages Bluetooth
Learn how these Cornell students built a posture corrector that helps remind you to sit up straight. Using vibration and visual cues, this wearable device is paired with a phone app and makes use of Bluetooth and Microchip PIC32 technology.

INTERACTING WITH THE ANALOG WORLD

Product Focus: ADCs and DACs
Makers of analog ICs are constantly evolving their DAC and ADC chips pushing the barriers of resolution and speeds. This new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative ADC and DAC products.

Stepper Motor Waveforms
Using inexpensive microcontrollers, motor drivers, stepper motors and other hardware, columnist Ed Nisley built himself a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines. In this article Ed examines how the CNC’s stepper motors perform, then pushes one well beyond its normal limits.

Measuring Acceleration
Sensors are a fundamental part of what make smart machines smart. And accelerometers are one of the most important of these. In this article, George Novacek examines the principles behind accelerometers and how the technology works.

SOFTWARE TOOLS AND PROTOTYPING

Trace and Code Coverage Tools
Today it’s not uncommon for embedded devices to have millions of lines of software code. Trace and code coverage tools have kept pace with these demands making it easier for embedded developers to analyze, debug and verify complex embedded software. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest technology trends and product developments in trace and code coverage tools.

Manual Pick-n-Place Assembly Helper
Prototyping embedded systems is an important part of the development cycle. In this article, Colin O’Flynn presents an open-source tool that helps you assemble prototype devices by making the placement process even easier.