CEVA has announced the successor to its popular CEVA-Dragonfly NB1 solution targeting the fast growing NB-IoT market. CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 is a highly integrated and modular solution optimised for Cat-NB2 (3GPP Release 14 eNB-IoT) that can seamlessly be incorporated into chips and modules by the multitude of companies looking to address the large and fast growing cellular IoT space.
In the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, the forecast for cellular IoT increased significantly, almost doubling to 3.5 billion connections for 2023. The report cites large-scale deployments in China and increasing interest in eNB-IoT and Cat-M1 cellular IoTstandards as the catalysts for 30% CAGR between 2017 and 2023.
CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 is the world’s first licensable Rel14 compliant eNB-IoT solution and builds on the success of CEVA-Dragonfly NB1, which has been widely licensed for a range of use cases and emerging end markets, including smart cities, transport and logistics and consumer electronics.
It is centred on the CEVA-X1 DSP/control processor featuring an enhanced Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and provides a unified processor environment for both physical layer and protocol stack workloads.
The solution also includes a highly integrated, worldwide enabled RF Transceiver, a Power Amplifier (PA) and all the associated hardware and software modules required to develop a complete eNB-IoT product, ensuring the lowest possible Bill-of-Materials (BoM) in the process.
In addition to the performance improvements enabled by Release 14 including higher data rates and lower latency, CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 features a range of enhancements to ensure higher performance, added functionality and increased security for NB-IoTapplications compared to its predecessor.
A new power management solution, complete with intelligent sleep mechanisms ensures ultra-low sleep power consumption of a few microAmps, further improving the battery life critical to every NB-IoT device. The enhanced RF design is already silicon-proven at 55nm and 40nm processes, further lowering the entry barriers for customers with no previous cellular expertise to enter this burgeoning market.
CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 also includes the fully-optimised physical layer and protocol stack firmware designed for Release 14 Cat-NB2. The addition of an on-chip embedded flash memory and controller now allows full NB-IoT design on a single die which further reduces BOM and power consumption.
For customers developing NB-IoT products that also require GNSS capabilities, CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 includes a new power-optimised GNSS hardware package, with GNSS RF Receiver and multi-constellation digital front-end. This GNSS package speeds up both acquisition and tracking tasks by up to eight times compared to CEVA-Dragonfly NB1, enabling a host of popular NB-IoT use cases, including people, livestock and asset tracking, and geo-fencing.
CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 also supports use cases requiring always-listening voice trigger, voice commands and sound sensing. The flexibility of the CEVA-X1 IoT processor allows for these sensing features to be implemented in software. The CEVA ClearVox voice front-end software package, for example, can be used to ensure clear and intelligible voice pickup for use cases such as emergency calls and voice panic buttons.
In terms of security, CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 integrates a completely redesigned secure platform, including smart interfaces to connect USIM or eSIM. CEVA also offers other complementary technologies addressing massive IoT, such as Bluetooth 5 dual-mode and low energy and WiFi 802.11n/ac/ax, for short range connectivity which customers can leverage for their product designs.
Michael Boukaya, Vice President and General Manager of the Wireless Business Unit at CEVA, stated: “The widespread commercial deployment of NB-IoT is well underway across the globe and we’re proud to be at the forefront of technology innovation for long-range massive IoT. With the introduction of CEVA-Dragonfly NB2, we have built on the considerable success we achieved with our first generation solution, and delivered a unique, silicon-proven eNB-IoT Release 14 solution for our customers that is unprecedented in terms of system completeness, performance and power efficiency.
"Moreover, the option of power-optimised GNSS, voice and sensing capabilities vastly increases the breadth of use cases our customers can address with this licensable solution. There is no other IP company in the world today that can come close to offering such a complete solution for eNB-IoT and we’re excited to closely partner with our customers to create a whole new wave of applications and devices for the infinite Internet of Things.”