Low power radio chip for long range connectivity in sensor networks

24th May 2016
Source: IMEC
Posted By : Joe Bush
Low power radio chip for long range connectivity in sensor networks

Today’s imec annual technology forum in Brussels (ITF Brussels 2016), saw the company present a low power wide area (LPWA) multi-standard radio chip alongside Holst Centre.

The two nanoelectronics research centres claim that the new radio chip can operate with a lower level of power consumption than any other radio chip technology released to date for long range connectivity in sensor networks. The sub-GHz radio chip’s technology can serve a multitude of protocols including IEEE 802.15.4g/k, W-MBUS, KNX-RF, as well as the popular LoRa and SIGFOX networks, and future cellular IoT for applications such as smart metering, smart home, smart city and critical infrastructure monitoring.

The radio chip operates in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) and short range device (SRD) bands, covering a frequency range from 780MHz to 930MHz. The robust, low power design combines a large link budget, with state of the art interference rejection and lowest bill of materials by minimising external components as compared to off-the-shelf available chips. The radio is implemented as a complete System-on-Chip (SoC) including the RF front end, power management, an ARM processor, 160kBytes of SRAM and peripherals like SPI, I2C and UART.

It features a targeted sensitivity of -120dBm at 0.1% BER (1kbps) and ultra-low power consumption of 8mW (Rx) and 113mW (Tx) for 13.5dBm output power. The receiver supports a wide gain range to handle input signals from -120dBm to -15dBm, corresponding to a large dynamic range of 105dB. The PA features automatic ramp-up and ramp-down for ARIB spectral mask compliance. Furthermore, the output power is controllable from

“With the foreseen release of the NB-IoT protocol in June 2016 by the 3GPP, it is clear that protocols such as NB-IoT, SigFox and LoRA are here to stay for the coming years,” stated Kathleen Philips, Programme Director, Perceptive Systems at imec/Holst Centre. “Our novel sub-GHz radio chip can serve multiple of these protocols and is an ideal solution for long range wireless connectivity for IoT applications.”

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