IP builds NB-IoT in an SoC for cost and power-sensitive LTE IoT devices

February 28, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
CEVA, provider of signal processing IP, Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company (ASTRI) have disclosed Dragonfly NB1, a cost- and power-optimized NB-IoT solution aimed at streamlining the development of LTE IoT devices.

Reference silicon of the complete modem design, including embedded CMOS RF transceiver, advanced digital front-end, physical layer software and third party protocol stack (MAC, RLC, PDCP, RRC and NAS) will be available in June 2017.


This device will be a Release 13 Cat-NB1 modem IP solution composed of CEVA-X1 processor, optimized RF and baseband software. It will be software-configurable and will allow for the seamless addition of support for GNSS and sensing; a silicon reference design for NB-IoT and GNSS, including RF will also be available in June.


Dragonfly NB1 builds on CEVA’s low power DSPs and modem designs and ASTRI’s experience in RF and IC design technologies. Together, the companies say they have produced a complete M2M endpoint solution that offers performance and low power consumption, that is easily integrated into a SoC. Dragonfly NB1 provides Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) SoC designers with a flexible, software-upgradeable platform with key benefits in terms of die size and power consumption:


The Dragonfly NB1 contains a single CEVA-X1 IoT processor, capable of running the complete PHY and protocol stack software for NB-IoT in addition to other associated workloads such as GNSS and sensing. It eliminates the need for additional processors and hardware accelerators in the SoC and allows in-the-field upgrades to Release 14 eNB-IoT and other future releases.


The CEVA-X1 IoT processor architecture includes specialized NB-IoT instructions and mechanisms to speed up PHY, MAC and encryption execution, further reducing clock speed and power consumption. It can also support other LPWA standards and workloads such as Cat-M1, LoRa, SigFox and voice.


Dragonfly NB1 solution incorporates power-efficient multi-standard RF with embedded PA, LNA, DC-DC and DCXO technology for NB-IoT and GNSS (GPS and BeiDou), shortening development time and reducing the overall module bill of materials. It is designed to operate with embedded flash by incorporating an optimized low latency memory subsystem with a dedicated cache controller. The solution also includes