Low-power LTE 4G modem targets IoT, uses MIPS architecture

June 25, 2015 // By Julien Happich
Altair Semiconductor has designed a new family of MIPS-based chips to provide 4G connectivity to wearables and other IoT devices at minimal power consumption.

The company has optimised the FourGee modems for the small form factor and very low power consumption characteristics that are typical of IoT devices. It claims its FourGee-1150 and 1160 chips offer up to 10 times better energy efficiency and half the connectivity cost of the standard LTE technologies being used today.

Adding a FourGee LTE chip to a wearable has less than 10% impact on battery life in a typical usage scenario (i.e. if a wearable device gets ~48 hrs on Bluetooth + Wi-Fi only, then it will last for ~44 hrs using FourGee LTE + Bluetooth + Wi-Fi), says the manufacturer. An LTE-powered smart meter could run for up to 10 years using several standard AA-type batteries. The FourGee chips also come equipped with next-generation OmniShield security technologies from Imagination, creating the required framework for safe deployment of services and software upgrades for IoT devices.

The FourGee-1150/6401 is a low-cost LTE Category-0 chipset featuring downlink speeds of up to 1Mbps, extremely low power consumption. This IoT-optimised chipset is highly integrated and incorporates elements such as an advanced on-chip power management unit, integrated DDR memory and a low power MCU subsystem with a robust security framework for customer developed applications. The chipset also feature numerous host, peripheral and sensor interfaces.

Imagination Technologies (MIPS IP); www.imgtec.com

Altair Semiconductor;  www.altair-semi.com