A number of stand-alone radio networks have emerged for long distance (km) transmission of IoT-class data (remote sensors, and the like), as well as narrow-band services associated with LTE cellular services. imec's radio chip can operate with a lower level of power than any other radio chip technology released to date for this role. The sub-GHz radio chip’s technology can serve multiple protocols including IEEE 802.15.4g/k, W-MBUS, KNX-RF, as well as the LoRa and SIGFOX networks, and future cellular IoT.
The radio chip operates in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) and short-range devices (SRD) bands, covering 780 MHz to 930 MHz. The design offers a high level of interference rejection and lowest bill of materials by minimizing external components as compared to of-the-shelf available chips. The radio is implemented as a complete SoC including the RF front end, power management, an ARM processor,160 kBytes of SRAM and peripherals such as SPI, I ²C and UART. It features a targeted sensitivity of -120 dBm at 0.1% BER (1 kbps) and power consumption of 8 mW (Rx) and 113 mW (Tx) for 13.5 dBm output power. The receiver supports a wide gain range to handle input signals from -120 dBm to -15 dBm, corresponding to a large dynamic range of 105 dB. The PA features automatic ramp-up and ramp-down for ARIB spectral mask compliancy. Output power is controllable from <-40dBm up to 15dBm.
“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, program 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.”
Imec’s Industrial Affiliation program on the Intuitive Internet-of-Things (IoT) focuses on developing the building blocks for the future. The program