First fully integrated SoC for Direct-to-Satellite IoT
Orca Systems has launched the first wireless system-on-chip (SoC) for direct-to-satellite Internet of Things (IoT) connections
The ORC3990 was developed with satellite IoT network provider Totum for direct-to-satellite, indoor operation over the ISM band.
Founded in 2004 as a digital RF intellectual property (IP) and semiconductor design engineering services provider, Orca Systems transitioned to a fabless semiconductor business model in 2018. The technology assets in the RF, analog, digital transceiver and power management domains served as SoC building blocks and key elements of the ORC3990 design.
The ORC3990 SoC integrates all required system functions in a 68pin QFN package. An essential building block of the SoC design includes Orca Systems’ flexible, third-generation Live Wireless RF and digital radio subsystem, which has been customized to support the requirements of Totum’s LEO satellite network.
Additional function blocks integrated within the ORC3390 SoC include a low noise amplifier (LNA), a digital power amplifier (PA), the Totum satellite modem, power management unit (PMU) subsystem including all analog blocks, dual Arm Cortex-M0+ CPUs for separate network and application processing, all necessary memory (volatile and non-volatile) for the on-chip CPUs, required security functions, and key analog and digital peripherals.
External components are reduced to a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO), passive filters and switches, a PCB antenna and a battery. For simple, compact “tracker-on-a-chip” applications supporting global connectivity and positioning, a cost under $10 is possible using the chip. Using a 22nm FD SOI process gives the chip a battery life of ten years.
“By rapidly delivering successful first silicon to meet our project deadlines, Orca Systems enabled Totum to quickly demonstrate communication from the ground with our SoC-based endpoint to our satellite network in record time,” said Ted Myers, CEO of Totum, “The ORC3990 SoC, with its high level of integration and low power requirements, enables the lowest cost bidirectional endpoints in the industry with a 10-year battery life. This is game-changing technology for satellite IoT connectivity.”
“Orca’s unique architecture lends itself to integrating everything required in an IoT-focused SoC application,” said John McDonough, CEO of Orca Systems. “Manufacturing the ORC3990 SoC with GlobalFoundries’ 22FDX 22nm FD-SOI technology assured a cost-effective, low-power SoC solution that will be highly competitive in today’s market. Our innovative approach to IC design leverages extensive reuse of our SoC architecture, circuitry and methodologies, enabling us to achieve first-time-right silicon in one year of design for our partner Totum.”
Orca Systems is the exclusive provider and manufacturer of the ORC3990 SoC to Totum and its partners.
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