Highly-efficient NB-IoT modem

Highly-efficient NB-IoT modem

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By eeNews Europe

Qualcomm Technologies has launched a cellular modem chip for the Internet of Things (IoT) that it claims is the most power efficient design in the world.

The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem is a single-mode NB2 (NB-IoT) chipset with a sleep current of under 1μA. The modem couples ultra-low system-level cut-off voltage with provisions for adapting power usage according to varying source power levels allowing end devices with power supply levels down to 2.2V. Power efficiency is a top concern for IoT devices that have to last for years in the field, so reducing both the sleep current and ther operating power is essential.

“The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem will help usher in a new era for a range of IoT applications around the globe, especially those requiring connectivity deep within buildings combined with low power use, like battery-powered IoT devices that need to operate for 15 years or longer in the field,” said Vieri Vanghi, vice president, product management of Qualcomm Europe. “Its ultra-low power consumption, compact form factor, and low cost will greatly benefit OEMs creating the next generation of low-power IoT devices.”

The modem chip supports single-mode 3GPP Release 14 Cat for NB2 IoT connectivity. This enables extended coverage for delay tolerant applications on RF frequency bands spanning from 700MHz to 2.1GHz for global roaming. Part of the power efficiency comes from the integration, with the modem baseband, ARM Cortex M3 application processor, memory, RF transceiver with fully integrated RF front end and power management units on a single chip under 100mm2.

The high level of integration with few external components not only results in a low-cost Bill of Materials, but also facilitates quicker module design enabling faster commercialization time for OEMs. Qualcomm Technologies is also launching an SDK for use with the modem to support developers in running custom software on the integrated applications processor, with an expectation to offer pre-integrated support for cloud platforms such as the Microsoft Azure IoT SDK.

“Deutsche Telekom is looking forward to certify Qualcomm Technologies’ upcoming Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem for our networks,” said Uday Patil, head of IoT devices at Deutsche Telekom. “Thanks to our excellent collaboration, we can bring seamless interoperability to our customers as well as innovative services.”

“Gemalto, a Thales company, relies on Qualcomm Technologies’ cutting-edge LTE modems to provide its Cinterion IoT modules with the best-in-class connectivity capabilities,” said Andreas Haegele, vice president, IoT, Thales. “The world-leading power efficiency potential offered by Qualcomm Technologies’ new Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem is a very exciting breakthrough.  We are thrilled about the opportunity to expand our portfolio and offer our customers innovative next generation IoT solutions.” 

The chip will alos be used by cellular IoT module makers such as Telit in Israel. “Telit has a long-standing relationship with Qualcomm Technologies, using their LTE 9205 and 9206 modems to offer our customers the best-in-class cellular connectivity IoT modules,” said Manish Watwani, chief marketing and product officer at Telit. “The 212 LTE IoT Modem supports Release 14 Cat. NB2 IoT connectivity, offering IoT applications extended coverage, improved power consumption and battery life. We are proud to work with a collaborator that continues to provide cutting-edge connectivity solutions like the Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem to grow our LPWA portfolio.”

The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2020.


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