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Renesas aim at smart homes with Sequans cellular NB-IoT module

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By Nick Flaherty


Renesas Electronics has worked with French chip developer Sequans on a firmware boots for its low power networking module for smart cities, smart homes, medical devices and industrial applications.

The RYZ024A, launched at the electronica exhibition in Munich this week, upgrades a Cat-M1 module to NB-IoT to provide connectivity without the need for a gateway and consumes just 1µA in power savings mode.

This follows a similar module that Sequans developed with Skyworks and also launched at the show. The Skyworks module measures 8.8 x 11.3 x 1.585 mm while the Renesas module comes in at 16.3 mm x 17 mm x 1.85 mm and needs an external microcontroller.

The Renesas module supports extended discontinuous reception (eDRX) and has an extended voltage range from 2.2V to 5.5V which makes it ideal for battery-powered applications.

Similar to the RYZ014A predecessor, the RYZ024A offers seamless Cat-M1 wireless connection capability, but the adds the option to integrate NB-IoT. While Cat-M1 and NB-IoT are both Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies, NB-IoT uses only a portion of the available spectrum, making it more power efficient and therefore extending the operational life of battery-powered systems.

NB-IoT also offers excellent coverage depth, including underground and in enclosed spaces. The module provides two power amplifier output levels: 20dBm (decibel-milliwatts) and 23dBm, ensuring coverage at the cellular network’s edge as well as deep indoor environments.

The RYZ024A is being developed in collaboration with Sequans and will be fully tested and certified to work with all major radio frequency regulatory specifications defined by organizations such as the Global Certification Forum (GFC) and the PCS Type Certification Review Board (PTCRB).

The certification ensures compliance with complex RF regulatory and carrier-specific requirements so that engineers can immediately start building IoT systems for leading carriers in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

“Cellular LTE-M and NB-IoT categories are now the de-facto wireless standards for connecting low-power IoT devices with global network coverage,” said Georges Karam, CEO of Sequans. “Renesas’ second-generation wireless module based on our Monarch 2 platform offers a certified hardware and software combination with all of the advanced features needed to accelerate the implementation of wireless IoT systems around the world.”

Renesas will provide all the tools and software that engineers need to design IoT-ready, power sensitive systems based on the RYZ024A, including an evaluation kit, a software stack and RF certifications. Compared to conventional chipset-based designs, designing in the RYZ024A module will reduce the PCB size by 60 percent and cut development time by up to 90 percent, since the product offers full hardware and software support to integrate the RA or RX family of MCUs.

“Renesas has been aggressively expanding its connectivity portfolio with strategic partnerships and acquisitions for the past five years,” said Roger Wendelken, Senior Vice President in Renesas’ IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit. “The RYZ024A is a great example of our expansive connectivity solution offerings that complement our broad range of embedded microcontrollers and microprocessors to deliver performance, scalability and exceptional reliability.”

Renesas has developed a reference design for a Solar Powered Location Tracker with flexible wireless options that efficiently transmit data. The solution is controlled by a central MCU (RA2L1) that balances low-power requirements, interfaces, performance, and flexibility.

Along with complimentary Renesas products such as power ICs and communication modules for Wi-Fi (DA16600MOD), and Cat-M1 and NB-IoT module (RYZ024A), this provides connectivity options and an optimized power supply system that has been tested to accelerate development of tracker platforms.

The RYZ024A module is available today with Cat-M1 firmware and will be software upgradeable to support dual mode (Cat-M1 and NB-IoT) next year.

Renesas plans to offer a Pmod expansion kit to easily connect to Renesas MCUs. The kit will come with the fully-certified RYZ024A module, LTE antenna, SIM card and quick start guide including a software upgrade.

www.renesas.com/ryz024a


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