ZiFiSense, Socionext and Techsor have completed final specifications for the next-generation ZETA communication standard that incorporates the “Advanced M-FSK modulation” method.
ZiFiSense is the founder of the LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) standard ZETA, and Techsor is the representative company for the ZETA Alliance in Japan. The three companies have finalized specifications of the new standard and will conduct demonstration tests aiming at practical uses and commercialization of the standard. Socionext plans to prototype a communication SoC that is compatible with the new standard by March 2022, with mass production scheduled to begin by the end of 2022.
LPWA is a wireless communication technology standard suitable for IoT applications. ZETA features bi-directional communication and communication hopping through relays, providing a distinct advantage over other LPWA standards for use in buildings, as well as agricultural and fishing areas that are difficult to reach with radio waves.
The newly developed ZETA communication standard is compatible with the latest “Advanced M-FSK modulation” and achieves a transfer rate 20 times or more with a sensitivity improvement of 10 dB or more compared with conventional ZETA that uses 2FSK modulation. The latest ZETA version enables a communication distance of 3 to 5 km from an object moving at 60 km per hour. Socionext’s unique RF, digital modulation and demodulation technology provides special encoding processing such as error correction and multi-level modulation with low power consumption.
The “Advanced M-FSK modulation” method changes from 2FSK to multi-level modulation, such as 64 FSK, and improves the communication speed. The effect of increased data volume due to error correction and repetition is reduced by faster transmission speed obtained by multi-level modulation, and the sensitivity can be improved even though the effective transmission speed is the same as the conventional method. This standard is backward compatible and can communicate with existing ZETA equipment.
Existing LPWA solutions have both advantages and disadvantages in terms of speed, sensitivity, and tolerance to mobility, all compounded by various standards — making it difficult to select the best implementation.
Advanced M-FSK enables ZETA LPWA networks with optimal characteristics to be built by adjusting the parameters for communication speed, sensitivity, and mobility tolerance according to the application. Such flexibility makes it possible to apply ZETA in integrating network systems that require a combination of multiple communication methods based on the application type and to simplify and expedite network construction.
Commercialization of the new standard with these features will further expand the possibilities of LPWA applications, including smart agriculture, smart buildings, and smart logistics.
Socionext plans to prototype a communication SoC compatible with the new standard by March 2022. The three companies will conduct demonstration tests aiming at practical use and commercialization of the new standard and compatible products. Mass production of the communication SoC is scheduled to begin by the end of 2022.
“In developing the next-generation Advanced M-FSK modulation for ZETA, I believe we were able to take full advantage of Socionext’s cutting-edge SoC design technologies and high-performance RF and digital modulation and demodulation technologies,” said Teruaki Hasegawa, Head of the IoT & Radar Sensing Business Unit of Socionext.
“We have formulated a new standard and will continue to develop SoC samples and conduct demonstration tests,” said Dr. Li Zhuogun, CEO of ZiFiSense. “ZETA has been providing value to LPWA in protocol technology. Now we will also be able to lead other LPWA technologies at the SoC level.”
“By developing next-generation ZETA RF technologies and implementing them to an SoC, we can further enhance our competitiveness and accelerate the global expansion of the ZETA standard,” said Zhu Qiang, Representative Director of Techsor.