Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ultralow-Power IoT Connectivity For Remote Devices

By Sharad Bhowmick

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Accelerated Development for Communication Module Enables Low-Cost Connectivity for Devices in Maritime, Oil & Gas, and Transport Sectors

CEA and Astrocast have joined hands to release a low-cost, bidirectional communication module that can enable communication in remote areas with no coverage of the terrestrial networks. The device can help companies in various sectors such as in maritime, oil & Gas, transport, etc. to enable communication and retrieve data from their equipment in remote sites.

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The device embeds an L-band chip in Astrocast’s popular Astronode S module. The L-band chip is based on a new architecture developed by CEA-Leti whereas the Astronode S is a satellite communication module, which can connect an IoT device to Astrocast’s network. It enables the monitoring and control of devices with bidirectional satellite communication and up to 10 years of a lifetime off a single battery. The module features an SMT castellated pads form factor for trouble-free integration and soldering onto a PCB.

“Terrestrial IoT networks cover only about 15 per cent of the planet, which leaves vast remote and rural areas where our global satellite network provides coverage that is crucial for our target markets,” said Laurent Vieira de Mello, Astrocast’s COO. “Leveraging its expertise embedded in a preliminary version of the RF chip, CEA-Leti developed its chip and delivered the final prototype to meet our requirements and time-to-market goals. They managed the chip technology transfer to our industrialization, qualification and production partner.”

The chip’s architecture is split over the RF core and digital processing and control units. It is fully optimized to support Astrocast’s dedicated bidirectional ground-to-satellite protocol and provides an optimal trade-off between link budget and low-power and low-cost constraints. The chip also embeds all low-earth orbit (LEO), satellite-specific features such as satellite detection and robustness to Doppler shift.

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