The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connecting things. However, the connectivity domain in the IoT world faces a lot of challenges. For a start, The IoT realm is composed of a long list of communication standards, and they are constantly evolving. That’s because different IoT devices require multiple communication standards at varying ranges and bandwidths.
In other words, connectivity needs to be smart and scalable. Furthermore, a smart IoT platform requires three key building blocks: Connectivity, sensing and intelligence. Apparently, a lot of data needs to be processed, and a DSP-centric solution can enable the creation of a smart IoT device based on the connectivity, sensing and intelligence building blocks. In this first part out of three, we’ll look at the challenges of IoT connectivity.
Smart Connectivity via DSP
A DSP-based software PHY solution enables the creation of smart IoT devices through support for multiple connectivity standards. Take smart home, for instance, where IoT devices mostly use Wi-Fi links. However, when there is no Wi-Fi, they could automatically switch to an LTE network.
It’s worthwhile to note that, from a security standpoint, it’s easy to take down the home Wi-Fi network or electricity, but the wide area LTE network can’t be taken down. So IoT devices will count on LTE for cloud connectivity outside the home environment. The CEVA-XC DSP-based software PHY allows the creation of a multi-standard wireless connectivity platform.
CEVA’s Wi-Fi platform—based on CEVA-TeakLite-4 DSP plus PHY and MAC hardware—is scalable to other connectivity standards and consumes Less than 30mW for 1Mbps 802.11n. Next, CEVA’s Bluetooth platform, which uses the same DSP as the Wi-Fi solution, TeakLite-4, supports both Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
Bluetooth controller software stack runs on CEVA-TeakLite-4 while baseband hardware is integrated with TeakLite-4 DSP core. The next generation Bluetooth 5.0 will feature audio over BLE, IPv6 over BLE and extended range. Another exciting IoT connectivity standard is LTE MTC or Machine Type Communication. LTE-CAT0 is the first 3GPP category that solves MTC requirements. MTC enhances LTE coverage by up to 15dB and allows up to 10 years of operation with 2xAA batteries.
Outperforming Common MCU/CPU
The DSP solutions such as CEVA-TeakLite-4 and CEVA-XC outperform common MCU-based solutions for IoT connectivity. Take the case of a portable Wi-Fi Internet radio that runs Wi-Fi and HD audio decode and features audio post-processing for enhanced sound experience. Here, a DSP core like the CEVA-TeakLite-4 used for Wi-Fi and audio processing consumes 1/6 of the power of a typical main CPU.
The connectivity element in the IoT world is intrinsically linked to sensing and data analysis, and the next blog will delve into how a DSP-based solution can enable smart sensing and aggregation of data. Stay tuned!
For Moshe Sheier’s presentation from IoT Developers Conference, May 2015: “IoT Platform for Signal Processing Savvy Applications” click here
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