Design Con 2015

Neul launches “Weightless” wireless M2M transceiver

February 12, 2013

Bernard Cole-February 12, 2013

The world’s first transceiver chip using the Weightless specification and operating over white space spectrum has been released by Neul Ltd., a founding member, with ARM Ltd. of the Weightless Special Interest Group .

Neul’s “Iceni” transceiver ASIC, operates over the entire TV white space frequency range, from 470MHz to 790MHz, and supports both 6 MHz and 8 MHz channel bandwidths while conforming to the strict white space regulatory requirements.

It incorporates adaptive digital modulation schemes and error correction methods designed to be selected by the designer according to the trade-offs between data rate and range required for a given application.

Incorporating encryption mechanisms ensure secure data transfer over the air, it makes use of a memory-mapped parallel bus interface and discrete interrupt lines for use in waking up an external application processor, such as an ARM Cortex-M3, upon receipt of a relevant frame. It also incorporates programmable I/O for controlling external RF front-end functions, such as a Transmit Power Amplifier .

A wireless Machine to Machine (M2M) communications protocol, Weightless is designed to operate over distances ranging from a few meters to about 10 kilometers.It operates by exchanging data between a base station and thousands of machines around it (using wavelength radio transmissions in unoccupied TV transmission channels) with high levels of security.

It uses time-division duplexing with frequency hopping and variable spreading factors to increase range and accommodate low power devices in frequency bands, or channels, within the terrestrial television broadcast band.

Channels that are in use by a nearby television transmitter are identified and left unaffected while channels not being used by broadcast television can be allocated for use by Weightless devices.

A Weightless network will consist of base stations that are linked to the Internet, or a private network, in order to pass information from devices to a computer system; and to pass information back to the devices.

The downlink to devices uses time slots and the uplink to the base station is divided into sub-channels so that several devices can communicate to the base station.

Samples of the Iceni transceiver are now available to select customers and with select partners will be begin testing and configuration of various white-space networking configurations.

With a forecasted 5-10 billion devices to be shipped per year,” said James Collier, CEO of Neul, “this is a market that is bigger than cellular, and one that will support as many as a dozen major silicon vendors.”

Samples of the Iceni transceiver are being made available to select customers. It will begin working with select partners to test the transceiver and how it can be used in various white-space networking configurations.

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