u-blox certifies world’s smallest LTE Cat M1 module for Verizon’s 4G LTE network

Courtesy of u-blox

Thalwil, Switzerland – April 24, 2017 – u‑blox (SIX:UBXN), a global leader in wireless and positioning modules and chips, today announced certification of its SARA‑R404M module for Verizon’s  nationwide Category M1 (Cat M1) LTE network, which will support a broad range of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The SARA‑R404M module is the smallest Cat M1 module available in the market today, measuring just 16 x 26 mm in an LGA form factor that is designed for easy integration and manufacturing.

“u‑blox has been at the forefront of developing modules supporting the new LTE Cat M1 cellular air interface. We are pleased to be among the first suppliers supporting Verizon’s LTE Cat M1 network with a Cat M1 module in such a small form factor,” said Patty Felts, Product Manager Cellular at u‑blox.

The SARA‑R404M LTE Cat M1 module will consume significantly less power than comparable 3G or 4G technologies and is optimized for long battery life of up to 10 years for some use cases, and offering an extended temperature range of -40 to +85°C, reducing maintenance expenses and the total cost of device ownership. It also supports extended coverage in buildings and basement with a 15 dB coverage enhancement as compared to GSM. Further, critical firmware updates can be delivered via the u‑blox uFOTA (firmware over the air) client server solution, which supports LWM2M – a light and compact protocol that is ideal for IoT applications.

LTE Cat M1 is part of the 3GPP Release 13 standard supporting low power wide area technologies in the licensed spectrum and specifically supports IoT applications with low to medium data throughput rates. It can support applications requiring longer battery lifetimes, low latency and mobility. The market potential for this new technology is extensive and will cover applications in many areas, such as the smart home, security systems, industrial monitoring and control, asset tracking, telematics, connected health, smart metering, and smart cities.

Thanks to u‑blox nested design, migration between the SARA‑R404M module and other u‑blox 2G, 3G and 4G modules is easy, while enabling future‑proof, seamless mechanical scalability across technologies.

About u‑blox

Swiss u‑blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global leader in wireless and positioning modules and chips for the automotive, industrial and consumer markets. u‑blox solutions enable people, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules and software solutions, u‑blox is uniquely positioned to empower OEMs to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost‑effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, u‑blox is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia, and the USA.


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u‑blox contact:

Patty Felts, Product Manager Cellular at u‑blox

Phone: +1 858 847 9611

E‑mail: patty.felts@u-blox.com

Wearable monitor offers Nordic-powered multiprotocol wireless connectivity to provide detailed heart rate and activity analytics

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

The ‘LifeTrak ZoomHRV’ from Salutron employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF51422 multiprotocol ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy SoC to deliver fitness and exercise recovery data to smartphones, tablets, and ANT+ devices

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Newark, CA-based activity monitoring solutions company Salutron Inc., has selected the nRF51422 multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) for its LifeTrak ZoomHRV sports and fitness wearable. The device is equipped with ANT+ and Bluetooth® low energy wireless connectivity provided by the nRF51422 SoC’s multiprotocol capability.

Read full article here: www.nordicsemi.com

Why does Smart Metering need next‑generation cellular technology?

Courtesy of u-blox

Smart metering is not the most obvious application for next‑generation cellular technology. Utility meters don’t need the high data speeds of up to 100Mbps that are designed for consumer mobile video streaming. The amounts of sent data are small, the speed of transmission is not critical and low power operation is desirable. Most smart meter deployments today use 2G or 3G cellular technologies and u‑blox supplies products such as our 2G SARA‑G family and the 3G SARA‑U family into these types of metering applications. So, with 2G and 3G metering applications already so well‑established, why are some parts of the industry calling for smart meters to be upgraded to 4G technologies?

Read full article here: www.u-blox.com

By Sabrina Bochen
Senior Principal, Cellular Product Strategy, u-blox

Nordic Bluetooth low energy-powered designer jewelry doubles as smart personal safety device for women in emergency situations

Courtesy of www.nordicsemi.com

IVY’ from Smartfuture employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to allow the user to trigger a smartphone alarm, or notify a ‘guardian’ in the event their personal safety is threatened

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Singapore-based technology start-up, Smartfuture Pte Ltd, has launched its ‘IVY’ smart jewelry, designed as a dual fashion accessory and personal safety device for women. IVY employs Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the device with Bluetooth® low energy wireless connectivity, while the PCB and firmware design was developed with Bangalore, India-based embedded technology company, Kemsys Technologies.

Read full article on Nordic Semiconductor website here: www.nordicsemi.com

Picture Gallery

u-blox 3D Automotive Dead Reckoning technology

Courtesy of www.u-blox.com

Increasingly dense urban environments, park houses and multi‑level interchanges pose a significant problem to navigation systems based on the reception of extremely weak satellite navigation signals.

As ever more systems (e.g. car navigation, road pricing, fleet management, emergency services, etc.) depend on reliable, uninterrupted positioning and navigation, “3‑Dimensional Dead Reckoning” GNSS, the ability to calculate a position in the X, Y, and Z axis when satellites signals are blocked or impeded is becoming increasingly important.

3D Automotive Dead Reckoning chip: a new dimension in navigation

3‑Dimensional Automotive Dead Reckoning (“3D ADR”) aids traditional GPS/GNSS navigation via intelligent algorithms based on distance, direction and elevation changes made during satellite signal interruption. u‑blox’ 3D ADR GNSS chip UBX‑M8030‑Kx‑DR blends satellite navigation data with individual wheel speed, gyroscope and accelerometer information to deliver accurate positioning regardless of changes in a vehicle’s speed, heading or vertical displacement, even when satellite signals are partially or completely blocked. This is especially important when quick navigation decisions must be made immediately upon exiting tunnels and parkhouses.

The NEO‑M8L Automotive Dead Reckoning (ADR) module includes integrated motion, direction and elevation sensors. The module integrates gyro and accelerometer with u‑blox’ leading GNSS platform u‑blox M8 to achieve the highest- performance indoor/outdoor positioning solution available, perfect for all road vehicle and high‑accuracy navigation applications.

In addition to accessing the integrated module’s gyro and accelerometer data, accident reconstruction systems can provide the location of an accident to facilitate insurance claims even if a collision occurs in a tunnel or park house. High‑end navigation devices are able to guide drivers through tunnels of several kilometers thanks to the unsurpassed accuracy of u‑blox’ ADR system. Stolen vehicles can be located instantly due to continuous monitoring of sensor data and storage of location in non‑volatile memory.

Devices for usage‑based insurance, stolen vehicle recovery, road pricing, fleet management, emergency services, and vehicle navigation depend on reliable, uninterrupted positioning including tunnels, park houses and stacked highways. The NEO‑M8L is the ideal solution for all road vehicle based applications, able to calculate a position in all circumstances based on its own internal sensors, regardless of satellite visibility and end‑device orientation.

Evaluation tools
u‑blox‘ ADR technology can be evaluated with specific blueprints (for 3D ADR chipset) and EVK‑M8L evaluation kit supporting the NEO‑M8L.
Evaluation Kits which can be ordered via our Online shop or via a u‑blox sales representative.

Blueprints can also be ordered upon request from a u‑blox sales representative. For complete details about u‑blox’ Automotive Dead Reckoning chips and modules, please contact the u‑blox sales representative nearest you.


u-blox M8 ADR modules including 3D sensors
u-blox M8 3D Dead Reckoning GNSS chips

GaAs or GaN: Best Choice for Highly Linear Mixers?

Courtesy of Marki Microwave

Everywhere you look in the microwave industry press or at the international microwave symposium you see one topic mentioned over and over again: Gallium Nitride (GaN). There is presently a gold rush in the industry to produce new varieties of products in GaN. The wide bandgap and high electron mobility of GaN mean that it is capable of a much higher power density than Gallium Arsenide (GaAs).  The introduction and availability of a 0.15 micron commercial GaN processes means that fabless integrated circuit companies (such as Marki) can produce GaN microwave products at frequencies comparable to GaAs. This has led to a profusion of products including power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers, driver amplifiers, and many other amplifiers using GaN that set new records for power at high frequency.

Read full article here: www.markimicrowave.com

Ultra-low Noise Amplifier (LNA) MMICs Designed with the RF / Microwave Engineer in Mind

Custom MMIC has developed high performance, GaAs and GaN RF / Microwave ultra-low noise amplifiers (LNAs) to meet stringent design requirements for low bias current, low bias voltage, extremely low noise figure, high gain and broadband operation. They’re available from 2 to 45 GHz (L through Q band), and come in ultra-small die and small QFN packages. With noise figures as low as 1 dB in microwave frequencies, our GaAs and GaN MMIC LNAs are fit for highly sensitive SATCOM and radar applications, and are built for high survivability rated RF / Microwave military and aerospace radio design. Additional LNA features include single positive bias voltage supply and input power handling of 20 dBm. Visit Custom MMIC website here

Low Noise Amplifiers
Phase Noise
2 – 6 30 1.2 12 14 23 3 – 5 45 DIE
2 – 6 28 1.5 13 14 25 3 – 5 45 4×4 mm QFN
4 – 8 15.5 1.9 15 17 29 2 – 5 75 3×3 mm QFN
CMD219 (GaN)
4 – 8 23 1.0 18 26 28 5 – 28 / -2.3 75 DIE
4 – 8 22.5 1.0 17 25.5 28 5 – 28 / -2.3 75 4×4 mm QFN
5 – 9 22 1.2 11 13 21 1 2 – 4.5 30 3×3 mm QFN
CMD218 (GaN)
5 – 9 22 1.1 21.5 26 30 5 – 28 / -2.7 80 DIE
5 – 11 27 1.4 13 15 25 3 – 5 45 DIE
5 – 11 26 1.5 13 15 24 3 – 5 45 4×4 mm QFN
5 – 11 23 1.4 10 13 22 2 – 4.5 30 DIE
5 – 11 21 1.4 10 13 22 2 – 4.5 30 3×3 mm QFN
5 – 11 22 1.2 11 14 23 2 – 5 107 DIE
6 – 11 18.5 2.1 17 20 28 2 – 5 78 3×3 mm QFN
10 – 14 19 1.05 5 12 2 – 4 / 1.5 20 DIE
10 – 14 19 1.4 4 7 13 1 – 4 / 1.5 20 3×3 mm QFN
8 – 16 16 1.8 11 13 23 2 – 4 50 3×3 mm QFN
10 – 17 26 1.1 4 10 14 2 – 4 / 1.5 29 DIE
10 – 17 15 2.0 11 13 24 2 – 4 55 DIE
6 – 18 26 1.5 11 13.5 23 2 – 4.5 52 DIE
6 – 18 26 1.5 11 13.5 23 2 – 4.5 52 3×3 mm QFN
9 – 18 22 1.5 13.5 16 22.5 3 – 5 93 DIE
2 – 18 9 4.5 20.5 22 24 3 – 6 120 4×4 QFN
6 – 20 20 2.0 15.5 16.5 26 2 – 5 120 3×3 mm QFN
6-20 20 2.0 15.5 16.5 26 2 – 5 120 DIE & 3×3 mm
17 – 25 26.5 1.4 8 11 16 2 – 4 1.5 26 DIE
16 – 26 23 2.2 7 13 18 2 – 5 110 DIE
17 – 27 24 1.3 19 20 26 2 – 4 / 3 120 DIE
17 – 27 23 1.7 18 19 25 2 – 4 / 3 120 4×4 mm QFN
26 – 34 22 1.7 7 9 14 1 – 4 25 DIE
26 – 34 20 1.4  6 8  15 1 – 4 / 2  20 DIE
33 – 45 19 2.1 4 7 13 1 – 4 / 2 25 DIE

Qorvo Mobile Wi-Fi

Courtesy of Qorvo – Visit www.qorvo.com for more details

The RF Fusion™ Mobile Wi-Fi iFEM (integrated front-end module) delivers industry-leading performance. The QM48184 provides a complete, dual-band integrated solution for Wi-Fi 802.11ac/a/b/g/n systems and uses Qorvo’s packaging technology to deliver a complete mobile Wi-Fi solution in a single package. The integrated Wi-Fi coexistence filter, diplexer and coupler achieves significant size reduction versus chip-on-board solutions, while delivering significant performance and size improvements.

  • Dual-band power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers (LNAs) and switches for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels.
  • Integrated Rx and harmonic filtering simplifies system-level requirements.
  • On-chip power detector and coupler enables flexibility, ease of calibration, and closed-loop power control.
  • All RF ports matched to 50 ohms.
  • Option to be used in either 2×2 MIMO or 1×1 SISO applications.
QM48184: RF Fusion™ Dual-Band iFEMQM48184: RF Fusion™ Dual-Band iFEM
Click here to view more


Bluetooth low energy smart sportswatch tracks distance covered, steps taken, and calories burned via partner iOS and Android smartphone app

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor – Visit www.nordicsemi.com to read the full article

The new ‘H03 Pro-N’ smart sportswatch from Trasense International uses Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC to wirelessly report a range of exercise metrics

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that China-based smart wearables company, Trasense International, has launched its ‘H03 Pro-N’ smart sportswatch, employing Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the device with Bluetooth® low energy wireless connectivity.

Visit www.nordicsemi.com to read the full article


Security gets FASTR for automotive

Courtesy of u-blox blog – By Patrick Mannion
With automobiles generating gigabytes of data, FASTR has a plan to secure that data while ensuring user privacy, but it needs help.

In a connected world, very few worthwhile things can happen in isolation, and this is particularly true of automotive security and privacy. That’s why the Future of Automotive Security Technology Research (FASTRSM) consortium recently released a very formal and detailed manifesto, and with it, a call‑to‑action to the entire automotive supply chain.

The big driver for security (pardon the pun) is the escalating level of communications, both between modules in the vehicle itself, as well as vehicle‑to‑vehicle (V2V), vehicle‑to‑infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle‑to‑everything (V2X). The big realization, of course, is that we’re rapidly tumbling towards rising levels of vehicle autonomy that, according to FASTR, will be generating somewhere in the region of 4 gigabytes per vehicle by 2020 (Figure 1). While this is technologically exciting, it’s also terrifying from a security, privacy, user trust and liability point of view.


Figure 1: FASTR recognizes that the transition to higher levels of V2I, V2V, and V2X communication and autonomy creates more data and privacy concerns, which users will look to the industry to solve. (Image source: FASTR consortium)

That fear is well‑founded. To prove the point, researchers hacked a Jeep to expose vulnerabilities, and have continued to do so even after the initial vulnerability was shut down by Chrysler.

However, for anyone familiar with electronic systems, software and user habits, security will always be a moving target, kind of like cybersecurity “whack‑a-mole”. If one attack surface gets shut down, hackers move on to another. If the car manufacturer chooses to do over‑the‑air (OTA) updates to close the vulnerability, that OTA connection becomes a hacker target: sending a USB stick with self‑installing firmware updates to the user, or doing updates only in secure locations by the car dealer, is often the best solution.

Even then, with all the hardware, software, and connectivity loopholes closed, the user themselves can be tricked into giving away access codes, if the hackers are that intent on gaining access. Unless it’s a targeted attack for specific purposes, hackers, fortunately, are still human: they’ll move on to an easier target, we hope.

However, in an era of heightened security and privacy concerns, few want to rely upon hope as a solution, particularly anyone who might be in a position to be targeted. And vehicle manufacturers would rather avoid the publicity.

This brings us to FASTR and its manifesto. FASTR was founded in 2016 by Aeries, Intel, and Uber as a means of working with the expanding automotive ecosystem to accelerate the realization of organically secure vehicles. Along with the new manifesto announced in February, FASTR also welcomed Karamba Security and Rambus to the consortium.

Given the scope of the issue, a concerted effort is clearly necessary: 250 million connected vehicles will be on roadways by 2020 and the expected market for autonomous vehicles looks likely to approach $77 billion in 2023. FASTR itself pointed to some of the potential attack surfaces (Figure 2).


Figure 2: The lines of code and the attack surfaces on a connected vehicle are going to grow rapidly as we accelerate toward more connected vehicles with higher levels of autonomy. Collaboration through FASTR might be a good idea. (Image source: FASTR consortium)

It isn’t just the electronic control units (ECUs) deep within the vehicle itself that can be dangerous if hacked. Remotely cranking the entertainment unit may seem like harmless fun for tricksters, but it can kill if the driver is distracted or surprised at the wrong time.

For sure, black‑hat‑turned‑white‑hat operators are now being gainfully employed to ensure security, and the vulnerabilities are being addressed. User access is gated by biometrics, dual‑authentication methods and even the old passwords. Communication gateways can be used to provide domain isolation, as well as encrypted data, while processors and software are becoming more tamper‑proof.

Still, a cohesive approach across the whole industry that addresses the following has not been forthcoming:

  • Trust in data confidentiality: Vehicle data must not be divulged without the permission of the operator.
  • Trust in data and system integrity: Vehicle and operator data must not be compromised or altered.
  • Trust in data and system availability: Vehicle and operator data must be available to the systems and services that rely on them.

The FASTR consortium is gathering together OEMs, transportation network companies, supply‑chain providers (Tier 1s and 2s), autonomous vehicle specialists, integrated circuit (IC) suppliers, specialists in automotive security, academics and researchers. As a collaborative effort, it hopes to address security from top to bottom, including:

  • Defense in depth: Threat‑modeling, vulnerability assessment, architecture.
  • Hardware security features: Multi‑layered defense across all hardware layers and environments.
  • Vehicle security design lifecycle: Predictable processes through production and manufacturing.
  • Threat intelligence: On‑going assessment and over‑the‑air updates.

Security in a vacuum is easy, but security in the real world across a vast ecosystem takes collaboration at an unprecedented level. While we don’t suggest cloaking vehicles in aluminum foil (yet), awareness of the issues and working with a knowledgeable partner or two are good starting points.

Patrick Mannion
Technology Analyst and Writer