CEVA Inc., licensor of signal processing IP forconnected devices, and Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) have introduced Dragonfly NB1, a comprehensive cost- and power-optimized NB-IoT solution aimed at streamlining the development of LTE IoT devices.
Dragonfly NB1 leverages CEVA’s heritage of low-power DSPs and modem design and ASTRI’s experience in RF and IC Design technologies. Together, the companies have collaborated to produce a complete machine-to-machine (M2M) endpoint solution that offers best-in-class performance and power consumption, that is easily integrated into a system on chip (SoC).
GMV Add-On for GNSS. CEVA and ASTRI have teamed up with GMV, a navigation system and solutions company, to offer an integrated GNSS solution for smart devices with location tracking of logistics, assets, wearables and more. The GNSS IP is available as an add-on software that runs on the CEVA-X1 together with NB-IoT and leverages ASTRI’s GNSS RF IP that is embedded into the solution.
GMV’s software IP supports all four GNSS constellations: GPS, BeiDou, GLONASS and Galileo. The flexibility enabled by running the GNSS constellations fully in software on Dragonfly NB1 allows seamless switching between constellations when required or to run multiple constellations concurrently in order to improve resolution further and offer a truly global asset tracking solution.
“Dragonfly NB1 with its multi-mode RF and dedicated IoT processor is a perfect match with GMV’s software GNSS product,” said Miguel Manuel Romay Merino, executive director of GNSS at GMV. “It provides full flexibility in using multiple constellations, either separately or concurrently to serve the various requirements specific to asset trackers, wearables and other IoT endpoint devices.”
Dragonfly NB1 not only reduces the time taken to get NB-IoT products certified, but also provides low-power wide-area (LPWA) SoC designers with a flexible, software-upgradeable platform with key benefits in terms of die size and power consumption:
- The Dragonfly NB1 solution is enabled by a single CEVA-X1 IoT processor, capable of running the complete PHY and protocol stack software for NB-IoT in addition to other associated workloads such as GNSS and sensing. It eliminates the need for additional processors and hardware accelerators in the SoC and allows in-the-field upgrades to Release 14 eNB-IoT and other future releases.
- The CEVA-X1 IoT processor architecture includes specialized NB-IoT instructions and mechanisms to speed up PHY, MAC and encryption execution, further reducing clock speed and power consumption. It can also support other LPWA standards and workloads such as Cat-M1, LoRa, SigFox and voice.
- The Dragonfly NB1 solution incorporates highly power-efficient multi-standard RF with embedded PA, LNA, DC-DC and DCXO technology for NB-IoT and GNSS (GPS and BeiDou), shortening development time and reducing the overall module bill of materials.
Memory is a critical consideration for NB-IoT, as it directly influences the cost, silicon area and overall form factor of the module. Dragonfly NB1 is specifically designed to operate with embedded flash by incorporating an optimized low latency memory subsystem with a dedicated cache controller. The solution also includes a specialized security unit for a fully-trusted system.
“In the coming years, NB-IoT will become the dominant technology for low power wide area connectivity. For most companies, understanding how to develop this technology is a daunting task,” said Michael Boukaya, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business Unit at CEVA. “To overcome this, we have worked relentlessly with ASTRI to develop a complete solution from the ground up, that removes the design burden and allows SoC designers to add NB-IoT connectivity to their product designs. We’re extremely excited to announce this solution and demonstrate our leadership in IP for NB-IoT.”
“We’re pleased to partner with CEVA to address the cellular IoT market opportunity,” said Frank Tong, CEO at ASTRI. “Our joint development efforts have resulted in a highly-integrated modem solution with integrated RF that delivers outstanding performance and is power-optimized for the most rigorous NB-IoT use cases. We look forward to continuing our collaboration as we help our mutual customers get to market.”
Reference silicon of the complete modem design — including embedded CMOS RF transceiver, advanced digital front-end, physical layer software and third-party protocol stack (MAC, RLC, PDCP, RRC and NAS) — will be available this June.