ZiFiSense Completes Development of the Next-Generation ZETA Communication Standard

Socionext, a global provider of SoC-based solutions, has partnered with ZiFiSense and Techsor and developed a next-generation ZETA communication standard that incorporates the "Advanced M-FSK modulation" method.

ZiFiSense is the founder of the LPWA standard ZETA, and Techsor is the representative company of the ZETA Alliance in Japan. The three companies have finalized specifications of the new standard and will conduct demonstration tests aiming for practical uses and its commercialization. Socionext plans to prototype a communication SoC that is compatible with the new standard by March 2022 with mass production scheduled to begin by the end of 2022.

LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) is a wireless communication technology standard suitable for IoT applications. ZETA features bi-directional communication and communication hopping through relays, providing a distinct advantage over other LPWA standards for use in buildings, as well as agricultural and fishing areas where radio waves are difficult to reach.

The newly developed ZETA communication standard is compatible with the new "Advanced M-FSK modulation" and achieves a transfer rate 20 times or more with a sensitivity improvement of 10 dB or more compared with conventional ZETA that uses 2FSK modulation. The new ZETA version enables a communication distance of 3 ~ 5 km from an object moving at 60 km per hour. Socionext's unique RF, digital modulation and demodulation technology provides special encoding processing such as error correction and multi-level modulation with low power consumption.

The "Advanced M-FSK modulation" method changes from 2FSK to multi-level modulation, such as 64 FSK, and improves the communication speed. The effect of increased data volume due to error correction and repetition is reduced by faster transmission speed obtained by multi-level modulation, and the sensitivity can be improved even though the effective transmission speed is the same as the conventional method. This standard is backward compatible and can communicate with existing ZETA equipment.

Ushering in a New Era with Advanced M-FSK Modulation

Existing LPWA solutions have both advantages and disadvantages in terms of speed, sensitivity, and tolerance to mobility, and are compounded with various standards, thus making it difficult to select the best solution. With the addition of a new option that incorporates the Advanced M-FSK modulation to the ZETA standard, new solutions that combine ZETA standards according to the application will become available.

ZETA LPWA networks with optimal characteristics can be built by adjusting the parameters for communication speed, sensitivity, and mobility tolerance according to the application. Such flexibility makes it possible to apply ZETA to integrate network systems that require a combination of multiple communication methods based on the application types and to simplify and expedite network construction.

Commercialization of the new ZETA standard with these features will further expand the possibilities of LPWA applications, including smart agriculture, smart buildings, and smart logistics.

Socionext plans to prototype a communication SoC compatible with the new standard by March 2022. The three companies will conduct demonstration tests aiming for practical use and commercialization of the new standard and compatible products. Mass production of the communication SoC is scheduled to begin by the end of 2022.

In developing the next-generation Advanced M-FSK modulation for ZETA, Socionext will take full advantage of their cutting-edge SoC design technologies and high-performance RF and digital modulation/demodulation technologies. They will deliver an SoC with new added value.

After the formulation of the new standard ZiFiSense will continue to develop SoC samples and conduct demonstration tests. ZETA has been providing values to LPWA in protocol technology. ZiFiSense will lead other LPWA technologies at the SoC level.

By developing next-generation ZETA RF technologies and implementing them to an SoC, Techsor can further enhance their competitiveness and accelerate the global expansion of the ZETA standard. Their contribution will realize a super-smart society through collaboration among ZETA alliance companies.

Click here to learn more about ZETA Technology.