Silicon Based LTE NB-IOT Transceiver for IoT Applications

Palma Ceia SemiDesign (PCS), a provider of next-generation wireless connectivity solutions, has unveiled a silicon-based LTE NB-IOT transceiver for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications. The transceiver performance conforms to the LTE NB-IOT specification, part of Release 13 from 3GPP. Release 13 defines two cellular standards, LTE NB1 (Narrowband) and LTE M (eMTC-enhanced Machine Type Communications), for Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) applications that connect large numbers of sensor-type devices. (An enhancement for Release 14 providing a dual-band capability will be available shortly.) Verizon, ATT, and China Telecom, among others, have announced support for some of these new capabilities for IoT.

This transceiver, verified for TSMC's 40LP process node, is a standard CMOS implementation designed for SoC integration and chip production. It includes data converters on board for a completely digital interface.

Features of the PCS integrated transceiver include:

  • Direct conversion receiver with a noise figure of less than 2.5 dB
  • Highly linear architecture offering operating margin exceeding 3GPP linearity requirements
  • Self-contained calibration and correction schemes for better performance and high yield
  • Fully automated DC offset correction and I/Q calibration scheme
  • Total RX current of 15 mA and TX current of 22 mA at max power
  • Targeted 200 kHz implementation offers lower power versus LTE-M1 at 1.4 MHz

LTE NB-IOT (LTE-NB1) is a cellular 3GPP standard that utilizes licensed bands to provide low-power connectivity compared to the conventional cellular connections for smartphones. Setting up networks of IoT devices benefits from cellular capacity handling, allowing the creation of large networks of devices, or sensors, that support the concept of the Internet of Things. The performance (throughput/data handling) is intended to be competitive with proprietary LPWA alternatives but uses the existing infrastructure of cellular services providers.

Palma Ceia is moving along a path to produce both a transceiver chip with baseband and a module that can be used as the wireless communication mechanism to interface IoT and M2M products. Along with the possibility of integrating this IP into a SoC, Palma Ceia will be able to offer customers all the necessary options to implement IOT devices in the many and varied application verticals that make up this market.

The current offering is packaged as hard IP (GDS) complete with a User/Integration Guide. A test board under development and can be linked to an FPGA for systems testing and validation. Click here to learn more.