3GPP Compliant NB-IoT Transceiver IP for IoT and M2M Applications

Wireless connectivity solutions provider, Palma Ceia SemiDesign (PCS), has released a transceiver IP supporting 3GPP LTE NB-IoT Release 14. The transceiver IP is targeted for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications. Its performance conforms to the LTE NB-IoT specification, part of Release 14 from 3GPP for Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) applications that connect large numbers of sensor-type devices.

The new PCS transceiver supports both high and low bands compliant with the 3GPP Rel. 14 specification. Mobile network operators worldwide, including Verizon, AT&T and China Telecom have announced support for some of these new IoT capabilities. NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) is a low power wide area network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed by 3GPP to enable a wide range of cellular devices and services.

Features of the PCS transceiver include:

  • Meeting the performance requirements of 3GPP LTE Advanced Release 14 for NB-IoT
  • Support for Low Band (LB), from 699MHz to 960MHz: bands 5, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28
  • Support for High Band (HB), from 1695MHz to 2200MHz: bands 1, 2, 3, 66, 70

Additional highlights include:

  • Direct conversion receiver with a noise figure of less than 2.5 dB and a sensitivity of -116 dBm
  • 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
  • Full digital interface to baseband
  • Total RX current of 15mA and TX current of 22mA at max power
  • Targeted 200kHz implementation offers lower power versus LTE-M1 at 1.4MHz

LTE NB-IoT 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 that can be used as the wireless communication mechanism to interface IoT and M2M products. Along with the possibility of integrating this IP into an SoC, the company 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 radio drivers and User/Integration Guide. A test board under development and can be linked to an FPGA for systems testing and validation.