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Sigfox announces changes improving IoT applications

First major announcement is that Sigfox will launch a private network (PAN) that will allow IoT customers to choose private and global services according to their needs. The service will be launched for the first time in France in the first quarter of 2020, but Sigfox will be implemented in over 65 countries.

The operator’s wide area network (WAN) will be completed next year in cooperation with Eutelsat. Sigfox provides coverage worldwide using the nano-satellite constellation launched by Eutelsat.

The Sigfox PAN offer will benefit from the existing Sigfox WAN ecosystem. Thanks to the potential to use all components on the market and the use of very low transmit power to support facilities without the need for batteries, the Sigfox PAN offer offers enormous potential,

Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and co-founder of Sigfox.

According to Sigfox, by the end of 2019, there will be more than 15 million registered facilities and over 1,500 customers using this solution in various industries around the world. Sigfox says that PAN customers can expect the same as WAN customers in terms of support and quality. PAN clients can choose to subscribe to additional „WAN Extension” services if needed if the device needs to communicate outside the local network.

Sigfox improving the accuracy of Atlas geolocation services

Internet of Things operators have now launched Atlas Native Complimentary. It is made available free of charge in exchange for the rights to process data regarding GPS data. These data are compared to the fingerprint of the Sigfox network using machine learning, which increases accuracy to 800 meters.

To further increase the accuracy of its geolocation services, Sigfox said it has completed the global implementation of Atlas WiFi in collaboration with HERE Technologies’ mapping experts.

Sigfox uses the global WiFi access point database here. Access points are checked by the Sigfox WiFi tracking module and more closely track the location of external and internal resources with less battery consumption than using GPS.

We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Amadeus and share our combined expertise to create real digital transformation of the travel sector. Our strategic alliance named PinPoint will not only help to improve the travel experience, but this will also change completely the game for an industry looking for decades for THE technology able to save costs while improving efficiency and quality of services

Raouti Chehih, Chief Adoption Officer at Sigfox

The first services from the strategic alliance are expected to hit the market in 2020.

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Sigfox wireless technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32
Realtek RTL8720DN Dual-Band WiFi & BT 5.0 vs ESP32

IoT market ofers wide range of small and efficient modules for Home & Industrial Internet of Things applications, equipped with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, such as Espressif’s ESP32 or older ESP8266 modules. Additional Bluetooth 4.2/5.0 is often found on those. Dual-band Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is hard to find on low-budget IoT modules. Here comes Realtek RTL8720DN.

Realtek RTL2720DN module, as a part of AmebaD family, comes with ARM Cortex-M4/M0 wireless MCU with support of 802.11 b/g/n Dual-Band Wi-Fi 2.4GHz / 5GHz and extra Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity.

Realtek RTL8720DN Dual-Band WiFi & Bluetooth 5.0 module

Realtek RTL8720DN specifications:

  • Wireless SoC – Realtek RTK8720DN MCU with KM4 Arm Cortex-M4 core @ 200 MHz and KM0 Arm Cortex-M0 core @ 20 MHz
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi
      • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi 4
      • Frequency Range – 2.412-2.484GHz & 5.180-5.825GHz
      • Data Rates
        • 802.11a: 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps
        • 802.11b: 1,2,5.5,11Mbps
        • 802.11g: 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps
        • 802.11n: MCS0–MCS7 @ HT20/HT40 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
      • AP, Station, AP/Client supported
    • Bluetooth
      • Bluetooth 5.0 LE
      • Receiver Sensitivity: -92 dBm
      • Transmit Power: 7 dBm
    • Antenna – IPEX connector or PCB Antenna
  • I/O – 16x castellated holes with GPIO, 2x UART (AT commands + serial), ADC, I2C, SPI, 4x PWM, 3.3V, GND
  • Power Supply – 3.3±5% V
  • Dimensions – 24 x 16 x 3 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -20°C to 85°C; storage: -40°C to 125°C
  • Relative Humidity – 10%~90% (non-condensing)
  • Certifications – FCC, CE, SRRC, RoHS

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/01/17/realtek-rtl8720dn-dual-band-wifi-bluetooth-5-0-iot-module/

Bluetooth 5.0 update for ESP32

The Espressif’s flagship ESP32 chip recently passed the SIG Bluetooth LE 5.0 certification. This confirms that the version of the protocol supported by the ESP32 microcontroller has been upgraded from Bluetooth LE 4.2 to Bluetooth LE 5.0, which is more stable and compatible.

The implementation and development of the Bluetooth LE (BLE) application requires not only a system that supports this function, but also an attached Bluetooth LE protocol stack consisting of a driver and a host.

Thanks to Bluetooth LE 5.0 certification, ESP32 SoC not only updates the system as a whole, but also adds new features that improve the latest software after passing more stringent tests than previous certification.

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32
Bluetooth LE 5.0/5.1 comming soon to ESP32-based controller

The Espressif’s flagship ESP32 chip recently passed the SIG Bluetooth LE 5.0 certification. This confirms that the version of the protocol supported by the ESP32 microcontroller has been upgraded from Bluetooth LE 4.2 to Bluetooth LE 5.0, which is more stable and compatible.

The implementation and development of the Bluetooth LE (BLE) application requires not only a system that supports this function, but also an attached Bluetooth LE protocol stack consisting of a driver and a host.

Bluetooth 5.0 update for ESP32

Thanks to Bluetooth LE 5.0 certification, ESP32 SoC not only updates the system as a whole, but also adds new features that improve the latest software after passing more stringent tests than previous certification.

Due to hardware limitations, ESP32 does not support such functions of Bluetooth LE 5.0 as 2M PHY, LE Long Range, and ADV Extensions.

It is also worth mentioning that the combination of Bluetooth and Mesh networking is expected to become a key technology for the Internet of Things. A  Bluetooth® Mesh network enables a „many-to-many” relationship among potentially thousands of wireless devices, where data are transmitted not in a direct radio range but in wide physical areas. Espressif’s contribution in this field is the ESP-BLE-MESH, which got fully certified by Bluetooth SIG in September 2019.

Several Bluetooth-operated products on the market, such as wearable devices, smart speakers, cleaning robots, smart lights/sockets, etc., provide evidence that Bluetooth 5.0 and the Bluetooth Mesh networking technology are mature enough to drive the development of interconnected IoT devices. To this end, Espressif’s chips and ESP-BLE-MESH, in particular, are designed to help customers develop easily secure and cost-effective products for smart homes, smart buildings, healthcare, new automobiles and other smart industries.

Source: https://www.espressif.com/en/news/BLE_5.0_Certification

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32

Moduino based on ESP32 can now be equipped with TECHBASE’s original mBus10/60/400 converter module. The converter operates as a M-Bus Master and allows user to connect up to 400 standard M-Bus receivers (Slaves) through M-Bus Master output or fewer devices at a higher M-Bus load over long distances. Moduino, as a fully capable Industrial IoT device, can now be used with every device equipped with M-Bus interface, e.g. heat meters, electricity meters, gas meters, executive modules, recorders, measuring instruments.

Wireless M-Bus support

TECHBASE has added high performance module for wireless M-Bus connectivity and multi-hop networking into Moduino series expansion options. The module is configured as an embedded micro system or simple data modem for low power applications in the metering specifically allocated band of 169 MHz or in the ISM band of 868 MHz. The device is can be configured for interoperability in a WMBus network for Industrial IoT applications.

The RF implementation guarantees best-in-class performance in terms of covered area and power consumption. The output power can be increased up to +30 dBm on the 169 MHz band (+27 dBm on optimized version for highest power efficiency) and up to +15 dBm on the 868 MHz band. The extremely reduced power consumption gives access to long lasting battery life requirement (up to 2 μA in sleep mode for wireless M-Bus module with an RTC clock running).

The Moduino devices  can be provided with a W-MBus stack specifically developed by Embit for the platform that allows to integrate the module in the desired system without effort and simplify the interaction in WMBus networks.

 

The newest addition to TECHBASE’s Industrial IoT Ecosystem is a lightweight, but powerful energy-efficient and fully capable automation controller series, called Moduino – an industrial computer for remote data control and management, equipped with latest ESP32 compute module, wide range of serial, digital and analog inputs/outputs and wireless communication interfaces. This cost effective solution is perfect for end-point devices.

Moduino is powered by ultra-low power Dual-Core Tensilica LX6 240 MHz processor with 512KB RAM (up to 4MB) and 4MB SPI flash memory on-board. Integrated Wi-Fi/BLE modem and extra wireline/wireless interfaces make the Moduino micro-computer a versatile addition to Industrial IoT solutions offered by TECHBASE company. For more complex installations and for those, who need high integration capabilities, the Moduino devices can easily work remotely with existing ModBerry gateway for data accumulation and monitoring, to perform specific actions before sending the data to cloud services. The Moduino-ModBerry installation can work as standalone Ecosystem (for example via MQTT), providing fog-computing to any installation.

Wireless solution

Both Moduino X1 & X2 offer built-in Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.2 and support for LoRa, Sigfox, LTE cat. M1, NarrowBand-IoT (LTE cat. NB1) modems. Currently the support of ZigBee modems is under development. Moduino is equipped with standard U.FL (IPEX) external antenna connectors, allowing the device to reach up to 1km range (for Wi-Fi modem) and expanding the range for other wireless interfaces.

Battery and AC powered

Two multi-sized units X1 and X2 represent diversified approach to IIoT installations for remote data access & management. The main difference between Moduino X1 and it’s larger brother Moduino X2, apart from size, is a battery power support for X1 due to lower energy demand, making it independent from local power grid – perfect for remote installations and scattered objects monitoring. Both solutions can be powered by regular power supply with UPS support (LiPo & Supercapacitor batteries), offer wide range of serial, digital and analog inputs/outputs assisted with support of wireless communication interfaces.

Operating systems & software

Use of ESP32-WROVER compute module adds the support for real-time operating systems (compared to most Raspberry Pi based Linux and Windows OS versions), and openness of the Espressif’s platform to Moduino industrial automation controller. Thanks to enormous community of ESP32 and Arduino users and developers, the Moduino can now adapt existing software solutions, tools and programming environments,  for example:

  • ESP-IDF (Espressif IoT Development Framework)
  • Zephyr Project (scalable RTOS)
  • Arduino (C++)
  • MicroPython
  • Mongoose OS
  • etc.

End-point sensors

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.