Increasing Internet-of-Things connectivity with Narrow-Band LTE

October 12, 2015

Nokia, Ericsson and Intel have recently announced their combined support for a new standard called Narrow-Band Long-Term Evolution (NB-LTE), which they see as an ideal connectivity solution for the growing cellular Internet-of-Things market.

NB-LTE is an improved variant of existing 4th Generation LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile technology which has been optimised for low-power machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things applications.

This new standard is NB-LTE is well suited for IoT applications – thanks to being a narrow-band cellular communications standard for applications that aren’t very data intensive – which offers low implementation cost, ease of use and good power.

NB-LTE networks operate with narrow-band 200kHz channels, meaning that existing spectrum allocations such as 2G can’t simply be re-allocated to support the new technology. However, NB-LTE can be used in shared spectrum alongside existing LTE networks.

This narrow-band approach is particularly valuable today as more and more stakeholders are using the RF spectrum, with more spectrum congestion and less unallocated space.

Nokia, Ericsson and Intel plan to work closely together to develop and bring to market infrastructure and technology that supports the uptake of the NB-LTE standard, as well as products that make use of it. These companies aim to support the building of an ecosystem around NB-LTE that accelerates its adoption, including its use in in IoT applications.

They believe that it makes sense to take advantage of the existing widespread deployment of cellular networks to support and drive IoT adoption … that the development of the NB-LTE standard helps achieve this at minimal cost through the re-use of existing infrastructure where appropriate, and that this development will bring benefits to consumers such as enhanced connectivity of devices at a lower cost.

Intel intends to support commercial rollout of the technology, providing a roadmap for their NB-LTE chipsets and product upgrades beginning in 2016 that will enable NB-LTE connectivity combined with slim form factors.

These products will add to Intel’s growing NB-LTE portfolio. Nokia and Ericsson will provide the technology needed for infrastructure upgrades, supporting an extension of existing LTE base stations and networks to NB-LTE technology.

Narrow-band LTE is intended to make it easier for mobile operators to support the huge numbers of small devices that IoT applications are expected to bring into existing 4G LTE networks, without network congestion.

Existing 4G networks are considered to be crucial to IoT development because they’ll be around for decades – hence the Long-Term Evolution name. Using this infrastructure provides a kind of future-proofing for IoT devices, which may easily have a longer useful lifespan than a smartphone.

On the other hand, existing, 2G and 3G networks may soon be decommissioned. Taking advantage of the existing global footprint of LTE cellular infrastructure ensures a global foundation for a vast range of new cellular IoT applications for consumer and industry users, and ensures that this will be a stable foundation.

But NB-LTE doesn’t have industry-wide support, and other companies such as Huawei are putting their weight behind the existing Narrowband Cellular IoT, or NB-CIoT, standard. NB-CIoT has already gained operator support from major players such as Vodafone and China Unicom.

However, the NB-LTE standard, unlike NB-CIoT, does not require any overlay network for compatibility with existing LTE networks and chipsets. This means that NB-LTE can be more easily deployed across existing LTE networks, compared to the competing NB-CIoT standard, and this is an important advantage.

The key difference is that the NB-LTE standard makes it much easier to re-use existing LTE infrastructure – both in terms of the network infrastructure and the chipsets in end-user devices. This leads to clear advantages for the NB-LTE standard in terms of cost and deployment time.

At a recent meeting, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Radio Access Network (RAN) group has looked at these different proposals and decided on a common way forward, which is important since narrowband LTE specifications are likely to play a crucial role in the development of the cellular IoT sector.

What they have agreed on is a standard called Narrowband-IoT or NB-IoT. This is a new standard that is not exactly the same as either the NB-LTE proposal or the NB-CIoT proposal, but something which seems to include the benefits of both approaches, which all stakeholders can agree on as a common standard for future IoT-friendly LTE development.

This new standard reconciles the differences between the narrowband standards being promoted by different technology vendors, and provides for low device cost, low power consumption, and an optimised network architecture with IoT applications in mind that provides improved indoor coverage, low delay sensitivity and support for a massive number of low-throughput IoT devices on the network.

Overall the Narrow-Band Long-Term Evolution standard offers a glimpse into the future of M2M devices and the Internet of Things. However if you have a wireless M2M product idea or revision requirement – we can work together to meet your needs.

Here at the LX Group we have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Deploy Internet-of-Things devices behind firewalls with Yaler

October 7, 2015

Yaler is a simple, open and scalable relay service that enables secure outside access to Internet-connected embedded systems and IoT devices that are behind a firewall or router.

Firewalls and Network Address Translators (NATs) can cause connectivity issues when deploying Internet-connected embedded systems and IoT products in the real world, especially in corporate environments.

For example, say you want to access something like an Internet-connected temperature sensor connected to your private LAN from anywhere in the outside world. Traditionally, this would require opening and forwarding ports at the router, which means extra hassle as well as extra security vulnerabilities, and this needs to be repeated for each additional IoT device you add to the network. Yaler aims to solve this problem in a simple and easy-to-use manner while also maintaining security.

One common solution is to use port forwarding and to assign an external IP address for each device at the router level. However, this requires the end users of these devices to know how to configure port forwarding and to have administrative access to the network infrastructure, which isn’t always possible.

Yaler aims to solve this problem, making it easy to set up secure Web and SSH access to embedded devices and IoT systems from outside the local network, regardless of whether they’re behind a firewall, a NAT or a mobile network router, and without requiring configuration of the network infrastructure. Yaler provides this in the form of an easy-to-use cloud-based connectivity service.

Furthermore, Yaler provides an infrastructure and service that allows your IoT devices to be accessed from the outside Internet with a simple public URL. This is accomplished by using a reverse HTTP protocol, where a service on the Internet acts as a public relay for these devices on the private network behind firewalls or NATs.

You can use almost any network-connected hardware that provides a TCP socket, with guides and tutorials provided by Yaler that make it easy to get started with popular platforms including the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel Edison and BeagleBone. A single Yaler relay server instance can host many devices, such as Arduinos, SheevaPlug style devices, Android phones, or any other connected device with TCP socket connectivity.

Furthermore, remote access to local gateways enables the configuration and control of other devices on the network, even if these are embedded IoT devices that use alternative network stacks like Bluetooth Low Energy or 802.15.4/6LoWPAN. If they can be reached via their gateway from the TCP/IP network infrastructure, then Yaler can be configured to talk to these devices.

Libraries and examples are available for Yaler using the Arduino Ethernet shield, the Arduino Yún, Arduino with the Texas Instruments CC3000, and many other popular low-cost IoT development platforms. Yaler also makes it easy to implement a custom binding for any other device, based on the software examples they provide using C, C#, Java or Python.

The process to get started is simple – after the Yaler library, or YalerTunnel command-line tool, has been installed on the device – end users can just plug in their device and access it from outside the local network via the Yaler relay at a known, stable URL.

Once your devices are accessible and addressable from the Web using the Yaler relay, Yaler makes it fairly easy and straightforward to set up integration with other existing Web applications or third-party services that you use.

Yaler enables secure tunnelling of most TCP-based legacy and proprietary protocols, so for example you can use VNC to monitor a machine, or collect data stored in a local database, without compromising on security. The Yaler service supports SSL/TLS encryption, where an embedded device publishes over a secure connection to the Yaler relay, and a client can then access the data over HTTPS.

Remote access is simplified thanks to the YalerTunnel daemon, enabling remote SSH access to embedded Linux devices via the Yaler relay without the need for port forwarding. This enables you to securely access local embedded computers for administration, monitoring and remote operation.

You can conveniently debug, monitor, reboot or update a device such as a Raspberry Pi, Arduino Yún or any other Linux platform remotely, using standard tools at the command line.

Yaler is based around open-source technology, and it is free to use with a single HTTP relay domain associated with your Yaler account. All Yaler libraries and daemons are freely provided under the Simplified BSD open source license and dual-licensing is possible, to help integrate Yaler into your commercial needs.

This suits hobbyist users, and also makes it easy for enterprise users to get started evaluating the Yaler platform to see how it fits into their IoT needs. You can also move up to paid plans for enterprise users with demanding needs, providing features like a larger number of different domains, HTTPS support, premium support and high amounts of data transfer.

With tools such as Yaler – or many others from around the world – getting your Internet-of-Things product ideas to reality is much simpler than you can imagine. Here at the LX Group we have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Introducing the Industrial Internet Consortium

September 25, 2015

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is an international non-profit organisation formed to accelerate cooperation around the development and widespread adoption of what they dub the “Industrial Internet”.

Founded in 2014 with AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Intel and IBM as the initial members, the IIC coordinates the development and promotion of the Industrial Internet concept, bringing together stakeholders in industry, government and academia in an open-membership organisation.

The “Industrial Internet” refers to the use of machine-to-machine communications and Internet-of-Things technologies in industrial applications, using interconnected machines and devices along with intelligent analytics to improve the performance and efficiency of industries – this focus on industrial applications is distinct from consumer-focused IoT technologies and services, which the IIC is not involved with.

For example, intelligent machines and devices in industrial processes can govern themselves, taking corrective action to avoid unscheduled breakdowns of machinery. Predictive analytics can be used to manage spare parts and prepare for maintenance and equipment failure in advance, minimising downtime.

Data from smart energy systems can be collected and leveraged to increase efficiency and decrease costs, and real-time data from connected systems can be used to increase efficiency in logistics and transport. These concepts are just a few examples of the benefits of Industrial Internet systems which the IIC aims to promote and to help standardise, delivering benefits across many sectors such as energy, manufacturing and transport.

The Industrial Internet Consortium itself is not a standards organisation, however it strongly advocates for open standards in order to ease the wide deployment of Industrial Internet technologies.

The IIC maintains active relationships with standards bodies, technology consortia and other organisations involved in the Industrial Internet, and the IIC’s Working Groups help identify the requirements for open interoperability standards, evaluate existing standards, and relate standards to their desired criteria for internet and industrial systems.

With a belief that organisations need to be able to more easily connect and optimise their assets and operations to drive agility in industry, the IIC believes that this need increases in importance as information and communications technology becomes more ubiquitous across all industrial sectors.

With an aim to bring together the organisations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the Industrial Internet by identifying, assembling and promoting best practices – the group members hope to develop technologies and innovations that are safe, secure and interoperable as well as being based on open standards.

Furthermore, the consortium aims to identify desirable requirements for open interoperability standards and to define common architectures to connect smart devices, machines, people and processes, helping to accelerate uptake of Industrial Internet and big data solutions in industry, delivering increased efficiency and business value.

Rather than being a standards development organisation, the consortium was formed to bring together industry players – multinational industrial corporations along with academia and government – to accelerate the development, adoption and widespread use of Industrial Internet technologies, in part by influencing and cooperating with the development of standards by the standards-building organisations.

Specifically, the goals of the IIC are to drive innovation through the creation of new industry use-cases and test beds for real-world applications; to define and develop the reference architectures and frameworks necessary for interoperability; to influence the global standards development process for internet and industrial systems; to facilitate open forums to share and exchange real-world ideas, practices, lessons and insights; and to build confidence around new and innovative approaches to security.

By establishing a formal liaison with the Industrial Internet Consortium, companies and organisations can engage directly with their Working Groups and gain faster access to the development of standards and technologies helping to advance the Industrial Internet across a range of different industries and applications.

The consortium maintains a number of core Working Groups, such as the Technology Working Group, the Security Working Group and the Use Cases Task Group. The Use Cases Task Group identifies the architectural requirements and gaps that are yet to be filled in Industrial Internet applications and user scenarios.

The IIC’s Security Working Group was created to develop a common security framework and a rigorous methodology to assess security in industrial internet systems. This common security framework aims to identify and describe the consequences in security terms of connecting different security domains, such as industrial controls, analytics and cloud.

This focus on security with one of the core Working Groups reflects the high priority the consortium places on collaboratively building a safe, reliable and secure Industrial Internet.

The IIC Technology Working Group expects to ratify an Industrial Internet reference architecture this year, which will define functional areas and the technologies and standards for them, from sensors to data analytics and business applications, with a focus on open architecture. This will be published as a working technical paper, and will continue to be updated as it is applied and explored by consortium members.

IIC membership is open to all stakeholders interested in advancing the adoption of the Industrial Internet, including small and large technology innovators, vertical market leaders, researchers, universities and government organisations. You can learn more about the IIC through their website –

With experience in the entire process of connected product development for the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet, the LX Group is ideally placed to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Low-power wireless home automation with the new NXP JN5169 series

September 15, 2015

The new JN5169 series of wireless microcontrollers from NXP is a range of low-power, high-performance RF microcontroller devices aimed at home automation and remote control, smart energy management, smart lighting and similar Internet-of-Things applications, particularly in consumer products as well as industrial environments.

These system-on-chip devices incorporate an enhanced 32-bit RISC processor and a comprehensive set of analog and digital peripherals along with an IEEE 802.15.4-compliant 2.4 GHz radio transceiver supporting the JenNet-IP, RF4CE and ZigBee Pro wireless networking standards. The 802.15.4/ZigBee network stack includes support for the ZigBee Light Link, ZigBee Smart Energy and ZigBee Home Automation profiles.

The JN5169 platform is Thread and ZigBee 3.0 ready, and it features a new toolchain for software development that offers extensive debugging capabilities while also allowing a reduction of up to 15% in compiled code size.

This family of devices have the ability to connect with up to 250 other nodes in a wireless mesh network, allowing them to be used in a variety of different mesh network and Internet-of-Things applications, from home automation and consumer electronics through to large-scale industrial applications.

There’s three chips in the new family, with different memory configurations to suit a range of applications – such as up to 512 kB of embedded Flash memory, up to 32 kB of RAM and 4 kB of on-board EEPROM. With up to 512 kB of flash on board, there is enough memory available to enable wireless over-the-air firmware updates.

This makes it easy to keep devices up-to-date with new features and security updates without the cost of additional external flash and without the need to replace or remove hardware devices in the field as new software updates are released.

The JN5169 is equipped with hardware peripherals to support a wide range of applications, including an I2C interface, an SPI port which can operate as either master or slave, up to 8 ADC channels with a built-in battery voltage monitor, a temperature sensor and support for either a 100-switch keyboard matrix or a 20-key capacitive touch pad.

The device also incorporates up to 20 digital I/O pins, a 128-bit AES security processor and integrated support for an infrared remote control transmitter, allowing remote control of devices such as air conditioners that use an infrared remote control.

Power use is incredibly low – the JN5169 series offers a very low receive current of just 14 milliamps, or as low as 0.6 micro amps in sleep mode – helping to keep standby power consumption low in household products such as smart lighting and to enable extended operation from small batteries in portable, battery-powered applications.

Furthermore, with a programmable clock speed capability – the JN5169 series can minimise power consumption in power-sensitive, battery-powered applications. Despite these strong energy efficiency features, an on-chip +10dBm power amplifier provides the JN5169 series with a transmission range that is double that of NXP’s existing RF home automation solutions, while drawing just 20 milliamps of current in transmit mode.

This is 40% lower than similar products currently on the market, according to NXP. Antenna diversity is also supported, maximising wireless performance and range while minimising energy use.

NXP is also offering a series of new reference designs for network-connected smart lighting solutions based around the JN5169, including white, tuneable white and RGBW colour-programmable Internet-of-Things lighting solutions.

These smart lighting reference designs are complemented by a range of other reference designs from NXP such as wireless switches, wall panel controls, smart plugs, IoT sensors and gateways, along with cloud services for controlling them that will be offered by NXP’s partners, making up a complete Internet-of-Things ecosystem.

Along with the use of the highly integrated JN5819 system-on-chip, these reference designs incorporate innovations such as the use of oscillator crystals rated for 85 degrees C rather than more expensive crystals specified for operation up to 125 degrees C.

Innovative hardware and software techniques incorporated in the JN5819 family allow the clock to be stable in high-temperature environments where these cheaper crystals are used. Design innovations such as these mean that NXP’s JN5169-based smart lighting reference designs have a reduction in total hardware cost of up to 25% compared to similar products on the market.

The JN5169 series also offers innovative solutions to the problem of setting up and commissioning IoT products in a user-friendly and secure way. These devices support near-field communications for device commissioning, making it easy and intuitive to provision new devices and set them up on the network with just a tap on an NFC-enabled smartphone or other device.

Using NFC connectivity for device commissioning is convenient and it also offers security benefits, allowing devices to be easily yet securely paired without broadcasting network details over the air.

This new JN5169 chipset from NXP will offer a new dimension in wireless home automation, and here at the LX Group we’re ready to bring your products to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

IoTivity – a new Open-Source framework and standards for the Internet of Things

September 7, 2015

The almost-exponential rise of Internet-of-Things platforms has led many observers and marketplace participants to consider if there are too many disparate or incompatible systems being released, and thus are starting to consider an open-source IoT platform as an option to allow for third-parties to integrate their own products into these new platforms.

Therefore the launch of IoTivity – a new open-source software framework and standards project is of great interest to the IoT community. IoTivity aims to enable seamless device-to-device interoperability to address the needs of the growing Internet of Things industry.

This means promoting and certifying open standards among IoT device manufacturers, allowing billions of IoT consumer products from a wide variety of vendors to be compatible and interoperable with each other.

After launching last year with promises of tackling the problem of device-to-device discovery and communication between consumer IoT products from different vendors, the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) has recently launched the initial version of their IoTivity standard and its open-source reference implementation. IoTivity is sponsored by the OIC and hosted by the Linux Foundation.

The project will be governed by an independent steering group that liaises with the OIC, whose project charter is to develop and maintain an open-source implementation that meets OIC’s specifications and passes their certification process – which everyone can work off as an open-source reference platform.

IoTivity aims to be a way for connected IoT products to share information on what they are and what they can do, enabling interoperability of devices from different manufacturers. For example, a smart IoT lamp that supports IoTivity may be able to tell an IoTivity-enabled TV that it is a lamp and it can turn on and off, and dim or change colours, in response to messages over the network.

The TV might therefore be able to use this information to automatically dim the lights when it is turned on. Devices can use this information to provide notifications or communicate information via “output” devices, to control other devices, or to use information collected from sensors and “input” devices.

IoTivity is intended to play a middleware role, somewhere in between the network or radio hardware in a device and the higher-level user applications that control a device. It’s designed to work smoothly and interconnect IoT products and devices in a way that “just works” for consumers – and without adding a lot of extra burden to software development for device manufacturers.

Consisting of both a standard that will be implemented in the firmware and software of IoT devices, and a testing and certification process that allows consumers to choose devices with confidence that their IoT products from different vendors can work together.

In the next few months the OIC aims to finalise and release a version 1.0 standard specification, and at the same time as this official release of the specification the IoTivity project will release a full open-source codebase which is a reference implementation of that specification (rather than the preview release previously available).

The founders of the OIC believe that an industry-standard specification, a reference software implementation, and a commitment to open-source are necessary to drive true interoperability across the growing IoT industry.

With this in mind, the IoTivity software framework is open-source under the Apache 2.0 license. The founders also believe that true innovation can happen most effectively when multiple parties come together to develop the source code in an open way, under an open-source governance process, which is why the Linux Foundation is involved.

Interested developers can get started learning about IoTivity today, by downloading and exploring the current IoTivity preview release. IoTivity is open to everyone, and OIC membership is not a requirement to participate in this open-source project. However, interested companies and developers working with IoTivity and interoperable IoT solutions are encouraged by the OIC to consider if membership in the consortium is right for them.

The IoTivity framework consists of four key components – including device and resource discovery, where IoTivity supports multiple discovery mechanisms for devices and resources both in proximity and remotely, and data transmission – where IoTivity supports interoperable information exchange and control between devices based on a messaging and streaming model.

IoTivity’s data management component supports the collection, storage and analytics of data from various resources across the IoT network, and IoTivity device management aims to provide a one-stop-shop that supports the configuration, provisioning and diagnostics of IoT devices on the network.

This allows a vast number of sensors and “things” to be easily configured, set up on the network and connected to each other, in a way that is easy for all users including home consumers.

The IoTivity framework APIs expose the framework to developers, and are available in several languages and for multiple operating systems. These APIs are based on a resource-based, RESTful architecture model, and API references are available for each release along with additional information on the IoTivity website and Wiki.

IoTivity aims to operate across all operating systems and network protocols, eventually, with current APIs, examples and support documentation available for Ubuntu Linux, the Arduino platform and the Linux-based Tizen operating system for consumer appliances.

Over the next few months, the IoTivity will offer great promise for an open-source Internet-of-Things – and success will be predicated on the amount of industry take-up. However IoTivity is only one of many platforms that you can harness for IoT product success.

To meet your IoT goals, the LX Group team can help you take your Internet-of-Things idea from the whiteboard to the white box. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Upgrade your Internet-of-Things product to LTE Wireless with Colibri

August 28, 2015

Not only here in Australia but in parts of the USA and other countries, cellular providers are closing down their 2G GSM network to reallocate spectrum to their faster UMTS 3G and LTE wireless networks.

This shutdown will have a great effect on existing cellular M2M applications as a large percentage were designed around inexpensive GPRS modules – or before UMTs was available. Soon all these devices will be rendered inoperable and will need to be redesigned or replaced with radio hardware that can access the newer cellular networks.

There are many chipsets and modules to choose from, and one new example is the Colibri LTE Platform from Sequans Communications – a chipset solution for mobile LTE (commonly marketed as 4G LTE) cellular connectivity, specifically aimed at Internet-of-Things and M2M applications.

Colibri LTE is a part of the Sequans Streamlite LTE family of chipset products for 4G connectivity in IoT applications, designed for use in devices such as embedded Internet-connected sensors requiring wireless cellular connectivity, tablets, mobile routers or other portable devices.

Their LTE chipset is designed to support Category 4 LTE user equipment, providing a downlink rate up to 150 Mbps and an uplink rate up to 50 Mbps, providing plenty of bandwidth for current and future applications.

The Colibri platform comprises dedicated ICs for the RF platform and the baseband processor, an integrated IoT applications processor in the baseband IC that runs Sequans’ carrier-proven LTE protocol stack, an IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) client, and a comprehensive software package for over-the-air device management and packet routing.

Colibri have designed their products with optimisations for IoT and M2M applications in mind – providing low power consumption and high performance at a relatively low cost. This enables an affordable connectivity for mass-market IoT and M2M products.

Furthermore, the high-level integration and highly efficient architecture provide a strong balance of features and performance while achieving very low price points for cost-sensitive M2M and IoT applications.

Colibri’s software suite is based on more than a decade of proven field experience. It is running in major 4G deployments around the world and is one of the most mature solutions in the global 4G ecosystem. It includes the entire LTE Release 10 software stack along with the drivers and host applications required for a complete 4G system.

There is much more than just data – as Colibri supports VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and Wi-Fi SoftAP as well as Active Interference Rejection (AIR) technology – which is an innovative and powerful interference mitigation algorithm implemented on all Sequans LTE platforms.

AIR has been tested and proven at both the system and link levels and has been shown to significantly improve user experience and increase network capacity, especially near the cell edge where signal is weak.

For designers of embedded devices in IoT and M2M applications, the Colibri EZ-Link LTE hardware modules offer complete, single-mode LTE solutions based on the Colibri chipset and platform, simplifying integration and shortening the time to market for the development of hardware devices and products with cellular connectivity.

These modules are ideal for adding LTE connectivity to embedded devices and the ever-expanding array of new types of IoT products now going wireless for the first time. EZLink LTE modules come pre-tested, pre-integrated and pre-certified for easy drop-in integration into your design, with IoT-friendly interfaces, LP-DDR SDRAM, embedded boot Flash and power management included.

These compact hardware modules, available in either the M.2 PC card form factor or an ultra-small surface-mountable LGA form factor, are based on the Colibri LTE chipset platform and include all the other elements necessary for a complete LTE modem system – allowing for a simplified, cost-effective, all-in-one solution for adding LTE connectivity to numerous types of IoT, M2M, consumer electronics and mobile computing devices.

These modules incorporate the Colibri LTE platform along with all the other elements required for a complete LTE modem system, including an LTE-optimised transceiver, a complete dual-band RF front-end for LTE bands 4 and 13, and key peripheral interfaces, all in a single compact package.

Voice and data are supported – including Voice over LTE, Wi-Fi SoftAP, and all major operating systems such as Windows, Android, ChromeOS, Linux and MacOS. Interfacing with hardware is easy thanks to support for a wide variety of hardware interfaces – including USB 2.0, HSIC, SDIO, SPI and high-speed UART.

According to Sequans, the availability of these powerful and compact yet low-cost chipset solutions for 4G LTE, already certified for use with Verizon Wireless in the United States, the world’s leading LTE network, will accelerate adoption of single-mode LTE across the whole spectrum of IoT and M2M applications.

Game-changing efficiencies built into the Colibri platform mean that the costs of embedded LTE modules are now at or below 3G costs for the first time, making the move from 3G to the high bandwidth of 4G/LTE connectivity very attractive in a range of embedded mobile, M2M and IoT applications where the appropriate Telco network infrastructure exists.

Colibri is just one of many UMTS and LTE wireless options available for your new or existing Internet of Things application, and here at the LX Group our team can help you move past the 2G shutdown and enable longevity for your products. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Multiplatform Internet-of-Things development with CloudPlugs

August 17, 2015

CloudPlugs is an end-to-end platform that provides cloud computing services for Internet-of-Things applications – with features including a trigger management engine, geolocation engine, database and storage engine and a billing engine.

Their new SmartPlug Apps cloud-based IDE allows the development of CloudPlugs IoT applications from the cloud, along with cloud-based automation that enables the remote deployment, configuration, update and management of devices.

IoT applications can be developed in JavaScript using the SmartPlug cloud based IDE, or with your favourite JavaScript development tool, anywhere, any time, on any browser. Whether you are a home user, an appliance manufacturer or a service provider, the CloudPlugs cloud service allows you to develop, deploy and manage as many as thousands of Internet-connected devices quickly without the need to develop and manage your own IT infrastructure to support them.

CloudPlugs offers the SmartPlug agent as the backbone of their IoT platform, which they claim is the most powerful and secure agent available for IoT devices. It is a secure, robust and lightweight yet powerful software agent with full lifecycle management capabilities for IoT gateways and other devices – enabling secure and efficient communications with the CloudPlugs IoT platform through their PlugNet protocol.

The platform supports local communications through multiple interfaces and protocols simultaneously, enabling devices with different physical interfaces and protocols to communicate. Devices and gateways powered by SmartPlug can easily exchange data with and control other devices, and scripts can be developed in the cloud and deployed to thousands of SmartPlugs with one click.

CloudPlugs offers maximum flexibility by delivering its end-to-end IoT connectivity platform as a subscription service as well as for in-house deployments. There is no limit on the number of prototype virtual devices that you can create and test in CloudPlugs, even with a free account.

The free account allows you to get started with free evaluation or hobbyist use of CloudPlugs, with up to 10 physical devices, up to 100Mb of storage and 100Mb of bandwidth per month. This is designed to allow individuals or small businesses to use the CloudPlugs platform to manage IoT devices as well as providing a free evaluation platform for larger users.

Moving up to a paid business subscription allows you to use as many devices as you want, with as much storage and bandwidth as your devices need, and a pay-as-you-use elastic pricing model which scales as your IoT business grows – where you’re only paying for the bandwidth and resources you’re actually using.

You can also choose a white-label CloudPlugs deployment in order to deliver IoT services, devices and management dashboards to customers under your own brand, along with in-house deployment on your own servers if desired for security or compliance reasons.

CloudPlugs uses a flexible and powerful MQTT-based publish-and-subscribe architecture, where things and applications subscribe to channels to publish their information and to read or issue control commands. Channels are data structures that allow things and applications to publish and to read data. Things or applications publish data into channels, or subscribe to channels to read data.

Channels can be created manually through the platform, or created dynamically. This dynamic management of channels means that they will automatically disappear if all the data published to that channel is deleted and will be created on-the-fly as data gets published to a newly specified channel by devices, removing the need for manual and inflexible configuration of channels.

Your devices and applications communicate with each other by subscribing to the same channels through MQTT, REST, WebSockets or the PlugNet protocol. Devices or “things” that use MQTT can connect and exchange data with other things that use the MQTT or WebSockets protocols, and if you’ve already developed existing products or devices that communicate using MQTT then it’s easy to get started connecting them to the CloudPlugs platform by modifying the MQTT logic to communicate to the CloudPlugs backend service.

To get started connecting your IoT things to the CloudPlugs platform, you need a CloudPlugs account – along with an appropriate hardware platform such as an Android device, an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Libelium Waspmote or many others. Next you’ll need a software library that will be integrated with your controller firmware, and these are supplied for free download from CloudPlugs to cover a range of supported devices.

A wide range of different hardware and software platforms can easily and quickly be connected to the CloudPlugs platform using a lightweight REST API, which allows for almost any contemporary or future hardware platform to be integrated into the system.

CloudPlugs libraries are designed to give developers maximum flexibility and choice for the development and integration of applications to monitor and manage their IoT devices, and libraries are available that enable the development of software for integration with CloudPlugs using a range of different programming languages and environments – including Node.js, JavaScript, C, PHP, Android, Arduino and Objective-C.

These supported platforms cover a wide range of applications, including networking, development on embedded platforms such as the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone, and the Objective-C development of iOS apps.

Getting started with Cloudplugs can be easily achieved – for any purpose from initial experimenting with the Internet-of-Things to a full system. Here at the LX Group we’re ready to partner with you to meet your Internet-of-Things product goals, and can work with your ideas and more to bring them to reality. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.


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