Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Combining communications in one chip keeps energy consumption down

Steve Rogerson
January 7, 2015
To tackle the difficulties of providing wireless communications in internet of things devices while keeping energy consumption low, chip-maker Atmel has introduced a system-on-chip (SoC) that combines Wifi and Bluetooth Smart technologies in one 4.1 by 4.1mm chip scale package.

The low power consumption of the WILC3000 wireless link controller makes it suitable for IoT and wearable applications.It provides multiple peripheral interfaces including UART, SPI, I2C and SDIO, along with the associated cloud-ready connectivity software, making it a suitable wireless connectivity companion to any microprocessor running Android or Linux.

Atmel is also introducing the WINC3400 network controller with embedded flash memory, which allows the device to host network services stack, Wifi stack and Bluetooth Smart profiles for rapid design development with no wireless expertise required from the designer.

“IoT requires a diverse portfolio of wireless MPUs and MCUs with Bluetooth and Wifi capabilities that will enable cloud access,” said Kaivan Karimi, Atmel’s vice president and general manager of Wireless MCUs. “Adding cloud connectivity to devices in the industrial, medical, wearable, fitness and other consumer markets will require a combination of embedded Wifi with Bluetooth optimised for low battery consumption, and support for out-of-the-box, cloud ready software. Atmel’s SmartConnect WILC3000 and WINC3400 address these requirements by delivering a compact cloud-ready Wifi and Bluetooth-certified platform that helps bring customer products faster to market.”

These Wifi and Bluetooth combo products are optimised for low-power applications, supporting single-stream 802.11n mode providing up to 72Mbit/s throughput allowing a broad range of use cases. Both integrate a power amplifier, LNA, switch and power management unit. The only external clock sources required is a high-speed crystal or oscillator with a wide range of reference clock frequencies supported (14 to 40MHz) and a 32.768kHz clock for sleep operation.

The WINC3400 has an on-chip network stack to reduce host CPU requirements. The network features include TCP, UDP, DHCP, ARP, HTTP, SSL and DNS. Additionally the WINC3400 SiP includes Bluetooth Smart profiles allowing connection to low energy application such as smart energy, consumer wellness, home automation, security, proximity detection, entertainment, sports and fitness and automotive. This also supports Atmel’s cloud-ready software for simple cloud connectivity.