Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Palma Ceia launches transceiver for NB-IoT

Steve Rogerson
September 6, 2018
Californian wireless connectivity firm Palma Ceia Semidesign has announced a silicon-proven LTE NB-IoT transceiver for IoT and 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 capabilities for IoT.
"Completing this low-power, highly linear integrated transceiver establishes Palma Ceia as the only wireless IP and chip provider offering both an LTE NB-IoT (LTE NB1) and wifi (HaLow-802.11ah) transceiver for IoT applications," said James Flowers, chief operating officer of Palma Ceia. "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 complete digital interface."
Features of the PCS integrated transceiver include:

  • Direct conversion receiver with a noise figure of less than 2.5dB;
  • 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 15mA and TX current of 22mA at maximum power; and
  • Targeted 200kHz implementation offers lower power versus LTE-M1 at 1.4MHz.
LTE NB-IoT (LTE-NB1) is a cellular 3GPP standard that uses licensed bands to provide low-power connectivity compared with the conventional cellular connections for smart phones. 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 IoT. 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 communications 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 its 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 user and integration guide. A test board is under development and can be linked to an FPGA for systems testing and validation.
With headquarters in Santa Clara, California, the company has design operations in McKinney, Texas, and sales and support activities in China, Israel, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.