Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Transceiver IP supports NB-IoT release 14

Steve Rogerson
December 18, 2018
Californian wireless connectivity firm Palma Ceia SemiDesign has announced a transceiver IP supporting LTE NB-IoT release 14. The IP is targeted at IoT and M2M applications.
The transceiver 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 transceiver supports high and low bands compliant with the 3GPP release 14 specification. Mobile network operators worldwide, including Verizon, AT&T and China Telecom, have announced support for some of these 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.
"We continue to update our IP to conform to the latest 3GPP specifications," said JamesFlowers, chief operating officer of Palma Ceia. "This transceiver can deploy with confidence, integrated into any SoCs that require an NB-IoT transceiver."
It supports low band from 699 to 960MHz – bands 5, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26 and 28 – and high band from 1695 to 2200MHz in bands 1, 2, 3, 66 and 70.
The direct conversion receiver has a noise figure of less than 2.5dB and a sensitivity of -116dBm. Its linear architecture offers operating margins exceeding 3GPP linearity requirements. Self-contained calibration and correction schemes improve performance and yield.
Features include fully automated DC offset correction and I/Q calibration scheme and a full digital interface to baseband. The total RX current is 15mA and TX current 22mA at maximum power. The targeted 200kHz implementation provides lower power than LTE-M1 at 1.4MHz.
LTE NB-IoT is a cellular 3GPP standard that uses licensed bands to provide low-power connectivity compared with 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 IoT concept. 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 a transceiver chip with baseband 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 the necessary options to implement IoT devices in the varied application verticals that make up this market.
The offering is packaged as hard IP (GDS) complete radio drivers and user and integration guide. A test board is under development and can be linked to an FPGA for systems testing and validation.
Palma Ceia SemiDesign provides communications IP and chips for wifi and cellular applications. With a focus on emerging wifi and LTE standards, it supports the design of devices for broadband, wireless, medical and automotive applications. With headquarters in Santa Clara, the company has design operations in McKinney, Texas, and sales and support activities in China, Israel, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.