Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Samsung launches NB-IoT chip

Steve Rogerson
August 28, 2018

South Korean semiconductor company Samsung Electronics has introduced an NB-IoT device. The Exynos i S111 is said to provide wide coverage, low-power operation, accurate location feedback and strong security for real-time tracking applications such as safety wearables or smart meters.
The device includes a modem, processor, memory and GNSS in one chip to enhance efficiency and flexibility for connected device manufacturers.
“IoT will be able to evolve to offer new features beyond the conventional household space with IoT-dedicated solutions that present a broad range of opportunities,” said Ben Hur, vice president of system LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. “Exynos i S111’s highly secure and efficient communications capabilities will bring more exciting NB-IoT applications to life.”
As the IoT grows to be a part of everyday lives, some connected devices share useful information instantly in high volumes, but some transmit data in small nuggets over a long period of time. Popular radio connectivity systems such as Bluetooth and Zigbee are suitable for short-range scenarios within confined spaces such as in the home or a building, and broadband communications are commonly used for mobile devices that demand high data rates. On the other hand, NB-IoT supports applications that require reliable low-power communications and wide-range coverage for small-sized data.
To cover long distances with high reliability, as a standard, NB-IoT adopts a data retransmission mechanism that continuously transmits data until a successful transfer, or up to a set number of retransmits. With a high number of these retransmit sessions, the S111 is able to cover the distance of 10km or more.
It incorporates a modem capable of LTE Rel 14 support that can transmit data at 127kbit/s for downlink and 158kbit/s uplink, and can operate in standalone, in-band and guard-band deployments.
For long standby periods, it uses power saving mode and expanded discontinuous reception, which keeps the device dormant for long periods of time of ten years and more, depending on application and use cases. It also has integrated GNSS and supports observed time difference of arrival, a positioning technique using cellular towers, for accurate and seamless real-time tracking.
Transmitted data are kept secure and private as the device uses a separate security sub-system hardware block along with a physical unclonable function that creates a unique identity for each chipset.
Following the launch of the company's first IoT product, Exynos i T200, in 2017, Samsung plans to continue expanding the line with offerings especially tailored for narrowband networks.