Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sequans chipset brings LTE capability to wearables

Steve Rogerson
January 14, 2015
 
A low-cost chipset that will allow wearables to connect over LTE networks has been introduced by French-company Sequans Communications. The Calliope LTE platform, the latest member of its Streamlite LTE family of chipsets for IoT applications, has been optimised for low cost and low power and is suitable for wearables and other LTE category one (10Mbit/s downlink) IoT and M2M devices. It complements Sequans’ Colibri LTE platform, a category four (150Mbit/s downlink) product introduced last year.
 
“With Calliope, we answer the growing demand for an especially low-cost LTE solution for those highly cost-sensitive devices such as wearables that don’t require the high throughput of our cat four Colibri solution,” said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. “Calliope is the first cat one LTE solution in the industry, and by designing it specifically for this segment, it enables the design of wearables and other devices for industrial and home applications at a cost that is competitive with many of today’s entry-level 3G (WCDMA and EVDO) solutions.”
 
He said that category one capability was an important step towards the LTE-enabled IoT in that it allowed operators to manage their networks much more efficiently by not allocating excessive resources to devices that don’t need high throughput. Furthermore, category one devices can be deployed in most of today’s existing LTE networks without requiring new network equipment or other major network upgrades.
 
“LTE is about much more than high speed as evidenced by the inclusion of cat one in the original 3GPP LTE specification,” he said, “and by the move of 3GPP to define even lower-cost, lower throughput cat zero (1Mbit/s) capability in next year’s release 12. This roadmap has accelerated the trend of operators to shutter 2G and 3G networks and migrate to the much more efficient 4G LTE.”
 
According to analyst Mason, the availability of low power, low cost wireless products using categories one and zero LTE will expand the M2M market by some three billion additional units over the next ten years.
 
“A significant portion of these connections will be LTE and that is the market we are targeting, beginning with Calliope,” said Karam. “The low cost and low power consumption will enable new use cases and the development of new devices such as wearables that need several days of battery life, as well as utility meters and industrial monitoring devices that must operate for years on a single battery. Calliope is sized perfectly and that enables module costs to rival the lowest cost 3G solutions on the market today, while still providing all the performance, economic and longevity advantages of LTE.”
 
Among Calliope’s key features are ultra low power consumption, allowing several days of battery life, and a compact form factor, which is a function of wafer-level packaging for both the baseband and RF chips. The platform comprises Sequans’ latest baseband and RF chips, an integrated application CPU running the firm’s’ carrier-proven LTE protocol stack, an IMS client, VoLTE capability, and a software package for over-the-air device management and packet routing.
 
Sequans expects modules based on the Calliope platform to be available from various module manufacturers beginning in the second quarter of 2015.