The new RF LSI ML7404 from ROHM’s LAPIS Semiconductor supports both Sigfox and IEEE802.15.4k standards and expands transmission range by more than 10 times for IoT equipment
ROHM Group company LAPIS Semiconductor announces availability of an RF LSI optimized for LPWA (Low Power Wide Area). The new rollout is expected to usher in a new area of wireless IoT communication.
The ML7404 is touted as the first wireless communication LSI in the industry to feature LPWA dual-mode functionality, supporting both the Sigfox standard (subscription-based LPWA using unlicensed sub-GHz). The ML7404 has been adoped in more than 30 countries and expanding in metropolitan areas including Japan, and the international protocol IEEE802.15.4K that is extremely robust against interference from the same system and has the capacity to cover more terminals under one network.
This dual-mode capability enables use in a wide range of applications/specifications. Key applications include, gas and water meters, sensor networks, building health monitoring, smart agriculture, security systems, and other industrial applications requiring long-distance wireless communication
Communication modules containing this device will be released from partner companies to simplify the development of LPWA-compatible devices that contribute increased IoT adoption. In addition, the protocol stack for IEEE802.15.4k will be provided as open-source from our partner stack vendors.
LAPIS semiconductor has previously released wireless communication LSIs for sub-GHz specified low power radio base stations ahead of the competition, helping to achieve a smarter world through IoT. This time we developed an LPWA device that supports multiple methods, facilitating the early launch of IoT networks and the effective spread of applications and services.
- Supports dual LPWA modes (Sigfox and IEEE802.15.4k)
The ML7404 is a dual-mode LPWA wireless communication LSI compatible with both IEEE802.15.4k and the Sigfox standard utilized predominately in Europe.
a) Compatible with Sigfox
Sigfox, a type of LPWA wireless communication system currently being employed in more than 30 countries around the world.
b) Supports IEE802.15.4k
The 802.15.4k standard defined by IEEE is characterized by DSSS based on orthogonal spreading codes and features high interference tolerance from the same system compared with other spread spectrum communication methods. Plus it can accommodate more terminals under the same network. This protocol utilizes the high reliability sub-GHz band that does not require a license.
The industry’s first hardware-based BPSK modulation circuit for Sigfox contributes to lower set power consumption
Sigfox uses the BPSK modulation method which is not employed by conventional sub-GHz communication. However, because standard Sigfox compliant LSIs do not support BPSK modulation, it is necessary to create BPSK symbol data utilizing control MCU software. Unfortunately, this requires that the control MCU be activated each time wireless communication is performed, resulting in unnecessary set power consumption. In contrast, the ML7404 integrates a BPSK modulation circuit that eliminates the need for the control MCU to operate (in the physical layer) during wireless communication, reducing system power consumption.
- Development support
An optional evaluation kit bundles sample programs (simple MAC) and various test scenarios, with reference module designs currently being prepared. In addition, full support is offered, including manuals and tools that can be downloaded from LAPIS’ website (registration required). And in the future, communication modules integrating the ML7404 along with low power protocol stacks for IEEE802.15.4k will be released from partner companies.
Availability, Pricing and Packaging
Samples of ML7404 was released in July 2017, it priced $10 (Excluding tax). Mass Production to start from December 2017 in a production quantity of 100,000pcs./month in a T&R (1000pcs/reel) packaging.
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