The multitude of wireless technologies has definitely not helped the deployment of IoT. Several wireless technologies, often proprietary, and not based on the Internet protocol (IP), were used in applications. These wireless technologies offered cost advantages for local connectivity and lower power consumption primarily due to the low data rate of the applications and their smaller RF channelization. However, when the devices needed to connect to the internet, bridges had to be deployed. The result: the cost advantages disappeared and the devices could not benefit from the well proven value of the Internet protocol. In addition, with smartphones and tablets becoming the preferred control and monitoring devices for the IoT, more and more device manufacturers are considering Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for connectivity, as opposed to other wireless technologies.
Late February, GainSpan unveiled its GS2000, the industry’s first chip to combine low power Wi-Fi and ZigBee IP – onto a single die. Wi-Fi brings the local connectivity to the smartphone and the remote connectivity through the internet. It leverages the extensive installed base of Wi-Fi access points in residential, commercial and industrial applications as well as hotspots. ZigBee IP, the only other wireless IP based technology in Local and Home Area Network (LAN/HAN), extends the reach of IP to more battery operated devices, through the use of smaller channelization and meshing.
The GS2000 is a highly integrated System on a Chip (SoC) containing multi-standard RF as well as both 802.11b/g/n and 802.15.4 PHY/MAC functionality, dual ARM CortexTM -M3 processors, and large memory size. Although lower power consumption processors are available from other companies, the Cortex-M3’s were chosen as the best compromise between processing power, low power consumption, and low cost, to support the multitude of IoT applications. One Cortex-M3 runs the wireless LAN functions, while the other handles all the networking stack and services including IPv4 and IPv6, personal and enterprise security, embedded DHCP, DNS and HTTP(S) clients and servers, XML parser, service and device discovery as well as application profiles.
The Connected Home is one market that will benefit from these capabilities. For example, the Wi-Fi/ZigBee IP combo solution will bridge the gap between smart meters using ZigBee in the USA and the new connected white appliances, now starting to integrate Wi-Fi. Appliances can now be connected to the appliance manufacturer’s cloud service for maintenance, troubleshooting, firmware upgrades, or customer notification (i.e. to replace a fridge filter), to the customer’s smartphone for remote control or monitoring as well as to the meter and the utility’s network for load shedding.
GainSpan is innovating with the Internet of Things in mind. The integration of Wi-Fi and ZigBee IP will extend IP connectivity to more devices and has the potential to accelerate the Internet of Things. The Internet has come a long way from its days of serving just Web pages. Today, it’s becoming an integral part of our lives.
ARM welcomes its wealth of Partners in the ARM Connected Community (CC) to submit guest blogs to be published on our multiple community blogs. If interested in participating please submit email inquiries to Tell.Us@arm.com.
The ARM Connected Community (CC) is an extensive ecosystem covering all aspects of ARM processor-based design, from chip implementation through to system and device design. The CC provides a platform for collaborative innovation, with multiple types of forums for members to work with one another, and with customers, to solve industry challenges, all with the purpose of enabling designers to focus on differentiating features and an accelerated time-to-market for ARM powered solutions.
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