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Focus on Wireless

Featured articles from Digi-Key Electronics

Wireless technology is now a very important part of the overall electronics scene. There is an enormous variety of wireless technologies from the familiar Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to the more specific standards like LoRa, SigFox, Zigbee and many more. Each wireless standard has its place within the wireless ecosystem and there are modules and different platforms for them. Find out more about these technologies and how you can use them in the Digi-Key Focus on Wireless.

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IDT F2270

IDT's F2270 is a low insertion loss voltage variable RF attenuator (VVA) covering a broad frequency range from 5 MHz to 3000 MHz. In addition to providing low insertion loss, the F2270 provides excellent linearity performance over its entire voltage control and attenuation range. The device uses a single positive supply voltage of 3.15 V to 5.5 V. Other features include the VMODE pin allowing either positive or negative voltage control slope versus attenuation and multi-directional operation, meaning the RF input can be applied to either RF1 or RF2 pins. Control voltage ranges from 0 V to 5 V using either positive or negative control voltage slope.

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A Modular Approach to IoT Application Development - Part 1: Hardware Choices

Both hardware and software are widely used in wireless products and projects today. The Internet of Things, IoT is no exception, requiring a very tight bond between the hardware and the software. Large-scale IoT applications typically require multiple connectivity options and software services for implementing their underlying functional capabilities. To meet increasingly demanding requirements, developers have needed to combine more diverse solutions from multiple sources and operating environments. Find out more . . . .

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Adding Connectivity to IoT Applications through Personal and Wide Area Networks

RF technology is at the very core of the Internet of Things. It provides the link between the different nodes. It is the key link in the chain. Legislation around the use of RF technology has also seen significant changes, but today there are many license-free solutions that are impacting every aspect of modern life. Adhering to certain restrictions, anyone can put into service a radio ‘network’ using off-the-shelf devices, something that is changing the face of industry and commerce. Find out more . . .

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Hardware Encryption Hardens Wireless MCUs Against Hacks

IoT security is one of the big issues that is about to hit the industry. Embedded devices have always been vulnerable to attack. What has changed in recent years is the ability of hackers to access those devices. The air gaps in networks that used to protect industrial controllers and similar devices have been filled in, thanks to the growth in the use of wireless networking to interconnect them. Wireless networks were introduced for increased convenience and flexibility, but they also provide an easy way for hackers to launch attacks. What is required are devices that are hardened against attacks, using a combination of techniques to support high security. Find out more . . .

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Building Bluetooth-Connected IoT Wireless Sensor Prototypes with Minimal Effort

There is huge growth in the arena of IoT connectivity. As a result time to market is a key issue and n top of this many IoT developers do not have the required wireless development experience. No problem! Just use a developer kit. This enables developers to respond very quickly to emerging opportunities with fully functional prototypes able to prove out new concepts or competitive products. Yet, most IoT development solutions require significant effort to get them working correctly, particularly on the software side. Find out how to get to market quickly, effectively and with minimum development cost. Read more . . .

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Use A Multisensor Dev Kit to Explore New IoT Design Options

To satisfy this demand for broader sensor and connectivity options, IoT device designers need flexible development systems able to respond to diverse, fast changing requirements. An IoT development kit from STMicroelectronics meets this need in a single platform that can speed development of the workflow from the IoT device to the cloud. Find out more about this exciting approach and how you can use it.

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How to Extend the Range of 2.45 GHz Wireless Systems

Many of the applications for the wireless control of systems like lighting, heating, ventilation etc use the 2.4 GHz ISM band. This has many advantages, but one big issue is that of range - at 2.4 GHz significant amounts of the signal are absorbed by walls and other fittings etc. This is a feature of using these frequencies. Using standards like Zigbee and Bluetooth, etc, there are ways of overcoming this fundamental issue and providing good reliable wireless connectivity. Read more . . .

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Develop with LoRa for Low-Rate, Long-Range IoT Applications

Designers have a wide variety of wireless technologies to connect a product to the Internet of Things (IoT). Each technology suits different applications, requiring designers to carefully consider factors such as range and data rate, cost, power consumption, volume, and form factor.

LoRa (Long Range) is one protocol that has some distinct advantages (as the name indicates) for long range low data rate connectivity and it is gaining a significant amount of interest and traction. Read more . . .

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Compare 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wireless LAN in Industrial Applications

Licence free wireless standards make great use of both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. However, for industrial and more mission critical applications, there are performance and interference requirements and characteristics that need to be given serious consideration before choosing which band to use. Find out how to make the best choice.

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Improving the Environment and the Balance Sheet of Smart Cities with Connected Sensing

Air quality is a key concern to organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), which links pollutants like particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) with diseases and increased rates of early mortality. Air pollution is one of 10 environmental factors included by the WHO in its assessment of global disease burden. Even cities like London and many others are struggling to keep levels of pollutants don to acceptable levels. One key tool in the fight against rising levels is to use remote sensors in monitoring the levels. Find out more about the available ICs and sensors that can be used.

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Using Bluetooth Low Energy to Connect Wearable Wireless Sensors to the Internet of Things

Bluetooth Low Energy, BLE, is an excellent wireless standard for many IoT and IIoT applications. As the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT relies heavily on sensors to collect data from a portable, wearable system to monitor movement, pressure, humidity and many other characteristics that are then fed back to the cloud for processing, BLE will be widely used as it has been designed for this type of application.

To enable sensors to be designed quickly and to have reliable operation, BLE modules provide an ideal basis for any design. BLE transceivers have reduced in size with chip scale packaging, making them small enough to easily fit alongside the various sensors in an IIoT design. Find out more . . .

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Application Specific Antenna

Antennas are a particularly important element of any radio system. Their performance can govern that of the whole system. However, choosing an antenna can be a difficult task, there are several parameters that need to be taken into consideration. It is imperative to examine several physical, electrical, and economical options to find the perfect antenna for a given application. While this is not a “one size fits all” topic, and much of this may be rudimentary for the RF engineer, hopefully this will shed light on many factors that need to be considered when choosing an antenna.

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Low-Power Long-Range Wireless Technologies for Wireless Sensor Networks in the Internet of Things

For many applications, cost is a top priority driver. In some applications like the Internet of Things where low cost sensors and remote nodes are needed, cost can sometimes be more important than low power consumption. Improvements in silicon technology have lowered power consumption to where it has become viable for battery-powered wireless sensor nodes. These take advantage of sub-GHz unregulated radio bands for long-range connections that can be more cost effective than the regulated cellular bands.

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A Simpler Solution for Hardening Security in Wi-Fi Connected IoT Designs

Wi-Fi is one of the major technologies being used for wireless connectivity. It is now becoming a key wireless bearer standard for many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. As a result it is a favourite target for hackers. Weak security implementations leave devices open to penetration during ongoing network communications. Worse, IoT devices can fall victim to attack early in their lifecycle when the device attempts to join trusted networks. Find out how to improve security and protect against hacking . . .

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Applying Chip and Patch Antennas to Solve Diversity and Multiband RF Issues

For any radio system the antenna is a key element in the overall line. Its performance can determine that of the whole system. Designers of handheld and portable wireless products such as smartphones and wearables rely on tiny chip, patch and trace antennas that can be placed within the device. While these miniature devices solve the problem of bringing multiband antenna arrays to small form factor systems, they also introduce issues related to reduced radiation efficiency, impedance matching, and interaction with nearby objects and bodies.

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Compare 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wireless LAN in Industrial Applications

There are two major bands used for wireless LANs / Wi-Fi 802.11: 2.4 and 5 GHz. For consumer devices the choice between the two bands is normally automatically made by the device using the WLAN dependent upon its capabilities and the operating conditions. However for industrial and more mission critical applications more consideration needs to be given to the choice of band.

Find out more about the differences between 2.45 and 5 GHz WLAN operation, and see the advantages of designing industrial wireless devices using 5 GHz WLANs compared with 2.45 GHz systems together with some of the design tools available. A must read for anyone in this sector

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Understanding Antenna Specifications and Operation

The antenna design is probably the most overlooked elements of any product involving RF. Often antenna design is seen as a black art, but this is not so. Find out some of the basics of antenna design so you can make the most of any product involving wireless communications.

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Take the Zero-Touch Approach to Securely Lock Down an IoT Device

We have recently seen how major companies have been hacked and held to ransom by hackers. This is a growing trend which is set to only get worse. It demonstrates the absolute need for security. The demonstrated ability of hackers to penetrate IoT devices says more about the level of security of these devices than the skill of the hackers: in most cases, the affected products lack the most basic security provisions. When designing devices fort he IoT security needs to be built in from the beginning and many development kits now enable excellent security to be built in tot he final product.

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Can Bluetooth 4.2 turn IoT Dreams into Reality?

Power is critical in IoT devices. In many wireless Internet of Things devices such as wearable electronics and battery-powered or self-powered sensors, keeping power consumption to a minimum is key. Some of the most important applications for the IoT include the smart home, remote healthcare, consumer retail, environmental monitoring and commercial asset tracking. To simplify deployment, these devices need to be easy for the intended end user to access and control without special equipment such as dedicated gateways. Find out how this can be done.

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Jumpstart IoT Product Development with the Electric Imp Platform

Many different skills are needed when designing Internet connected products - embedded software, hardware design and construction, packaging, security, and remote control. This can all be challenging and time consuming. To ensure the best chance of getting high quality and properly functional products to market in a timely fashion, development teams require a way to jumpstart their development and minimize what they need to do in a typical design cycle in order to meet cost and time-to-market requirements. Find out how this can be done . . .

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Dev Platform Speeds Development of Low-Power Bluetooth-Enabled IoT Designs

Bluetooth is one of the main wireless standards and it is being widely used in IoT applications. Bluetooth-enabled IoT devices provide ready access to data through smartphones and other gateway devices. Still, the design of low-power, battery-operated IoT solutions remains challenging in terms of both wireless sensing as well as optimisation of power-draining communications subsystems. For designers with ever tightening time-to-market windows, the design task needs to be simplified. Find out some routes to improve your time to market . . .

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