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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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Laird RM024 RAMP (Range Amplified Multipoint) Modules

Laird Technologies RAMP ISM modules are designed to provide robust wireless communications for applications requiring a wireless transport for serial data. The RM024 RAMP ISM module is based on Laird Technologies' LT2510 core technology, enhanced with a new RF front-end for improved sleep, improved link budget, and a switchable antenna output. The RM024 is available in two versions: one with 125 mW maximum conducted output power which is approved for North American and similar markets, and one with 50 mW maximum conducted output power which is approved for European and similar markets. Read more . . .

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Makers and Engineers: Get to Know Your Instrumentation Amplifier for Accurate IoT Data Capture

One of the major types of node for the IoT is for sensors. These are key to many applications where a variety of measurements need to be made for running a home or a production process. Sensing is where the Internet of Things (IoT) and the smart home begins, and it’s where DIYers, makers, and even professional designers run into their first problem. Many inexpensive transducers such as accelerometers, force sensors, strain gauges, and pressure transducers are designed around resistive Wheatstone bridges, so their outputs are differential voltages in the millivolt (mV) region.

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A Simple Solution Simplifies Authentication to Ensure Device Security

Security is incredibly important for any IoT device. Poor security can enable hackers to access systems or take over even what may seem like harmless devices for their attacks. The ability to authenticate data or operations in a system is a fundamental requirement for security. For developers, implementing the detailed steps required for authentication can be challenging, particularly in resource constrained systems. Even when resources are available, time to market pressures and lack of awareness can result in shortcuts during development that can leave the final system compromised. Read more . . .

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Use HyperBus to Expand Memory in Tiny IoT and Wearable Designs to Save Space and Cost

The Hyperbus can be used to provide some significant advantages for IoT devices. With IoT nodes and wearable devices shrinking, designers need to make maximum use of their microcontroller’s on-board memory to minimize board space, power, and cost. However, sometimes memory expansion cannot be avoided. Instead of defaulting to a 32-bit controller’s bus structure, designers should consider HyperBus, a high-speed, 333 Mbit/s, 8-bit, double data rate (DDR) interface for both address and data. Read more . . .

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How to Optimize Energy Use in IoT Edge Devices

Battery life is a really key parameter for remote IoT devices. Replacing a battery can be time consuming and costly, or they may not be replaced and the device may fail as a result. A prime objective is to extend the time between recharges, or in the case of standard cells, the lifetime of the battery. There are many traditional approaches, but these lack the necessary system level perspective needed to fully optimize a design. Find out more . . . .

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Design Location Tracking Systems Quickly Using GNSS Modules

Asset tracking is big business. Knowing where valuable items are at any time with a high degree of accuracy increases productivity, enhances security, and lowers cost. However, asset tracking has been limited to high value items because high-quality Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers can be difficult to design and implement, expensive, and power hungry. Reducing cost and hitting the market quickly are key elements of a successful product. Find out some of the main elements of speedy and successful development. . . .

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How to Quickly Implement a Qi Standard Compliant Wireless Charging System

Wireless charging is now becoming very widespread with many phones having the option for wireless charging, enabling users the freedom of not requiring a lead to provide the link to the charger. While standards such as the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) Qi specification help support higher power charging levels, developers still face multiple challenges when it comes to designing circuits, pc boards, and firmware to fully optimize wireless power transfer to mobile devices. Read more . . .

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Speed Development of Secure Cellular Connected IoT Applications

Cellular technologies offer an increasingly attractive option for IoT connectivity thanks to emerging solutions from hardware manufacturers and cellular service providers. Even with the growing availability of cellular hardware modules, IoT development nevertheless faces significant delays as developers grapple with low-level handshaking and higher level service protocols, while also ensuring a secure implementation. However developing new products quickly is key to entering the market at the right time and not missing the opportunity. Find out the best ways to develop secure connected IoT applications.

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How to Select, Use, and Maintain Coaxial Connectors for RF Applications

With the massive increase in radio frequency communications for everything from mobile communications to other forms of wireless connectivity, the need for RF connectors has never been greater. Selecting the right connectors can make a huge difference in a product: balancing cost and performance is not always easy. It is also very important to use these connectors correctly and maintain them to ensure that the best performance is secured. Find out how. . . .

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Rapidly Implement a Real-Time Location System Accurate to 10 cm

Radio-location systems have become a ubiquitous feature in nearly every type of mobile device and associated application. Among radio-location approaches, real-time location systems (RTLS) based on ultra-wideband, UWB, RF communications play a central role in ensuring available location information when more familiar technologies such as GPS are unable to provide coverage. Find out more . . . .

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Analog Devices Enables Industrial Automation Transitions

In recent years, industrial facilities have started to push for greater efficiency in their manufacturing processes. With the technology available today, industry is obtaining more automation, better precision, and increased process data volume. All of this is rapidly bringing manufacturers closer to realising the benefits that Industry 4.0 has to offer including increased safety, reliability, and productivity – all while reducing the environmental impact that harsh industrial processes are associated with. Find out more . . .

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Updating Firmware at the Edge Using Amazon FreeRTOS

Firmware updates often need to be done and often in the field. Amazon FreeRTOS helps developers simplify the process of connecting an Internet of Things (IoT) device to the cloud. However, even with a simpler cloud connection, a major hurdle that many developers will be facing is how to update their devices’ firmware in the field. This useful article examines how developers can utilise the bootloader capabilities built into Amazon FreeRTOS (a:FreeRTOS), often referred to over-the-air updates (OTA), to quickly get a bootloader solution running on their IoT device.

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Welcome to the Wireless Menagerie: RF Bands and Protocol Choices for Embedded Developers, Part 2

We featured Part 1 of this two-part series in last week's newsletter and this discussed the various wireless connectivity options available to embedded system designers and provided some relevant examples. This week, Part 2 discusses the characteristics of wireless modules in more detail, along with insight on how to go about using them effectively. As modules can enable designers of IoT modules to focus on what they are good at, leaving the wireless elements to experts in that field who have been able to take advantage of the benefits of scale as many module manufacturers will use their modules.

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Welcome to the Wireless Menagerie: RF Bands and Protocol Choices for Embedded Developers, Part 1

Choices for RF bands, protocols, wireless systems are often difficult to make.Embedded devices and systems have historically been standalone with plug-in wired interfaces for data exchange and maintenance. Now designers are under increasing pressure to add some sort of wireless interface to connect their system or device to other systems, or to the Internet of Things (IoT). Find out more.

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Take the Fast Track to Bluetooth 5 Mesh Networking

With the availability of mesh networking capability for Bluetooth 5, developers can enhance the range and network availability of wirelessly connected systems, such as IoT devices. However, mesh networking has layers of complexity between low-power wireless hardware design and mesh networking software development that can quickly entangle developers and jeopardize project schedules. Find out more about Bluetooth mesh networking.

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Combine Arduino with Open-Source RISC-V Architecture for Low-Cost, High-Performance Embedded Design

Embedded systems developers are always looking for ways to further cut development time, especially for proofs of concept and fast prototyping. Development kits have become the shortcut of choice, but designers need to be able to balance form factor and a widely supported ecosystem with performance requirements. Find out more about how to reduce development times by using Arduino with open-source RISC-V architecture.

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Rapidly Build Mesh Connected Lighting Applications with Zigbee and Thread

Thread and Zigbee both enable mesh networking for applications like large scale lighting control. Find out about the requirements for mesh networks in automation applications and the roles of Zigbee and Thread in meeting these requirements. Also find out about a connected lighting kit from Silicon Laboratories as an example and how to use it to develop mesh connected lighting applications based on Zigbee or Thread protocols.

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The Next Evolutionary Step in Drone Design

Drones are being seen increasingly and are being used more widely for business and pleasure. It has even been suggested that drones could become as important as the Internet in the future as they become used for aerial photography, delivery, monitoring, agricultural use and even medical applications. Find out more about their use and design . . . . .

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LTE Cat M1 Modules Provide an Alternative to Broadband and Smartphones for Assisted Living Systems

As the number of people over 60 increases, this results in a greater need for assisted living solutions. Electronic assisted living and monitoring systems healthcare to be provided in a better way and more cost effectively. It reduces the strain on the health services which can easily become over-stretched. LTE Cat M1 modules form an ideal basis for many assisted living systems as they enable reliable connectivity to be provided very easily. Read more . . .

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Designing Bluetooth Low Energy Smart Applications with Bluetooth Mesh

Find out about the architecture and capabilities of the Bluetooth mesh 1.0 protocol. This Bluetooth protocol has been introduced as a complementary stack to Bluetooth low energy firmware and brings open-standard mesh networking to Bluetooth low energy for the first time. The article also details the strengths and weaknesses of Bluetooth mesh, allowing designers to compare it with other low power wireless technology alternatives to determine if it is a good match for their wireless applications.

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Connect Designs Quickly and Securely to the Cloud Using Amazon FreeRTOS

Internet of Things developments need to consider a variety of different aspects, from embedded technology through to RF design. The traditional embedded systems developer typically works at the bare metal level on disconnected devices, but the IoT requires systems to connect to the Internet. This requires embedded system developers to learn how to connect their devices and use a higher level operating system, such as a real-time operating system (RTOS). Find out more . . .

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Tick-Tock: What Your Engineers Could be Spending Time Doing if They Weren’t Stuck Designing a Display? Markku Riihonen | 4D Systems
Tick-Tock: What Your Engineers Could be Spending Time Doing if They Weren’t Stuck Designing a Display?
As soon as any design project is embarked upon, the clock starts ticking. The length of time needed to develop a system can impinge heavily on its commercial success. Windows of opportunity could be missed if it takes too long to complete, with products from rival companies gaining greater market share.


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