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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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Digi XBee® S1 802.15.4 Radio Frequency (RF) Modules

RF modules enable the pain to be taken out of the RF aspects of IoT development. Digi International’s XBee S1 802.15.4 RF modules enable robust end-point connectivity with ease. Whether deployed as a pure cable replacement for simple serial communication, or as part of a more complex hub-and-spoke network of sensors, these modules maximize performance and ease of development. The XBee S1 802.15.4 modules seamlessly interface with compatible gateways, device adapters, and range extenders providing developers with true beyond-the-horizon connectivity.

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Bringing the IIoT to Life

The Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT is rapidly becoming a reality. It is widely recognised that the Industrial Internet of Things promises to bring about a transformative effect across many traditional industries. Not only will it uncover processes that are inefficient, plants in need of maintenance, and help management improve asset utilisation, but it also promises to make possible a raft of new business services. Read more . . .

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Update Firmware in the Field Using a Microcontroller’s DFU Mode

Firmware and software updates are a fact of life and enable small or even large issues to be corrected when equipment is in the field. In fact nearly every embedded system needs the ability to have its firmware updated in the field to add new features or fix bugs. However, firmware field updates can be challenging as a developer must either program their own boot-loader or procure a boot-loader from a third-party component supplier. Read more about firmware updating . . .

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Design Robust Systems for the Industrial IoT

The Internet of Things, IoT and Industrial IoT, IIoT share common objectives for translating streams of sensor data to useful information. For developers, however, significant differences lie in basic requirements including power, connectivity, and design reliability and robustness. These are key to the design. Find out how to design for the IIoT . . . .

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Add Firmware Security to an IoT Design with a Single Chip

In an increasingly security aware IoT landscape, IoT developers face seemingly conflicting demands for rapid development and tighter security for all phases of the application lifecycle. While many emerging solutions come with mechanisms for encryption, IoT designs need to be able to address a wider range of security threats. . . read more.

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Comparing Low Power Wireless Technologies (Part 3)

This is the third article in the series dealing with selecting the right communications technology for IOT devices. The demands of low-power wireless continue to increase and the industry is responding. For example, the special interest groups, alliances, and forums that look after the various wireless technologies are now evolving their technologies to make them more applicable to the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT). . . . read more

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Comparing Low Power Wireless Technologies (Part 2)

Engineers have many choices when it comes to low-power wireless technologies. It can be a difficult choice to select the right technology. There are RF-based technologies such as Bluetooth low energy, ANT, ZigBee, RF4CE, NFC and Nike+, plus infrared options championed by the Infrared Data Association (IrDA). This article is the second in a three-part series that considers popular wireless technologies’ technical foundations, and relative strengths. . . . read more

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Select and Apply the Right Low-Power Microcontroller for the IoT

Applications for use with the Internet of Things, IoT have some special requirements. Energy consumption is critical for battery-powered, connected devices to maximise the time between battery changes, or even allow devices to be run off ambient energy sources. While many embedded systems developers are well versed in optimising code, conserving energy for Internet of things devices requires a more comprehensive approach. . . . read more . . .

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Develop Real-Time Microcontroller-Based Applications Quickly Using MicroPython

Real-time embedded systems are becoming extremely complex, requiring an in-depth understanding not only of intricate 32-bit micro-controllers, as well as sensors, algorithms, Internet protocols, and widely varying end-user applications. With shorter development cycles and more features, development teams need to find ways to both accelerate design while being able to port their code to new products: an integrated and flexible development platform is needed. One of the options that is gaining significant traction is MicroPython. . . . read more.

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Wireless Modules Operating in the Sub-GHz Bands Offer a Simpler Route to Market for Sensor Networks

Wireless offers an ideal format for transmitting data from one location to another. There are several frequency bands that can be adopted: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, but are these the best bands for your application, but there are several sub 1 GHz bands that are available and these provide the best option for some applications . . . . read more.

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Selecting the Right FCC/CE Compliant Wireless Module

Using wireless modules is a very good way to proceed when developing a wireless system - it saves considerable time and effort in developing the wireless system and also obtaining the relevant certifications. However a little preparation is needed to select the right wireless module for your application. When designing electronic projects or products, they often require the ability to communicate with some other device. The data that needs to be transmitted can be virtually anything from weather information, medical data or operational control commands. Capable of being achieved either with or without wires, there is a wide selection of communication standards that can be leveraged to incorporate this intercommunication. Distance can be a limiting factor since it is not always possible to easily connect a number of devices together over larger distances. In this case, connecting devices by physical wires can result in an expensive and complicated installation. Wireless communication, however, offers a much more flexible solution that can reduce development costs and simplify installation. . . . read more

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Use a Ready-Made LTE Cat M1 Modem to Simplify Low-Power Wide Area IoT Connectivity

4G LTE Category M1, CatM 1 devices are ideal for many low power IoT devices. Developers of wide area IoT applications such as mobile health monitoring, remote sensing, and smart cities have a connectivity problem: Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi lack the range required, while traditional cellular radios are too costly, power hungry, and complex. To address this, another connectivity option has emerged, LTE Cat M1 cellular. Along with it have come easy-to-use, certified solutions that greatly reduce the complexity and cost of cellular connectivity, while accelerating time to market for wide area, low-power, low-cost, long-range IoT designs.

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Sensing on a Zero Power Budget

Many IoT sensors and other nodes spend most of their time in an idle state. They may only be required to to take measurements at infrequent intervals, send the resulting small quantity of data back to a collector. In this way they are able to spend most of their time in a sleep state conserving their battery power. Some smart sensors can be powered by a small battery, and operate for several years without recharging or replacement. Discover more about operating in this mode . . .

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Use a Cellular Module to Connect a Maker Project to the IoT

The sue of wireless connectivity is becoming more widespread. Makers and professional engineers alike are increasingly turning to wireless connectivity to enhance the functionality of their projects and connect them to the Internet of Things (IoT). The single board computers (SBCs) that such projects use often integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but for longer range, cellular interfaces are a good alternative. Read more . . .

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Build the Devastator Robot and Learn About Sensors, MCUs, Software, and Motor Control While Having Fun

Robots are great fun to build and use. Building a multifunction robot from a kit is a great way to get started as a Maker, as it provides an opportunity to learn about many related fields: micro-controllers, sensors, motors, software development, and more. Plus, there’s a large selection of robot kits, add-ons, and online help for beginners and experienced Makers alike. Read more . . .

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Comparing Low-Power Wireless Technologies

When developing a product that will include wireless connectivity, it is necessary to consider which technology is best to use. There is a wide variety of different standards that can be chosen, so it is necessary to consider which one will be best for any given application. This article gives key insights into the different technologies, comparing the different attributes to help make the right decision.

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Providing Peace of Mind in the Wireless IIoT World

Wireless communications offer significant advantages in the world of industrial control and automation. The number of wireless devices in any automated industrial operation has significantly increased, all connected to form an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) consisting of equipment, routers and sensors. Moreover, all have specific communications needs and requirements. Read about the wireless devices available.

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Use a Drop-In Solution for Low-Power, Long-Range IoT Designs

In many IoT applications, the RF areas can present a challenge as RF design can be a specialised area. To overcome this issue there are many RF transceivers but increasingly designers need devices capable of operating over a longer range but with lower power consumption. Normally, this would require matching low-power MCUs to transceivers and then developing the appropriate protocol stack. Fortunately, new solutions greatly reduce or even eliminate this extra work, speeding time to market and lowering costs. Read all about how to achieve this . .

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The STM32 Nucleo Pack for IoT Brings Makers to the IoT Cloud

Microcomputer boards like Arduino and many others have been a tremendous success providing many people with access to open microcomputers at a very reasonable price. What's more they can be very easy to programme and there are many different peripherals for them. They are also ideal for many IoT applications. However one area that can be difficult to master is that of interfacing them to the cloud and getting data from them onto the Cloud. Find out how this can be done . . .

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Wearables Platform Eases IoT Device Prototyping

Historically, wearable designs have been difficult to prototype. The core problem is one of size. Most off-the-shelf development boards and systems are designed for a bench top environment where size and weight are not crucial. To facilitate the development of wearables using prototypes there are a few that can overcome the problems of size and yet be able to provide the access required for prototyping.

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A Modular Approach to IoT Application Development - Part 2: Software Design

IoT applications bring a particularly tight convergence between hardware and software components, requiring developers to account for myriad details in each domain. This two-part series looks at a single platform that uses a modular approach designed to facilitate that convergence. Part 1: Hardware Choices looked at how the platform’s hardware options simplify implementation of IoT devices. Part 2, here, examines the platform’s software architecture and its role in speeding end-to-end development of IoT applications. Find out more . . .

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