Integrating cellular technology is easier than ever with Digi XBee Cellular. Digi Chief Innovation Officer, Rob Faludi, gives a preview of what’s included in the Digi XBee Cellular LTE Cat 1 Development Kit and how to get started with the small, cost-effective, and fully-certified embedded modem.
With nearly a century of experience, the electric car pioneer Frazer-Nash designed the first zero-emission taxi in London. The hardware and software design teams spent 16 months trying to develop a chip-down solution before deciding to use a SOM from Digi. Frazer-Nash have since lowered development costs and improved its software throughput by a factor of 15x.
Join us and Digi-Key Electronics on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 11 AM ET as we host Frazer-Nash for a live webinar discussion of why they chose a SOM for their design. Below are four reasons to attend and see how systems on modules can improve your wireless designs:
1. Get a behind the scenes look at Frazer-Nash’s evaluation and design process
The Digi ConnectCore 6 system-on-module is one of the few design components not created in-house at Frazer-Nash, there was an extensive evaluation process and ROI hurdles before making the final decision. It is not very common that engineers will share the hidden design process but in this webinar you will hear first-hand what made this project a success with the following:
• Customer insights that directed design and decision making
• Challenges around power consumption
• Environmental, shock, and vibration
• Wireless connectivity
• Size/form factors for a variety of digital displays
• Manufacturability, quality, and certifications
2. Meet the experts behind powering the world’s first zero-emission cab
The Frazer-Nash design teams were led by two engineering experts who will be featured in this webinar and a Digi project expert. Learn more about these speakers:
Greg Starns, Executive Director Software Development Group, Frazer-Nash
“Digi’s solutions were one of the few technologies developed outside of Frazer-Nash and had to meet an incredibly high standards,” said Greg Starns, executive director of software, Frazer-Nash. “The Digi ConnectCore 6 has given us all the capabilities we had hoped for while cutting our development time 15-fold. Its intelligence and usability fell perfectly in line with what we expect from our own development.”
Steven Riddel, Electronics Design Manager, Frazer-Nash
Terry Schneider, VP Product Management, Digi International
3. Receive answers to the most common questions of how SOMs can improve your wireless design
• When does it make sense to use a SOM?
• How do you assess SOM features for your project?
• What are key drivers in selecting a SOM provider?
• How to choose the right wireless protocol for your application?
• What software and tools will support your application?
• How to factor in security into your connected product?
4. Win a FREE development kit
For a chance to win a FREE Digi ConnectCore 6 Development Kit, (1) register for the webinar, (2) follow @DigiDotCom and (3)Tweet at us using the Hashtag #DigiSOMs from now through March 29, 2017 for your chance to win a FREE Digi ConnectCore 6 Development Kit.
The following is an excerpt from a recent guest post in Electronic Design’s ‘11 Myths’ series, from Digi Principal RF Engineer, Matthew Schellin. In it, Matthew discusses some common myths about cellular carrier certification to avoid.
1. FCC testing is all that we need for the device
The certification requirements for each carrier are very specific. Although they sometimes adhere to certain Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements, they typically include specifications that are unique to each specific network.
2. We don’t need to go through PTCRB certification because we’re using a PTCRB-certified module
Modules can be PTCRB-certified. When a device integrates such a module, the device will still be required to go through PTCRB testing. The process will test the interfaces that changed between the approval of the module and the device under test (DUT). These typically include the SIM card, power supply, and antenna (OTA) interfaces. PTCRB testing for products that contain pre-certified modules includes RSIC and radiated spurious emissions (RSE).
3. As long as we follow the module reference design, we will have low risk of failing certification
Following the reference design will help with certification, but doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of failing certification. The surrounding circuitry will affect the performance of the module. Noise from power supplies, cables, or LCD screens has been shown to produce noise in the cellular band that will impact sensitivity levels and lead to certification failures.
4. Our device already has FCC certification, so we can add cellular capability without any issues
FCC certification doesn’t guarantee carrier certification. Some of the things carrier certifications focus on aren’t covered by FCC certification, including RSIC and TIS levels.
5. Our device is certified on one carrier, so we’re good to get onto any carrier network
Each carrier is unique and will have a different set of requirements to meet before the product is allowed on their network. Some carriers care primarily about PTCRB certification and less about factors such as TIS; some require additional testing for Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks; some rely on FCC compliance for RSE testing and others don’t go that route. It’s critical that designers and engineers are aware of the most up-to-date information on each carrier’s requirements.
New cellular protocols are set to roll out in 2017 to provide low power and low cost cellular connectivity for industrial Internet of Things applications. Digi Chief Innovator, Rob Faludi, explains both LTE-M and NB-IoT low bandwidth protocols by breaking down the differences between the two and sharing some examples of their use in industrial applications.
The 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) is a global consortium of various telecommunications associations. In the late 1990s, the 3GPP was organized to establish 3G cellular specifications based on evolved Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) specifications within the scope of the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 project of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Since then the scope of 3GPP standards have expanded to cover 4G LTE and evolving standards like LTE Cat 3, LTE Cat 4 and LTE Cat 1. Carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Vodafone are rapidly rolling out networks for LTE-M and NB-IoT.
Let’s sort it out:
Example Applications for Narrowband Cellular
These new narrowband standards have made cellular relevant for applications that only need to connect once in a while and send small packets of data. The makers of remotely deployed sensors and equipment that operates in far flung places, often running on battery or solar power, now have a cellular connectivity option. Digi XBee Cellular simplifies embedded cellular connectivity by reducing or eliminating the time and cost of development and certification to incorporate cellular technology into a wide array of applications.
Lighting for streets and parking lots – centrally manage and control city-wide networks of street lights.
Oil & Gas and industrial process controls – keep an eye on remote equipment, such as tank levels, temperature, pressure and other sensors.
Variable message signage (VMS) – applications ranging from signage to traffic sensors.
Environmental monitoring – solar panels can report power generation hourly to a cloud-based applications.
Regardless of our age, we can all attest to the advancements the automobile industry has made throughout its history, but the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated this change even more with smart cars, hybrid and fully electric cars, and strides being made towards to self-driving cars. It is truly fascinating and our imaginations are sparked with automotive innovation on all scales from green transportation to open-source development platforms, like M2 by Machinna.
Macchina M2 is an open source automotive interface that allows car hobbyists, enthusiasts, and professionals the creative ability to program a device and service into the automotive aftermarket. This ‘one-to-many’ interface allows engineers to design a single device that will sync with different firmware and software architecture. The device includes an Arduino board, equipped with a USB port, LEDs, SD card slot, built in EEPROM, and is compatible with Digi XBee. This socket compatibility combined with the Digi XBee family footprint, users can embed cellular connectivity with Digi XBee cellular. This means makers can bypass complicated end-device certifications and provides end-users the option to upload and download live data. Check out theFirst Look: Macchina M2article on Hackaday for more software and hardware design details.
We are excited to partner with this project and our community to bring embedded cellular IoT innovation to the automotive industry. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to connect Macchina to Digi XBee Cellular, and let us know what you think!
With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its expanded communications requirements, comes the increase of IoT devices designed and manufactured for use on cellular networks. To keep the wide availability of cellular WANs under control combined with the demand for IoT solutions, cellular carriers maintain high compliance standards that require certifications tests before an IoT device is allowed on their networks. This compliance process is complicated, complex and ever-changing due to the variety of carrier requirements and how they may vary from one product design to the next.
Below are four recommendations to stay ahead of cellular carrier requirements and passing initial carrier certifications – the first time:
Know the key design functions of supporting compliance
Successful cellular compliance is divided into two key parts – hardware and firmware designs. Selecting the correct module, antenna and EMI control for your cellular IoT device are critical hardware design functions. To support carrier certifications your firmware should include manual cellular module control, a fallback option to retry data connection, and supported firmware updates along with over-the-air-provisioning.
Consider carrier requirements in the early stages of design
Product design teams have several moving parts to account for when creating project plans for new cellular products. This has frequently caused cellular compliance to be overlooked by designers until the last minute or until it is too late, which often results in first-test failures.
Avoid common myths about cellular carrier certifications
Each cellular carrier requires a variety of individual standards when designing and manufacturing cellular devices, beyond FCC certification requirements, which complicates and confuses the compliance process. This is why OEMs, manufacturers and solution providers should not make any assumptions and should avoid common myths, like the ones mentioned in 11 Myths about Cellular Certification Requirements.
Partner with a proven expert
Working with a proven expert to manage the wide range of carrier requirements will help save resources and increase time to market, without the hassle and headache of having a product fail certification tests. Working with a specialist like, Digi Wireless Design Services, from the early design phase to the final product launch will provide the experience needed to pass both FCC and carrier certification tests.