Pre-integrated Release 13 Cat-NB1 modem SoC

February 27, 2017 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
CEVA, Inc., and Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) have introduced the Dragonfly NB1, a comprehensive cost- and power-optimized NB-IoT system aimed at streamlining the development of LTE IoT devices.

Reference silicon of the complete modem design, including embedded CMOS RF transceiver, advanced digital front-end, physical layer software and third party protocol stack (MAC, RLC, PDCP, RRC and NAS) will be available this June.

Dragonfly NB1 leverages CEVA's long heritage of low power DSPs and modem design and ASTRI's experience in RF and IC Design technologies. Together, the companies have collaborated to produce a complete M2M endpoint system that offers best-in-class performance and power consumption, that is easily integrated into a SoC. Dragonfly NB1 not only reduces the time taken to get NB-IoT products certified, but also provides Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) SoC designers with a flexible, software-upgradeable platform with key benefits in terms of die size and power consumption:

The Dragonfly NB1 is enabled by a single CEVA-X1 IoT processor, capable of running the complete PHY and protocol stack software for NB-IoT in addition to other associated workloads such as GNSS and sensing. It eliminates the need for additional processors and hardware accelerators in the SoC and allows in-the-field upgrades to Release 14 eNB-IoT and other future releases.

The CEVA-X1 IoT processor architecture includes specialized NB-IoT instructions and mechanisms to speed up PHY, MAC and encryption execution, further reducing clock speed and power consumption. It can also support other LPWA standards and workloads such as Cat-M1, LoRa, SigFox and voice.

Dragonfly NB1 incorporates highly power-efficient multi-standard RF with embedded PA, LNA, DC-DC and DCXO technology for NB-IoT and GNSS (GPS and BeiDou), shortening development time and reducing the overall module bill of materials.

Memory is a critical consideration for NB-IoT, as it directly influences the cost, silicon area and  overall form factor of the module. Dragonfly NB1 is specifically designed to operate with embedded flash by incorporating an optimized low latency memory subsystem with a dedicated cache controller. The solution also includes a specialized security unit for a fully-trusted system.