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Posts Tagged ‘m2m’

Weightless-P Standard is Designed for High Performance, Low Power, 2-Way Communication for IoT

August 10th, 2015 No comments

Weightless was unveiled over two years ago, as a new standards for IoT leveraging “white space” spectrum, previously used by analog TV broadcasts, for free M2M / IoT communication using low power (10 years battery life) and cost-efficient hardware ($2 hardware) offering a range of 5 to 10 km. Development kits and base stations were scheduled for Q2 2014, but there’s either been some delays or they are only available to Weightless members, as you need to register to get notified once hardware becomes available.

WeightlessThe Weightless SIG (Special Interest Group) has not stopped working on the standard as there are now three Weightless standards: Weightless-W (using White band spectrum), Weightless-N (sub-GHz spectrum), and and newly announced Weightless-P offering similar features as 3GPP carrier grade solutions, but at lower costs and lower power consumption.

The key features of Weightless-P are shown below:

  • Excellent capacity and scalability for IoT deployment
    • FDMA+TDMA in 12.5kHz narrow band channels offer optimal capacity for uplink-dominated traffic from a very large number of devices with moderate payload sizes
    • Operates over the whole range of license-exempt sub-GHz ISM/SRD bands for global deployment: 169/433/470/780/868/915/923MHz
    • Flexible channel assignment for frequency re-use in large-scale deployments
    • Adaptive data rate from 200bps to 100kbps to optimise radio resource usage depending on device link quality
    • Transmit power control for both downlink and uplink to reduce interference and maximize network capacity
    • Time-synchronised base stations for efficient radio resource scheduling and utilisation
  • Bidirectional
    • Supports both network-originated and device-originated traffic
    • Paging capability
    • Low latency in both uplink and downlink
    • Fast network acquisition
    • Forward Error Correction (FEC)
    • Automatic Retransmission Request (ARQ)
    • Adaptive Channel Coding (ACC)
    • Handover, Roaming, Cell re-selection
  • Long range
    • Lower data rates with channel coding provide similar link budget to other LPWAN technologies
    • 2km in urban environment
  • Industrial-grade reliability
    • Fully acknowledged communications
    • Auto-retransmission upon failure
    • Frequency and time synchronisation
    • Supports narrowband channels (12.5KHz) with frequency hopping for robustness to multi-path and narrowband interference
    • Channel coding
    • Supports licensed spectrum operation
  • Ultra-low energy consumption
    • GMSK and offset-QPSK modulation for optimal power amplifier efficiency
    • Interference-immune offset-QPSK modulation using Spread Spectrum for improved link quality in busy radio environments
    • Transmit power up to 17dBm to allow operation from coin cell batteries
    • Adaptive transmit power and data rate to maximize battery-life
    • Power consumption in idle state when stationary below 100uW (vs 3mW for the best cellular technologies)
  • Secure and efficient networking
    • Authentication to the network
    • AES-128/256 encryption
    • Radio resource management and scheduling across the overall network to ensure quality-of-service to all devices
    • Support for over-the-air firmware upgrade and security key negotiation or replacement
    • Fast network acquisition and frequency/time synchronization
  • Low cost and complexity
    • Using standard GMSK and offset-QPSK modulation channels ensures broad availability of hardware and no dependency on a single vendor
    • Compared to UNB, narrowband operation is less sensitive to frequency offset and drift, allowing the use of lower cost, lower power XOs or DCXOs instead of TCXOs
    • Maximal transmit power of 17dBm allows for integrated power amplifier
  • Open standard
    • Brings the reliability and performance of cellular technologies at a fraction of the cost by avoiding any legacy or backward-compatibility concerns
    • Ensures interoperability between the manufacturers
    • Provides for multi-vendor support to stimulate ongoing innovation and minimize end user costs
    • Royalty free IP minimizes production costs

Hardware for the new Weightless-P standard will be available in Q1 2016.

You may wonder about the differences between Weightless-W/-N/-P and which one you should use for your IoT project. The Interest group published a table comparing the three standards.

Weightless-N Weightless-P Weightless-W
Directionality 1-way 2-way 2-way
Feature set Simple Full Extensive
Range 5km+ 2km+ 5km+
Battery life 10 years 3-8 years 3-5 years
Terminal cost Very low Low Low-medium
Network cost Very low Medium Medium

So if one way communication is suitable, go with Weightless-N, if the “white-space” spectrum is available in your country go with Weightless-W, and otherwise you may want to select Weightless-P for high performance 2-way communications.

You can find some information on all three royalty-free  standards on Weightless technical information page. But if you want access to the full specifications for your project(s), you’ll need to become a Weightless members with membership starting at 900 GBP (~$1400) per year for “associate” members.

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WiPy Wi-Fi Board for IoT Runs MicroPython on Texas Instruments CC3200 (Crowdfunding)

April 24th, 2015 29 comments

If you’ve interested in connecting devices via Wi-Fi, you’re being spoiled as “Internet of things” boards keeps getting designed and produced. The latest board with WiPy, a small board powered by Texas Instruments CC3200, running MicroPython, and consuming less than 1mA in suspended mode with Wi-Fi connected.

WiPyWiPy specifications:

  • MCU – TI CC3200 ARM Cortex-M4 @ 80 MHz with 256KB RAM, Wi-Fi and TCP/IP stack
  • Storage – 2MB flash
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11b/g/n 16Mbps (AP, Station and WiFi-Direct), on-board antenna and u.FL connector
  • Expansion – 2x 14-pin headers (2.54mm pitch) with
    • Up to 25 GPIOs
    • 2x UART, SPI, I2C, I2S, and SD card
    • 3×12 bit ADCs
  • Others
    • 4×16 bit timers with PWM and input capture
    • RTC
    • Hash and encryption engines: SHA, MD5, DES, AES
    • Reset switch, heartbeat LED
  • Power Supply – 3.6 – 5.5V DC input; 3.3V output up to 250mA
  • Power Consumption – Active: 14 mA; Suspended (Wi-Fi connected): 850 uA; Hibernating (No Wi-Fi): 5 uA
  • Dimensions – 25mm x 45mm (1.0″ x 1.77″)

WiPy_MicroPythonBeside low power consumption, the board can switch from suspended to active mode in less than 5 ms, send some data, and go back to sleep, with the developers claiming several years on a single battery charge with this type of activity.

The board run MicroPython and so it can be programmed using Python 3.4, minus some functions like “with” or “yield from”. You’ll notice no USB port on the board that can be used for programming, that’s because you’d normally connect via Telnet to access the console, and program the board from there, and alternatively you can also connect via FTP to upload Python scripts or other files. WiPy supports BSD sockets, and MicroPython compatible librairies are being worked on to handle HTTP, SMTP, XMPP, FTP, and MQTT, and since the TI MCU also support hardware hash and encryption, secure HTTPS and SSL connection will also be available.

MicroPython_GPIO

Sample code to toggle a GPIO in Python

There aren’t any shields for WiPy, as it’s breadboard compatible so you can easily connect it to your existing modules for your project, but they’re still in the process of developing an expansion board with a micro USB and battery connectors, FT234XD USB to  serial converter, a LiPo charger, a micro SD socket, two prototyping areas, and more.

WiPy_Baseboard

MicroPython source code for CC3200 is already available on WiPy github account, and the hardware files are being promised once the project is about to ship.

WiPy has just reached its 30,000 Euros target on Kickstarter, where you can pledge 27 Euros to get WiPy with the headers of your choice (male, female, double stackable, or none), or 37 Euros to also include the expansion board above. Shipping is included, and delivery scheduled for August 2015. You can find more details, ask question on their forums, and soon access tutorials on www.wipy.io.

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NodeMCU is both a Breadboard-Friendly ESP8266 Wi-Fi Board and a LUA based Firmware

April 18th, 2015 7 comments

NodeMCU is a LUA based interactive firmware for Expressif ESP8622 Wi-Fi SoC, as well as an open source hardware board that contrary to the $3 ESP8266 Wi-Fi modules includes a CP2102 TTL to USB chip for programming and debugging, is breadboard-friendly, and can simply be powered via its micro USB port.

NodeMCU_Development_BoardLet’s checkout the hardware first. The latest version of the board (V1.0) has the following specifications and features:

  • Wi-Fi Module – ESP-12E module similar to ESP-12 module but with 6 extra GPIOs.
  • USB – micro USB port for power, programming and debugging
  • Headers – 2x 2.54mm 15-pin header with access to GPIOs, SPI, UART, ADC, and power pins
  • Misc – Reset and Flash buttons
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 49 x 24.5 x 13mm
NodeMCU Headers' Pinout

NodeMCU Headers’ Pinout

The hardware documentation for the board can be found on nodemcu-devkit repo, including schematics and PCB layout designed with Altium Designer, but they should also be compatible with the cheaper Altium CircuitStudio. Sadly, the files have not been updated for 3 to 4 months, so they don’t completely match the latest hardware shown above, and some pins were not connected in the earlier version.

NodeMCU can be purchased for $10 and up on Aliexpress or Seeed Studio. However, it’s not entirely clear which version of the board is sold… The Aliexpress shop shows hardware v0.9, but says they will send the latest version, while Seeed Studio mentions NodeMCU “v2”,  and shows picture of v1.0 hardware, which should be the one you want. The new board will also be up for sale in Europe on nodemcu.eu for 15 to 18 Euros including VAT.

NodeMCU firmware is build with ESP8266 SDK v.0.9.5, based on Lua 51.4 without debug and os modules, lua-cjson, and relies on spiffs (SPI Flash File System) file system. The quick start guide is written on the bottom of the board:

  1. Install CP2102 driver (not needed in Linux)
  2. Use 9600 baud rate
  3. Connect Wi-Fi and enjoy!

Once you are connected, you can just type the command in the terminal. For example to connecting to your Wi-Fi router:

wifi.setmode(wifi.STATION)
wifi.sta.config("SSID","password")
print(wifi.sta.getip())
--192.168.18.110

You can also toggle or/and read GPIO status in a similar way to what you’d with Arduino:

pin = 1
gpio.mode(pin,gpio.OUTPUT)
gpio.write(pin,gpio.HIGH)
gpio.mode(pin,gpio.INPUT)
print(gpio.read(pin))

To get the board automatically run a script right after boot is complete, you can edit init.lua as follows:

file.open("init.lua","w+")
file.writeline(print("hello world"))
file.close()

You can find the firmware source code and documentation on Github, as well as nodemcu-flasher, a Windows only tools to flash the firmware to a module. There’s also a separate tool called esptool that will let you flash nodemcu from Linux. In case you find the documentation is all over the place, you might want to checkout NodeMCU video tutorial below.

Nodemcu.com is the official website for the project, but you’ll find more information on Github. You can also get answers to your questions on their BBS or ESP8622 community forums.

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Baseball Nano-ITX i.MX6 Board Targets Secure Industrial M2M and IoT Products

March 31st, 2015 No comments

Calao Systems has introduced a new Freescale i.MX6 single board computer with Baseball embedded platform, targetting network-connected industrial M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) applications requiring a high-level of security achieved with an FIPS 140-2 trusted platform module, and Crypto Authentication chip.

Calao_Systems_BaseballThe board is comprised of a Nano-ITX based board and a Freescale.iMX6 (Solo, Dual or Quad) SMARC 1.1 module with the following combined specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale iMX6 Solo, Dual or Quad Cortex A9 processor @ up to 1GHz with Vivante GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L,
  • Storage
    • On Module: 8 GB e-MMC, 8 MB SPI Flash, 1x EEPROM with unique S/N and MAC address
    • On Baseboard: 1x Micro-SD socket, 1x Industrial Grade eMMC NANDrive (optional), 1x Industrial Grade SATA Nandrive (optional),
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio Output – HDMI and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x SIM card slot
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 Host, 1x USB OTG
  • Expansion
    • 3x Expansion connectors with AFB, GPIO,. LVDS, SPI, etc…
    • 2x Full Size Mini PCI Express / mSATA socket
    • 1x RS232 serial port
    •  3x TTL serial port
    • 2x CAN bus
    • 1x Camera port, 1x CSI port
  • Security –  1x Trusted Platform Module (TPM), 1x Crypto Authentication chip
  • Sensors – 1x Temperature, Humidity & Pressure Sensor, 1x Accelerometer on SoM, 1x Temperature and Humidity sensor on Carrier board.
  • Misc – RTC with BR1632A Lithium Battery, Power On/Off, Reset & User LED & PB
  • Power – Dual power supply mode (PowerPath controller):
    • Main power supply 9-36 VAC/VDC (12V / 3A),
    • Auxiliary power supply 9-36VDC
  • Dimensions
    • Baseboard – 120×120 mm (Nano-ITX)
    • Module – 80×50 mm (SMARC)
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to +85°C
Baseball Board Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Baseball Board Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

The company solution will be delivered in an anodized aluminum enclosure, and come pre-loaded with a “qualified Linux open source package maintained in mainline”.  The mini PCIe slots are said to support LoRa, 3G, LTE, and Sigfox wireless modules, as well as other compliant PCIe modules for GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc… functions. Few technical details about the software are available publicly right now, but these might eventually show up on baseballboard.org.

Baseball boards will sample in May, with volume production scheduled for this summer.

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Spark Electron Cellular Module for M2M Projects Comes with a $3 Monthly Data Plan (Crowdfunding)

February 26th, 2015 1 comment

Spark IO started with Spark Core, a tiny Wi-Fi module, followed with Spark Photon is a cheaper, faster, and tinier Wi-Fi module, and now the company is launching Spark Electron to bring cellular connectivity to hobbyist projects at an affordable cost and small form factor.

Spark_Electron

Spark Electron specifications:

  • MCU – ST Micro STM32F205 ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller @ 120 MHz with  1MB Flash, 128K RAM
  • Cellular Connectivity – U-Blox SARA U-series (3G) or G-series (2G) modem + NanoSIM card slot + u.FL connector for Antenna
  • Headers – 36 pins with 28 GPIOs (D0-D13, A0-A13), plus TX/RX, 2 GNDs, VIN, VBAT, WKP, 3V3, RST
  • USB – micro USB port for power and programming
  • Misc – Setup and reset buttons, LED
  • Dimensions – 5.08 cm x 2.03 cm x 0.76 cm (1.27 cm including headers)

The board can be programmed with Wiring (Arduino’s programming language), C/C++, or ARM assembly. It’s longer than Spark Core/Photon, but still compatible with existing shields.

M2M_Number_SMS_Typical_UseOne problem individuals may have for M2M cellular projects is to find a low SIM card, so the company is also providing a SIM card with a no contract $2.99 monthly plan that currently works in the US, Canada and Europe. The carrier? Themselves, as they have become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and manage towers and carrier relationship. The plan is good for 1MB data, or about 20,000 SMS with a 50 bytes size, and each additional megabyte cost $0.99.

Spark WebIDE

Spark Dev / Web IDE

Development can be done via the company Web IDE running in your browser, or Spark Dev IDE based on Atom project currently available for Windows and Mac, and Linux coming soon. So if you are using Linux, you’ll probably want to go with the Web IDE initially. As previously mentioning, if you’re used to developed on Arduino, Wiring is supported, and development will feel very similar. A REST API is also available, and you can control the module with SparkJS (JavaScript), webhooks, IFTTT, etc.. The core firmware use standards like HTTP, AES, RSA, and CoAP based on open source software.

If you’d like to add cellular connectivity to your objects (maybe your bicycle), but are not into programming, you can use Tinker mobile app for iOS and Android. Spark Electron firmware can be upgraded over the air (FOTA) without any cable.

The project is up on Kickstarter, and has already largely surpassed its $30,000 with $120,000 pledged so far. All early bird reward are gone, but you can still get  Spark Electron 2G with a SIM card for $39, and Spark Electron 3G with a SIM card for $59. They also have other kits adding GPS, battery, sensors and various quantities of Electron module. Shipping is free to the US and between $10 to $25 to the countries part of the campaign, and delivery is planned for October 2015. The company notes that 2G networks will be phased out in 2017 in the US, and recommends the 3G module to US residents.

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Atmel Introduces Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Combo SoCs for the Internet of Things

January 22nd, 2015 3 comments

Atmel has recently announced two SoCs supporting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 that target M2M and IoT applications, namely WILC3000 wireless link controller and WINC3400 network controller which both integrate a power amplifier, LNA, switch and power management unit.

WILC3000 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

WILC3000 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

WILC3000 and WINC3400 should share the following specifications:

  • MCU – Cortus APS3 32-bit processor
  • ROM/Flash – 256KB instruction/boot ROM (160KB for 802.11 and 96KB for Bluetooth) along with a 768 bits of non-volatile eFuse memory
  • RAM – 420KB instruction RAM (128KB for 802.11 and 292KB for Bluetooth), and a 128KB data RAM (64KB for 802.11 and 64KB for Bluetooth), as well as 160KB shared/exchange RAM (128KB for 802.11 and 32 KB for Bluetooth)
  • Wi-Fi

    • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n RF/PHY/MAC SOC (2.4 GHz)
    • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (1×1) for up to 72 Mbps
    • Wi-Fi Direct and Soft-AP support
    • Supports IEEE 802.11 WEP, WPA, WPA2 Security, China WAPI security
  • Bluetooth
    • Version 4.0 Low Energy
    • Class 1 & 2 transmission
    • HCI (Host Control Interface) via high speed UART
    • PCM audio interface
  • On-chip memory management engine to reduce host load
  • 1x SPI, 1x SDIO, 1x I2C, and 1x UART host interfaces
  • Operating Voltage – 2.7 – 3.3 V
  • Operating temperature range – -30°C to +85°C
  • Package – 6x6mm QFN;  48 pins. WLCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package) is also available.

According to the information available on Atmel website WILC3400 adds the following:

  • Fast boot options:
    • On-Chip Boot ROM (firmware instant boot)
    • SPI flash boot (firmware patches and state variables)
    • Low-leakage on-chip memory for state variables
    • Fast AP re-association (150ms)
  • On-Chip Network Stack to offload MCU:
    • Integrated Network IP stack to minimize host CPU requirements
    • Network features: TCP, UDP, DHCP, ARP, HTTP, SSL, and DNS

So as I understand it the main difference between WILC3000 and WINC3400 is that the former provides low level Bluetooth / Wi-Fi connectivity, but the IP stack must be handled on a separate MCU / processor, while the latter also embeds the IP stack and Bluetooth Smart profiles.

WILC3000 chip is available now, and a fully certified module of this chip will be available in April 2015, and WINC3400 SiP and its module will be also be available at the same time. Pricing information has not be disclosed. A WINC3400 integrated module on an Xplained Starter Kit platform is also planned for Q2 2015. A few more details can be found on WILC3000 and WINC3400 product pages, including WILC3000 datasheet.

Via Embedded.com

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Categories: Hardware, Processors Tags: atmel, bluetooth, IoT, m2m, wifi

Gemalto Cinterion Concept Board Features 3G Connectivity, Arduino Headers for Secure Java M2M Applications

December 22nd, 2014 No comments

Gemalto is a digital security company providing software solutions, smart cards, and secure modules, and one the largest manufacturer of SIM cards. The company has launched a developer board earlier this year called Cinterion Concept Board with the company’s Cinterion EHS6 M2M Java embedded machine-to-machine (M2M) 3G module, and Arduino compatible headers.

Cinterion_Concept_BoardCinterion Concept Board specifications:

  • 2G/3G M2M Module – Gemalto Cinterion ESH6 with Java ME embedded support
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • GPRS/EDGE Class 12, HSPA, 5 bands 3G, 4 bands 2G.
    • Voice support.
    • On-board antenna (top left side on picture)
    • SIM card holder
  • Expansion
    • Arduino Compatible headers
    • 8 GPIO with level shifters, and corresponding LEDs
  • USB – 1x mini USB port for power, 1x mini USB port for debugging and power
  • Misc – Start on/off, and user buttons, LEDs for serial interface.
  • Power – 5V via either mini USB ports, solder pads for external battery.
  • Dimensions – N/A

The board is programmed using Java ME 3.2, and supports FOTA (Firmware OTA updates).  Unfortunately few details are available, as the company only provides support with the SDK and documentation to people who bought the board. Having said that, one developers provided a quick start guide and close-up pictures of the board in Russian so it can get a better idea of the board interface, and what it is capable of. A video entitled Introduction to Java ME Development with Gemalto Concept Boardexplains how to get started with programming, and makes clear a Windows PC is required for development with Java ME SDK 3.2 and NetBeans 7.x.

A quick demo with a fan shows it’s possible to use to board to start and stop a fan by making a phone call to the board.

The board sells for 99 Euros excluding VAT and shipping via Gemalto distributors. More details can be found on Gemalto’s Cinterion Concept Board page.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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Freescale LS1021A-IOTA IoT Gateway Reference Design Powered by QorIQ LS1021A Dual ARM Cortex A7 SoC

October 6th, 2014 3 comments

Freescale has just launched a an IoT gateway reference design powered by their QorIQ LS1021A communication processors running Linux/OpenWRT, designed in partnership with TechNexion, and targeting various IoT applications such as building/home management, smart cities, networked industrial services, etc… Beside the dual core Cortex A7 QoirIQ processor, the board features six Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a SATA 3 port, two mini PCIe connector, an LVDS interface, HDMI output, Arduino UNO compatible headers, and various others expansions headers.

IoT Gateway Reference Design Board (Click to Enlarge)

IoT Gateway Reference Design Board (Click to Enlarge)

LS1021A-IOTA IoT gateway Specifications:

LS1021A IoT Gateway Enclosure (Click to Enlarge)

LS1021A IoT Gateway Enclosure (Click to Enlarge)

  • SoC – Freescale QorIQ LS1021A dual core Cortex A7 communication processor @ 1 GHz (5,000 coremarks)
  • MCU – Freescale Kinetis K20 Cortex M micro-controller
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 1 Gb QSPI NOR Flash, SDHC slot (up to 32 GB) populated with a 4GB SD card, 1x mSATA 3 slot
  • Connectivity – 6x Gigabit ports via SGMII (Serial Gigabit Media Independent Interface) and RGMII (Reduced Gigabit Media Independent Interface) interfaces
  • Display I/F
    • 24-bit LVDS LCD interface muxed with QE UART (QUICCEngine UART) to header for PROFIBUS or RS485 (external transceiver required)
    • HDMI connector
  • Audio I/F – Audio in and out
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2 mini port, and USB signals via mini PCIe interfaces
  • Expansions and I/Os:
    • Arduino UNO compatible headers with I2C, SPI, Analog in, etc..
    • 1x Terminal (USB to UART)
    • Header with 1x Four wire LP-UART to Arduino connector (ZigBee), SPI, and ADC
    • GPIO expansion header
    • GPIO, Flextimer, and CAN header
    • 2x mini PCIe (x1) slots
    • 6x Interrupts
    • 1x SPI, 2x I2C
    • 13x GPIO or 8x FTM (PWM)
  • Sensors – MMA8451Q 3-axis MEMS sensor
  • Certification – FCC Class B and CE
  • Power Supply – 12V. MC32VR500 regulator. Under 3 watts typical power consumption.
  • Dimensions – 20.3 x 17.8 x 6.4 cm (full system with enclosure)

The full kit include the board, a metallic enclosure, a 12V/5A power supply, a micro USB cable, and HDMI cables, and SD card with software and documentation. The company provide Linux and OpenWRT for the board, reference design files (schematics, layout, and BOM), as well as an hardware quick start guide and a user guide.

IoT Gateway Block Diagram

LSIoT Gateway Block Diagram

The reference design is “production ready” so that OEMs can bring products based on this design faster market, and a lesser load on their R&D teams. Freescale’s QorIQ LS1021A IoT gateway is available for order from Freescale for $429 (USD). Further details are available on LS1012A-IoT product page, including a video with an overview of the kit with a better look at the various ports, and a demo using MQTT protocol with two Freescale Freedom boards, and uploading data to IBM Cloud services. It also shows how the gateway is programmed with Node-RED JavaScript graphical environment.

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