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Friday, July 22, 2016

LoRa module shrinks in size for the IoT

By Nick Flaherty

Murata has launched a a compact standalone module that can easily connect devices to the Internet of things (IoT) via a LoRaWAN low power sub-GHz network.

The standalone compact module measures just 12.5 x 11.6 x 1.76 mm, is constructed in a metal shielded package and combines a Semtech SX1276 ultra long range spread spectrum wireless transceiver and an STMicro STM32L0 series ARM Cortex M0+ 32 bit microcontroller (MCU). An integrated TCXO that has robust low drift thermal characteristics provides an accurate clock source for the RF transceiver.

Communication with the module can be achieved via UART, SPI, or I2C peripheral interfaces. An ADC and up to 18 GPIOs provide plenty of flexibility for connecting sensors, switches and status LEDs, and the module is powered from a 2.2 to 3.6 VDC supply. The module has pre-certified radio regulatory approvals for operating in the 868 and 915 MHz industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) spectrum in most geographical regions of the world, making it easy to add to a design. Typical applications include smart metering, wearables, tracking, M2M and internet of things (IoT) edge nodes as the module can operate from – 40 to + 85 degrees C.

The normal output power is + 14 dBm but a power amplifier (PA) boost function can be selected to increase RF output to + 20dBm for long range applications or those where the end-device is sited in a poor signal location indoors.

The MCU includes 192 kB flash and 20 kB RAM, and has enough memory to embed customer applications and host other modulation stacks. In addition, an optional STSAFE secure element can be incorporated into the MCU to enhance the network security capabilities.

"We're excited to welcome a leader in wireless modules such as Murata into the LoRa ecosystem," said Marc Pegulu, Vice President and General Manager of Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Product Group. "Since Murata joined the LoRa Alliance, our teams have worked together to design a cost-effective, small form factor LoRaWAN module capable of supporting a wide range of sensors. We are confident Murata's new wireless module should help increase the adoption of the LoRaWAN platform worldwide, helping to make it the standard for LPWANs supporting low power IoT applications."

Mass production of the CMWX1ZZABZ-078 module will commence in October 2016.

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