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Monday, July 11, 2016

Altair uses software defined radio for dual mode LTE-M IoT chipset

By Nick Flaherty

Altair Semiconductor, recently bought by Sony, has launched a new embedded chipset that will enable lower cost cellular connections for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The dual-mode FourGee-1210 CAT-1/CAT-M chipset will be available later this year, enabling a smooth transition to the next standard of Cellular IoT networks through a software defined radio architecture.

While CAT-1 chipsets have been deployed around the world for a wide range of IoT applications, both carriers and vendors have been pursuing the emerging CAT-M (CAT-M1) and NB-IoT (CAT-NB1) standards that offer extended coverage and battery life. Altair believes there will be a lengthy transition period until there exists sufficient coverage and standards maturity to enable complete conversion to CAT-M and NB-IoT and a CAT-1 option will be needed until the ecosystem is ready to fully adopt these standards.

"Like any migration to a new cellular network, the complex transition from CAT-1 to CAT-M will take time and could potentially delay carrier and vendor rollouts," said Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Altair. "Altair's FourGee-1210 chipset will facilitate a smooth migration to CAT-M adoption, providing the ecosystem with the combined solution it needs for the next 18-24 months."

The single receiver handles both CAT-1 and CAT-M with a seamless switchover and low bill-of-materials cost, as well as low power consumption. Altair has also built in a Software Defined Radio (SDR) feature to allow over-the-air firmware upgrades (FOTA) to accommodate new versions of the CAT-M standard.

The FourGee-1210 chipset will reach the market by the end of 2016 alongside the projected launch of the first CAT-M networks. 

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