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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Samsung starts volume shipments of its R4-based WiFi IoT chip

By Nick Flaherty

Samsung has started mass production of its first Exynos-branded chip for the Internet of Things (IoT), the Exynos i T200.

The part is different from mainstream IoT devices as it uses the ARM Cortex R4 real time processing core as well as an M0+ core as found in low end microcontrollers along with 1.4Mbytes of internal SRAM.

It is built on a low-power 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process and featuring high processing capabilities along with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n single-band (2.4GHz) connectivity, and has received the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance, and Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT. It also natively supports IoTivity, an IoT protocol standard from the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) for interoperability between IoT devices.The chip also integrates power amplifier, low-noise amplifier and T/R switches to reduce the system’s bill-of-material.

For security the processor has a separate and designated security management hardware block called the Security Sub-System (SSS). In addition, the Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) IP provides secure data storage and device authentication management without the need to fuse a key onto silicon, and rely on a discrete security IC for key storage. This security measure provides a much higher level of security compared to the conventional one-time programmable (OTP) based solutions.

“The Exynos i T200 is an IoT solution optimised to deliver both the performance and security demanded in the IoT market,” said Ben K. Hur, Vice President of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. “With various Exynos solution offerings, Samsung will deliver further differentiated value to not only mobile devices, but also non-mobile spaces, including automotive and IoT.”

The spec of the T200 maps with the Artik 053 WiFi IoT module developed by Samsung. This is based around an R4 core at 320MHz with a built-in security module that keeps its factory-installed certificates and keys safe. It runs Samsung's Tizen RT real time operating system that includes a compact RTOS with built-in TCP/IP stack and support for Lightweight Machine-to-machine (LWM2M) protocol. This also allows developers to use free tools such as ARTIK IDE, GCC C/C++ compilers, and OpenOCD, which would be expected with the T200.

The higher end 50 and 70 Artik modules use ARM Cortex A7 and A8 processors with graphics engines, while the lower end 020 and 030 module use M4-based Gecko controllers from Silicon Labs.

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