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Friday, July 07, 2017

IoT kit to drive 802.11ac wireless with ARM R4 controller

By Nick Flaherty

Cypress Semiconductor has teamed up with distributor Arrow Electronics on new WiFi development kits for the Internet of Things (IoT), including one for the latest high speed 802.11ac MIMO multiple antenna standard.

The Quicksilver kits use Cypress’ Wireless Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) platform acquired from Broadcom, with an 802.11ac kit due by the end of the year. This will provide a module that can be used as the hub for IoT designs using the CYW54907 microcontroller. This integrates a 320MHz ARM Cortex-R4 application processor and a 802.11ac subsystem for bridging for IoT gateways and synchronized streaming audio solutions. Like 802.11n, this supports dual-band 2.4- and 5-GHz radio with 20-, 40- and 80-MHz channels with up to 433Mbit/s performance.

This would connect to wireless nodes using the CYW43455 which combines 802.11ac, low-power Bluetooth 4.2 and BLE for smart home products such as security cameras that require high-speed Wi-Fi combined with low power BLE connections for motion sensing.

“Wi-Fi is the backbone of Internet connectivity, and 802.11ac high-performance Wi-Fi has become the standard for enterprise infrastructure and home gateways,” said Michael Hogan, Vice President of the IoT Business Unit at Cypress. “802.11ac is now beginning to ramp in IoT devices, helping them meet coexistence challenges in sharing the crowded 2.4-GHz band with Bluetooth devices, delivering cleaner air for audio, video and voice control data, as well as improved network performance for multi-user environments.”

The WICED-based Quicksilver kit provides the flexibility to build quickly now and streamline design enhancements later. Customers can quickly get to market with a certified module that provides turnkey cloud connectivity software and then migrate to cost or performance-driven production solutions while maintaining hardware and software compatibility.

The first Quicksilver kit will provide users with complete design capabilities to implement the WICED Studio SDK and features Arduino-compatible headers for expansion capability. The kit includes temperature, humidity and three-axis motion sensors to design a complete IoT edge device for a broad range of end markets, including factory automation, lighting, smart irrigation, home appliances and home automation.

“The strength of Cypress’ IoT portfolio is its combination of low-power wireless and MCU technology that fuels ubiquitous device access and control. Together, Arrow and Cypress will help customers solve power, range and reliability problems in IoT applications,” said Aiden Mitchell, vice president of IoT global solutions at Arrow. “Quicksilver allows our customers access to a great development experience.”

“Developers are looking for an easy way to add robust Wi-Fi connectivity to their products. The Quicksilver development platform backed by Arrow’s support provides them with a straightforward path,” said Andrew Hunter, senior director of marketing for the IoT business unit at Cypress. “Quicksilver brings Wi-Fi connectivity and our WICED Studio SDK to a wide range of customers. We will expand the platform to include 802.11ac high-performance Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, addressing the trend toward integrating both with robust connectivity and multi-protocol coexistence.”

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