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RAIN RFID Alliance reports 15 billion RFID tag chips sold in 2018 ••• Know Labs RFID platform identifies blood-alcohol levels ••• Insight SiP launches BLE-enabled LoRa RF modules ••• Murata, Cypress, NXP collaborate on multi-platform Wi-Fi IoT solutions ••• Fujitsu intros new BLE wireless modules with Nordic Semiconductor SoC ••• Litmus Automation partners with Siemens on IoT edge-computing solutions for manufacturing.
By Rich Handley

Insight SiP Launches BLE-enabled LoRa RF Modules

Following the prior launch of its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modules, Insight SiP, a provider of ultra-miniature RF modules, is unveiling its ISP4520 modules, thereby extending its product portfolio to include long-range networking via LoRa technology. The ISP4520 module integrates BLE and LoRa radio functionality, combining short-range, high-throughput capability with smartphone/PC access to BLE and the long-range features of LoRa technology. The module uses Insight SiP's patented antenna-in-package technology with its system-in-package design approach to embed BLE and LoRa antennas into a single device measuring 9.8 millimeters by 17.2 millimeters by 1.7 millimeters.

LoRa technology offers a wide-area networking solution for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, typically in use cases requiring a limited data rate and long-term battery-powered operation. LoRa can operate via public networks and in a private network scenario. BLE offers a higher bandwidth channel for the device, which can be used for commissioning, software updates or maintenance, as well as for connecting local sensors to a central hub.

The BLE part of the ISP4520 integrates the WLCSP nRF52832 chip from Nordic Semiconductor and employs the design of Insight SiP's existing BLE product range. It comes with integrated 32 MHz or 32 KHz crystals, an RF antenna, and a matching circuit and DC-DC convertor. The ISP4520 device includes an ARM Cortex M4F processor with 512 KB of Flash memory and 64 KB of RAM. A set of interfaces is supplied for analog or digital peripherals, including 30 GPIOs, an analog-to-digital convertor, and SPI, I2C and UART buses. It also provides NFC connectivity for easy pairing.

"We're delighted to offer the ISP4520 to customers who want to integrate a high quality, low cost, ultra-miniature RF module into their products," said Nick Wood, Insight SiP's president, in a prepared statement. "The launch of this module represents a major extension of our product range with an Insight SiP quality solution for the wide area networking domain. We are proud to demonstrate this latest step forward for our unique Antenna in Package technology."

The module can operate on wide-area networks and is compatible with the LoRaWAN open standard developed by the LoRa Alliance. The module runs Nordic's Bluetooth soft device, which supports a Bluetooth V4.2 stack and is Bluetooth 5.0-ready. Module prototypes are available now, and mass production of the modules is slated to begin during the second quarter of this year, with certification pending. Insight SiP offers a development kit together with sample software.

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