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Smartrac offers UHF RFID beer keg tags; JADAK unveils RFID starter kit; HID Global helps BigWise add fingerprint biometric authentication to POS solution; Traxens selects AVSystem IoT platform for smart container management; Nordic Semiconductor intros modem based on its LTE-M/NB-IoT SiP; Thingstream launches connectivity solution for LoRaWAN networks; OptConnect adds Banyan Hills Technologies' IoT platform canopy to its development kits.
By Rich Handley

Nordic Semiconductor Intros Modem Based on Its LTE-M/NB-IoT SiP

Nordic Semiconductor has announced that cellular Internet of Things (IoT) products and applications can now be brought to market within days using the first publicly announced third-party modem to be based on Nordic's multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT nRF9160 system-in-package (SiP). Known as the Skywire Nano, the NimbeLink modem enables this by achieving end-device certification for use on both LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular IoT networks worldwide. This means any product or application using the modem need not go through the normal carrier certification process.

"Nordic Semiconductor has always been known as the low-power leader in wireless radios," said Kurt Larson, NimbeLink's CTO, in a prepared statement. "And the nRF9160 SiP clearly exhibits the company's 'low-power-first' mentality during its design process, resulting in a cellular SiP that is leaps ahead of any product offered by all the other cellular IoT providers in terms of its miniaturized size and low power consumption. The Skywire Nano leverages this to the max to achieve the tiniest 15 x 22 x 5mm (estimated) form-factor and lowest power consumption of any cellular IoT modem available on the market today."

"We also really liked the way the Nordic nRF9160 DK design kit enabled us to embed our own code within the nRF9160's on-board 64MHz Arm Cortex-M33 applications processor in an extremely low-power way," Larson added. "By that, I mean other vendors provide applications processors, but their SDKs are not as streamlined as the Nordic nRF9160 DK and can't reach the same low-power states."

The Skywire Nano provides access to the Nordic nRF9160's Arm Cortex-M33 CPU with 1 MB of flash and 256 KB of RAM. It has UART, SPI and I2C serial interfaces; a soldered-down Verizon SIM; support for external SIM sockets; a firmware over-the-air (OTA) update system; a GSMA network back-off solution; AT command interface for UDP and TCP/IP socket dials; and GNSS support.

NimbeLink says customers can select their own antenna (within broad guidelines) for use with its modem without affecting its pre-certified status. "This means if a customer isn't happy with the performance," Larson said, "they can use a different antenna or put the antenna in a better place within their product or application." NimbeLink says its Skywire Nano modem will be available during the first quarter of next year.

"Third-party modems make a lot of sense when existing production volumes have yet to scale and in situations where a company wants to test market acceptance before investing further design resources," said Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's director of sales and marketing, in the prepared statement. "But above all else, cellular IoT modems further simplify the already simple design process Nordic Semiconductor works so hard to achieve in all its products, and so are a valuable option in the highly diversified global IoT market."

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