"Where are we heading with Wireless Communication?" Malvern Festival of Innovation 2013
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"Where are we heading with Wireless Communication?" Malvern Festival of Innovation 2013

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With the demand for wireless technologies rising rapidly and driving forward electronic innovation, our expertise, and experience, in the field of wireless (RF) communications means ASH are well ...

With the demand for wireless technologies rising rapidly and driving forward electronic innovation, our expertise, and experience, in the field of wireless (RF) communications means ASH are well placed to speak about future trends. Drawing on real world examples, Steve Braithwaite asks questions like "Can my smartphone now bring in the washing?" and "How can I locate things indoors?". He looks at big names such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee, Wireless Hart and some of the new, fast protocols. He also asks if there's still a place for proprietary protocols.

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"Where are we heading with Wireless Communication?" Malvern Festival of Innovation 2013 "Where are we heading with Wireless Communication?" Malvern Festival of Innovation 2013 Presentation Transcript

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  • 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 2
  • Where are we heading with Wireless Communication? 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 3
  • Malvern Festival of Innovation Steve Braithwaite Where are we heading with Wireless Communication? 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 4
  • Bringing wireless expertise and innovation to the world’s industries 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 5
  • ASH Wireless  We’re an electronics design consultancy  In our 13th year  Operate over a wide sector     Transport Sensing Avionics Scientific     Consumer Energy Networks Oil and Gas Mining  Specialising in low-power wireless  Usually with lots of embedded software  Close contacts at the University of Southampton 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 6
  • Outline      Where have we come from? What’s happening now? What are the trends? Where are the limitations? Where can we go? 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 7
  • Where have we come from?  1970s    Almost everything wired – phone, computers(!) Radio (as it was called then) was used by military, space, telecomms carriers, amateur, radio control, CB (remember?) Low-power, short-range wireless limited to such as garage door-openers. DSSS modem costs $300k in today’s money.  1980s    ISM band deregulation – free for use without license Cellular radio starts to appear– from Yuppie Bricks to Razr flipphones GPS navigation, early wireless internet  1990s   Wireless internet starts to be deployed, mobile phones commonplace Bluetooth standard begins drafting  2000s   Wireless internet widespread, >1Bn mobile phones ISM band comms commonplace, wireless sensors deployed, Bluetooth widely used for simple tasks (e.g. handsfree)  2012:  DSSS modem costs $1 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 8
  • What is possible?  ASH, James Bond and Batman  Clients arrive with interesting expectations!  What is improving, what isn’t? 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 9
  • Trends and Physics  Up:  Miniaturisation 10um to 10nm in 45 years:  1 million x denser Ics  Interconnectivity, web, cloud  Affordability: 100,000 x in 40 years?  Device convergence Smartphones  Device performance/cost 60GHz RF devices, 1Gb/s data rates  Rising  Battery density approx x3 in 40 years…  Static  Radio range  Battery life of handheld devices... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiconductor_device_fabrication 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 10
  • Limits on Range – not much to improve on The link loss equation: L The larger the link loss, The greater the range L( dB ) GT GR 0, if we need omnidirectional antennas 7th November 2013 GT PT GR PR PT R Eb N0 k T Limit of 290K, Approx 10dB Normally ≈1000 Limited by more complexity regulations lowers to about Design choice 0dB, no less Fundamental Higher bit rate, constant shorter range © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 11
  • Standards and the Market  Standards can drive market acceptance  Multiple sources  Good fundamental design  Created by:  Government (e.g GSM)  Industry collaboration (e.g. Bluetooth, Zigbee)  Academic-Industry debate (e.g. Wireless networking – 802.11 xxx, 802.15.4)  Successful?  If it meets the true need  Many do – 802.11 (WiFi), Bluetooth, and watch Bluetooth Smart  Some don’t – Zigbee is not a do-everything wireless sensor standard  Huge boost if it ends up in a Smartphone – now 50% of ‘phones’ sold... 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 12
  • The Low Power Wireless Standards Universe  Institution and Industry Sponsored (IEEE)   The WiFi alliance – 802.11 a to ad, and incrementing 802.15.4, physical layer, carrying Zigbee, IP6LoPAN, Wireless Hart  Industry Groups (now also as IEEE standard)   Bluetooth: regular (now at v4, high bit rates coming), and Smart (was Low Power) Bluetooth Smart – designed to convey small data and state. No streaming. Efficient battery life.  Sponsored Standards    EnOcean – for energy-harvested power sources – very energy transmissions IQRF – Sub-GHz Meshed networking Ultra-wide band for tracking  Proprietary protocols  Many, designed to be ‘lighter’ than the standards, lower cost, or niche performance  DIY  Plenty of ISM-band devices and modules to craft special designs 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 13
  • Limitations of Standards  Push to include many features:  Standards growth  Stack size growth  Often not a good fit to some requirements  Energy-harvesting systems – require cut-down and specific protocols  Finger-piezo-powered light switches  Battery–based relaying networks, optimised for sensor data collection  So other standards emerge  Sometimes based around original proprietary protocols 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 14
  • The iPhone phenomenon  Smartphones are a hugely attractive user platform     Already paid for handset Updateable software Integrated sensors and comms, powerful processing and user interface We can concentrate on remote device design  But   A slave to the smartphone designers  Operating system  Radio performance Many, many variations – iOS, Android, Windows  Apple have a large market share    13.4%, October 2013 Biggest single device share (Samsung have overall biggest share) So iPhone is often the first platform  Bluetooth Smart does not require special Apple hardware on the target to operate (standard BT does)  But beware – Bluetooth is a poor cousin when it comes to smartphone real-estate. Priority is given to Phone and WiFi, results in poorer than possible range. 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 15
  • Range and Location  The desire:   I can detect a device, how far away is it? With triangulation, where is it?  Easy option   Signal strength can be used Hugely variable, especially with people present and omnidirectional antennas (multipth fading)  Harder option     Time-of-flight measurement. Measure round-trip time of a probing signal-request pair c is approx. 1ns/foot. (Big number-slightly smaller number)/2 = flight time Multipath is a key problem. Introduces large bias unless very large bandwidths are used IEEE802.15.4 has ranging extensions, few devices available, but coming.  Most promising   Use beacons and signal strength, and navigate by dead-reckoning Google-mapping of WiFi Aps, plus MEMS accelerometers and compasses 7th November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 16
  • So, where are we heading?  Count on:        Increased performance in wearable devices and processing power Lower costs of radio parts, when embedded in systems on a chip Addition of sensors, increasing processing power Smaller device sizes Lower shut-down currents - use power scheduling wisely Higher bit rates available, at the expense of range Increased interconnection and collaboration with other devices and the Net  Do not expect:  Significant improvement in tx power/sensitivity/bit rate/range – we are near the limits (regulatory and fundamental)  Battery capacity to get greater fast, use it smarter  Can my smartphone bring in the washing? Of course, from the other side of the world if you want .... 7 November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 17
  • Some interesting links   BBC news from 2002 on the collapse of proprietary technology : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/2175804.stm Commentary on Claude Shannon’s channel capacity limit: http://connectedplanetonline.com/mag/telecom_shannons_specter/ 7 November 2013 © ASH Wireless Electronics 2013 18
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