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October 12, 2013

Devices with ten times the range for the internet of things

IBM and Semtech Corp., a leading supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, today announced a significant advancement in wireless technology, combining IBM software and Semtech hardware to create a system capable of transmitting data up to a distance of 15 km (9 miles), depending on the environment, with significantly improved ease-of-use.

Fast Growth Projected for Internet of Things

Over the next 15 years, the number of machines and sensors connected to the Internet will explode creating what is called the Internet of Things. According to IMS Research,
1) there will be more than 22 billion web-connected devices by 2020
2) These new devices will generate more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data every day
3) while every hour enough information is transported on the Internet to fill seven million DVDs.

To make wireless sensor networks (WSN) easier to program and use, IBM has developed a software development kit — called Mote Runner — which provides an open and programmer-friendly platform to connect sensor and actuator motes.

This platform is now available on the Semtech SX1272 RFIC to create a system capable of covering a range of 15 km (nine miles) in a semi-rural environment and up to five km (three miles) in dense urban environments. For comparison, the maximum distance today of a smart-meter transceiver in Europe, utilizing FSK modulation, is between one and two kilometers (1.2 miles).



“The biggest request we hear from our clients is longer battery life, low cost, ease of use and longer distances. With IBM, we now have an answer to all of these questions,” said Hardy Schmidbauer, Wireless Products Director at Semtech. “The new IBM Mote Runner-Semtech system is available starting today.”

The new sensors will utilize a star network architecture with each gateway capable of handling millions of transactions per day making it an ideal system to easily deploy any number of applications from smart metering to remotely monitoring train tracks.

The IBM and Semtech sensor platform utilizes Semtech's new LoRa (long range) modulation technology to enable drastic range improvements over alternative modulation methods.

The additional range provided by LoRa, of up to 15 km, will eliminate the need for repeaters in these applications, significantly simplifying the system design and lowering the total cost of deployment.

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