Applications Connectivity and Interface Introduction (LC)

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Applications: connectivity and interface

Read about the most exciting application examples of the smart consumer & buildings market:


Wireless (Zigbee, LPRF, BT, Wifi, ...)

Consider the multiple design parameters

Wireless communication is an important part of everyday life. Design engineers need to be mindful of multiple design parameters when designing for wireless applications. One of the parameters that needs careful evaluation is the frequency band to be used for the wireless application. In the world of ultra-low power wireless devices compliant to the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, the number of bands to choose from are relatively low – it’s basically a choice between the 2.4 GHz ISM band available worldwide, or the regional Sub-1 GHz frequency bands at 700/800/900 MHz. In addition to the superior range given by the laws of physics, Sub-1 GHz also penetrates concrete, walls and humid environment much more efficiently. In some regions it will also experience a less crowded environment, not subject to interference from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other consumer devices operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency band. 

Wired connectivity (HDMI, USB, ...)

Content and servers push interface bandwidth

The explosion of multimedia content on the Internet, Cloud computing, and the advent of multi-core virtualised servers is pushing interface bandwidth requirements in modern data centre servers and storage. Although the interface I/O speeds are doubling, interconnect length remains the same, which poses power and signal integrity issues. Short for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, HDMI is the first industry-supported uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. It's a single cable and user-friendly connector that replaces the maze of cabling behind the home entertainment centre. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player or A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV), over a single cable. HDMI supports standard, enhanced or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel digital audio with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements. HDMI was defined to carry 8 channels of 192 kHz, 24-bit uncompressed audio, which exceeds all current consumer media formats. In addition, HDMI can carry any flavour of compressed audio format such as Dolby or DTS. HDMI has the capacity to support existing high-definition video formats such as 720p, 1080i, and 1080p, along with support of enhanced definition formats such as 480p, as well as standard definition formats such as NTSC or PAL. As transmission rates increase from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps, signal integrity requirements become more stringent for interconnects in chip-to-chip, chip-to-module, and backplane applications in datacom and telecom routers. Integration of the SerDes (PHY) function into switching ASICs and shrinking CMOS transistor geometry further compounds the problem by increasing jitter and lowering output signal amplitude.

Smart Card Reader and RFID (MM)

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Smart card reader & RFID

Smart, popular, safe and secure

Smart card technology finds itself in popular applications, including security and access control, financial transactions, medical records, loyalty programs, toll and vending collection, enterprise and single-user network sign-on, that require secure information. Contact smart cards have a contact, or ‘chip,’ area with several contact pads that, when inserted into a Smart Card Reader, can authenticate the user and safely transfer information between the card and host computer. Smart cards are secure and replacing less reliable barcode ID and magnetic stripe cards to provide flexible and standard transactions and strong, tamper-resistant authentication with minimal human intervention. Increasingly, key systems are using RFID technology, with applications now ranging from hotel rooms through domestic applications to maximum security prisons The user holds the transponder in front of the reader and, using the exchanged data, the reader or a connected computer checks whether the RFID ‘key’ is authorised to open the door. Since RFID technology here only acts as a wireless interface between the key and the door, it is also possible to connect a high-security crypto controller with a very high security level behind the basic NFC system. This means that the security level can be set entirely according to requirements. In a large access control system, access is often controlled individually via a central computer. If an RFID access card is lost, the relevant card can be locked within seconds, thus preventing unauthorised access. Furthermore, it is also possible to log exactly which card (i.e. who) opened which door.