Communications Technology

Connectivity is a key feature of modern embedded products. There’s a wide range of communications modes that can be used, but which is the best for your design? Should you use a wireless technology such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and, if so, which one should that be? Or would wired communication, such as Ethernet, be the best way forward?

In this section, New Electronics reviews the latest communications technologies and brings visitors to the website information on how these technologies are being applied.

How to make sure the IoT is as secure as it should be

Attacks on Sony and Target suggest current enterprise security, in many companies, is not fit for purpose. The Internet of Things means that almost anything can now be connected to the Internet, but that also means that anything connected to the Internet can be hacked. Most of the information isn't transmitted securely and many apps have vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited by anyone with the necessary skills.

Could 'Supercomputing at the Edge' provide a scalable platform for new mobile services?

Imagine a future in which every mobile base station is capable of instantly processing data as it is being uploaded or downloaded; where some types of data may be hugely valuable for just a matter of seconds, but which don't have to be stored in or sent to the cloud; or of a computing platform, located at the very edge of the network, where data is collected and the caching of content is done locally. All of these ideas are at the heart of the 'Supercomputing at the Edge' concept. For its proponents, it heralds a new age in big data management capable of supporting many new services and applications.

Integrated photonic systems are expected to drive the development of new applications, including Ultra HD broadcast

Photonics is turning out to be big business – and the technology holds the prospect of being even more important in the future. A market that was valued at something like $350billion in 2005 has grown to be worth around $1trillion in 2015, driven by the increasing use of displays. Not bad for a technology that only saw the light of day in the early 1960s.

Terahertz technology is set to enter the mainstream, enabling better performance in a wide range of applications

Developing sources and detectors of electromagnetic radiation has been fundamental to scientific progress. But such devices have been lacking in one part of the spectrum – the so called 'terahertz gap'. This area, in which practical technologies for generating and detecting the radiation do not exist, lies between the microwave and infrared, covering frequencies from 0.1 to 10THz.

Connecting to the Internet just got even easier, says the Bluetooth SIG

For the IoT to work as envisioned, devices need to be connected to the Internet. This can be achieved with Bluetooth Smart devices, which can send data to a cloud service, but currently only through hub devices with full OS and supporting drivers running a software stack. For developers, being able to take advantage of direct connectivity to the Internet is a key requirement to take the IoT beyond the hype and create real 'always connected' experiences.

Multi-touch interactivity is helping to redefine the in-store customer experience.

In the face of intense competition retailers are spending more on information technology, data analytics and digital marketing channels. Online shopping, social media platforms and mobile technologies are having a significant impact on the sector, permanently changing the way consumers shop. As a result, retailers need an omni-channel approach or they risk falling into anonymity and the retail graveyard!

RapidIO is being targeted at high performance computing applications as latency becomes a critical factor

The extent to which 'what goes around, comes around' applies to technology. Despite the impression that companies are forging a future based on brand new ideas, that's not always the case. And so it is with RapidIO, the packet switched interconnect technology developed in the early 2000s for use in high performance computing (HPC) applications. Despite this ambition, RapidIO found most success in the wireless infrastructure sector. But the wheel is turning full circle as RapidIO begins to make inroads into today's HPC applications – and data centres in particular.

Interconnection opportunities in the rail sector abound as investment booms

Rail is proving to be one of the most attractive and fast growing markets for the electronics industry. Deregulation, new leasing and financing schemes help to support operator demand for additional rail stock and the UK has an active rail market, with major investments in both large infrastructure projects and in rolling stock – HS2 and Crossrail are providing significant opportunities for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturers. UK manufacturers are also competing to win business in the Far East in the form of sub systems on the Beijing High Speed network, for example, and in the US with the proposed New York to California high speed rail link planned for delivery in 2020.

The test requirements for assessing VoLTE call quality

The wireless industry is making significant investments to implement Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in 4G LTE networks. Alongside the need to at least match the audio quality of 2G or 3G legacy networks, it is important to ensure that a VoLTE call consumes a comparable amount of power.

Powering mobile devices with ICs is becoming easier

Whilst low power precision components have enabled rapid growth of the mobile device market, those portable products targeted at industrial, medical and military applications typically have much higher standards for reliability, run time and robustness. Much of this burden falls on the power system and its components.

Applied Micro reaps the benefits of X-Gene ARMv8 processors

In 2010, Applied Micro made a strategic decision; courageous or foolhardy, depending upon where you sat in the communications processor world. That decision was to sign an architectural licence for ARM's 64bit v8 processor cores and to embark on the design of a multicore device.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Editor's Choice

The science of shopping

The way we shop has evolved rapidly over the past two decades. Click and collect, ...

Electronics Design Show 2014

Building on the success of last year's inaugural show, the award winning Electronics ...

Making the IoT happen

It depends upon who you talk to and their interpretation of what the Internet of ...