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.

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.

Designing for rail: The importance of specifying the right connectors

The rail sector appears to be on the right track across Europe but particularly in the UK. HS2, which is still on the horizon, is a topic for much discussion, but there are plenty of major active projects. Highlights include: the Intercity Express Programme, that will see Hitachi bring new rolling stock for mainline services in three years; the ongoing Thameslink project that is cutting through (or under) the centre of London; and Crossrail, Europe's biggest infrastructure project, which will see new trains supplied by Bombardier.

Camera pill technology set to ease cancer diagnosis

Colonoscopies can be an uncomfortable procedure for patients who may already be worried about what the results may find. The process involves probing the large intestine with a tiny fibre optic camera, known as an endoscope, embedded in a 4ft long, flexible tube.

Virtual solution could spell the end for antennas

The fast pace of evolution of the wireless industry puts familiar time-to-market pressure on the engineering of every new mobile device. Being in the heart of every mobile product, the design of the RF front-end and, in particular, the antenna, becomes especially cumbersome - every product currently requires a fully customised antenna.

Fibre optic networks can provide the platform for security and monitoring

'Linear assets' is a term that covers anything from roads and railway to pipes and perimeter fences. Typically, these assets will have signage, sensors and equipment controlled from a single point somewhere along that asset, and that control data is transmitted through fibre optic cables These cables can also be used to provide low cost and accurate monitoring.

NFC yet to secure its role in securing mobile payments

Novel approaches, such as Host Card Emulation (HCE) and potential threats such as the emergence of Bluetooth Low Energy – another technology standard for exchanging data wirelessly over very short distances – have brought into sharp focus the disappointing pace of development of mobile Near Field Communications (NFC), notably for financial transactions.

DSL technology could allow data to be sent to the home at 1Gbit/s

Once the plain old telephone service, the role of the telephone wire continues to be refashioned. The latest digital subscriber line (DSL) standard being developed – G.fast – uses 106MHz of phone wire spectrum to deliver gigabit broadband, a far cry from its original purpose of carrying a 3kHz voice call. The developments (see fig 1) complement fibre getting ever closer to the home.

Modulation approach set to solve spectrum congestion

As mobile communications become more pervasive, the amount of data flowing around the various networks and – importantly, the various parts of the spectrum – grows inexorably. The world, it is claimed, is moving ever closer to spectrum congestion.

Ethernet finds use in the automotive industry

The automotive industry is turning to Ethernet to address high-bandwidth applications emerging within the car. But it is Ethernet with a twist, tailored to meet the stringent requirements of the car. And while automotive Ethernet is taking to the road, the technology has yet to achieve widespread industry backing.

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