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.

RS-485 transceivers need protection against large over-voltages

Robustness and reliability have made RS-485 an industrial workhorse. A minimum differential signal swing of 1.5V and reliable operation over common-mode voltages ranging from -7V to +12V have catapulted its deployment. Initially used as a communication network in laboratory instrumentation, RS-485 can be found in applications ranging from building automation to traffic monitoring systems.

Network transformation

Of all the new semiconductor device technologies that have been introduced over the past few years, gallium nitride (GaN) is arguably generating the most far-reaching effect across a number of different applications areas.

Living on the Edge

As the deployment of Industrial IoT systems continues to proliferate, the streams of data transferred to the cloud skyrockets, drastically increasing the cost for cloud computing.

Research excellence

Set up in 1956 Roke Manor Research has over the past 60 years established itself as a world-class electronics engineering consultancy.

It’s the little things

It’s not that many years ago that MEMS devices were regarded as something of a novelty, with early applications focused mainly in the automotive industry – airbag deployment, for example.

Close to the edge

There is a tension that lies at the heart of the software defined network (SDN). Telecom and datacom operators have seized on it because the idea of software-based control makes everything more flexible and it is only natural that demand for more responsive communications services should push technology in that direction.

Securing V2X communications

Test drive any new car and you’ll discover the automotive industry is in the middle of a connected car revolution. From rear view cameras and blind spot detectors to adaptive cruise control and lane assist, an unprecedented amount of electronics is being added each year in the name of improving safety and the driving experience.

Managing standards

With over 860 members the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) produces globally applicable standards for a broad range of information and communications technologies, from fixed, mobile and radio to broadcast and Internet technologies.

The marine revolution

The global shipping industry has witnessed a series of revolutions over the past 150 years, including the transition from sail to steam and the advent of containerisation in the 1960s.

New challenges, new solutions

Today, it is a given that businesses are embracing the possibilities that the IoT can bring, whether that’s collecting data, using data analytics or developing and providing new services or improving existing ones.

The glue in the middle

In July 2017, the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF) met with partner universities and companies to celebrate and look back on the five years since its first cohort of scholars graduated in 2012.

Ensuring soldier welfare

From rifles that can track targets to providing battlefield monitoring via augmented reality, the military is seriously engaging with wearable technology to help improve its capabilities.

Timing gets smart

Ethernet has come a long way since IEEE 802.3 was first published in 1980. First envisioned as a technology to connect PCs and workstations, it has gradually evolved to become the networking technology of choice for a broad range of applications across enterprise computing, data centre, wireless networks, telecommunications and industrial sectors.

Material advantages

Photonics and its subset optoelectronics is, like electronics a relatively young technology. Interest in the area started to grow in the early 1960s, with the development of the laser, but photonics really started to boom in the late 1970s as fibre optic communications came onto the scene.

COM modules in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud-based solutions and Big Data represent major challenges for future system designs. The Microsoft Azure cloud is providing a framework to encapsulate these paradigms in manageable chunks allowing them to be mastered in a straight-forward way. MSC Technologies, producer of embedded hardware, has now certified its most popular COM products for the Azure Cloud, and is offering the software suite ‘Easy IoT’ which is a ready-to-run application for Azure.

Satellite data use is rapidly expanding

The UK is once more seen as a leading space science nation, with companies focused on making satellite technology more affordable through smaller, lighter-weight satellites that lower the cost of commercial launches. The Government’s continuing commitment to the industry was highlighted in the recent Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which included a space industry Bill outlining its ambition to grow the UK’s share of the global space market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030.

Solution to heat challenges in UV LED modules

Applications using ultraviolet (UV) light were first used back in the 1900s, but it was not until the 1940s that it was used on an industrial scale curing resins and inks and being deployed to sterilise and then disinfect medical equipment.

Driving automation and connectivity innovation for smarter trucks

With the Google car and similar initiatives, almost all the focus in transportation is on self-driving cars. Trucks, however, could also benefit from extra automation and connectivity to enable preventive maintenance, improve safety, efficiency and cost. Might we therefore one day soon see trucks on our roads with no driver in the front seat?

Data infrastructure to make our cities 'smart'

Increasing urbanisation and growing populations mean that cities are growing at rate that many experts would say is ‘alarming’. Within a matter of just two or three years, 60% of the world’s population could be living in an urban environment, with all the challenges of energy and water supply, as well as delivering adequate transport and healthcare.

Millimetre-wave technology key to future 5G applications

The availability of new mmWave frequency bands will be key to achieving the ambitious mobile data rate targets associated with 5G. But what are the likely operating bands or the technology and packaging options that will help to realise those essential mmWave components?

New and old tech required to develop space apps

Generally large and imposing, it can safely be assumed that satellites – such as Gaia, the Rosetta probe and the Hubble Telescope – required many thousands of hours of designing and testing; not least because of the harsh radiation and thermal conditions in space.

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