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.

mmWave sensors up their game

A revolution is unfolding amongst manufacturing companies, with an increasing number investing in smart factory technology – intelligent machines, devices and measurement and testing equipment – to monitor every critical parameter of the manufacturing process.

The IoT requires upgradable security

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows us to optimise and improve most aspects of modern life at an unprecedented scale. As billions of IoT devices unleash billions of dollars in economic value, the tremendous potential of the IoT is also attracting malicious adversaries and attackers.

Connectivity to enable the trusted digital enterprise

Manufacturing industry is on the cusp of a 4th wave of transformation that holds the promise of a step change in productivity. Industrial IoT business models are being defined with increased flexibility, co-operative human-machine interaction and the use of data analytics to identify trends and dynamic system relationships that were previously hidden or inaccessible.

Bringing LED solutions to market

Although it’s 15 years since LED lighting made its debut, take-up is accelerating across all areas of lighting, helped by its lower power consumption, longer lifespan, increased robustness and faster switching capabilities.

Powerful telescopes bring us closer to the Big Bang

Humankind has always wondered what secrets the universe was hiding in its starry depths and striven to understand how we fit into the bigger picture. This curiosity is still strong, as demonstrated by the number of powerful telescopes that have either been built recently or are under construction.

Is industry ready for 5G?

Just less than a month ago, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, used his budget speech to make a case for 5G, the next-generation mobile technology, and promised to invest £16million in a series of trials and to support research into the development of technology to underpin its deployment.

Revolutionising networking technology

The networking world has largely been defined by the development of fixed function chips. While these devices have been one of the means by which data rates have increased, this has been achieved at the expense of configurability.

Farming embraces the IoT

The farm is perhaps the last place where you would look for advanced technology. But pressures on food production make agriculture a prime candidate for harnessing the potential of automation and the IoT. Real-time data collection is the key to improving yields and making the most of precious resources.

The choices involved in adding IP support to embedded systems

The tentacles of the internet are reaching further into the domain of deeply embedded systems that used, at most, to be attached to simple fieldbuses. Although the internet may stop short of ‘smart’ light bulbs that use Zigbee or Bluetooth to communicate, more organisations are looking at supporting the Internet Protocol (IP) directly in sensor nodes and smart actuators.

Interconnector and cabling system to address design challenges

The growth in connectivity, with billions of devices now connected around the globe, means the pressure is growing exponentially on the infrastructure that supports the collection and dissemination of data. Whatever the technical pressures, customers expect a seamless level of service.

Measuring RF power in the field

The output power of an RF or microwave system is a key determinant of its performance. For this reason, signal power is measured at every stage – from design and prototyping to maintenance in the field.

Bright future for fibre optical networks

In the last 30 years or so, the rate at which data can be sent down core fibre has increased by an amazing 10million times. And the UK has a long and enviable track record in this remarkable progress, with research groups and companies continuing to influence and drive the industry.

Tracksure sensor system to transform rail networks

Monitoring the rail network is a costly and time consuming endeavour, but the University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research (IRR) has developed a new sensor system that could transform the way in which networks are maintained by turning rail vehicles into track monitors.

Technology to improve firefighter safety

Building fires are, by their very nature, inhospitable environments. The combination of heat, a potentially toxic atmosphere, poor visibility and an unstable building can have fatal consequences, so it’s no surprise to find out that technology is being brought to bear in an attempt to improve safety, particularly when it comes to communication with and location of firefighters committed to a building.

Choosing between PCAP and resistive touchscreen technologies

Resistive touchscreens are typically found in retail electronic point of sale (EPOS) devices and companies have traditionally used them in industry. These have several layers, including two thin transparent, electrically resistive layers, separated by a thin space. When an object such as a fingertip or stylus tip presses down on the outer surface, the two layers touch to become connected. These touchscreens simply need enough pressure for the touch to be sensed and can be used while wearing gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Developments in low cost VNAs to find new applications

As test equipment has evolved, there has been a drive to provide unique and identifiable differentiations in feature sets and capabilities, suggesting to customers they will have an advantage over their competitors by providing tighter specification thresholds. For most modern Vector Network Analysers (VNAs), this trend has led to their capabilities becoming complex, resulting in an increased cost of ownership for the user, not just in terms of capital equipment costs, and calibration and support costs, but also in the time required for user understanding and training, as well as for any control software control or drivers to be written.

Affordable next generation clusters

Sophisticated graphics displays in the instrument cluster are a proven way for makers of premium vehicles to add consumer appeal and cachet to new high-end models of car. Audi has won rave reviews for its ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrument cluster in the 2016 TT roadster.

Advances in technology to meet frequency mixing needs

Frequency mixing is one of the most critical sections of the signal chain and, in the past, many applications were limited by the performance of a mixer – frequency range, conversion loss and linearity defined whether a mixer could be used for the application or not. Designs for frequencies of more than 30GHz were difficult and packaging the devices at those frequencies was even harder.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Editor's Choice

A single source of truth

Version control – increasingly a de facto part of the embedded software development ...

Apps processor attractions

When Freescale introduced the i.MX processor line in 2001, it’s probably fair to say ...

Power in their hands

The pressure on those developing new battery chemistries is increasing as consumers ...