Fully integrated SoC solution for direct-to-satellite IoT connectivity

1 min read

Orca Systems, a fabless semiconductor company working with digital RF technology, has unveiled its first wireless system-on-chip (SoC) solution for the satellite Internet of Things (IoT), the ORC3990.

The company, which focuses on cost-effective, low-power wireless solutions for IoT applications, designed and developed the SoC to meet the demands of satellite IoT connectivity.

Orca Systems’ solution provides enabling RF technology for Totum, an innovator in IoT connectivity, enabling direct-to-satellite, indoor operation over Totum’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) network.

Since becoming fabless in 2018 Orca Systems’ has developed an extensive set of IP technologies critical to RF and digital communications applications with its technology assets in the RF, analogue, digital transceiver and power management domains serving as SoC building blocks and key elements of the ORC3990 design.

These core competencies, combined with Orca Systems’ systems architecture and semiconductor design/integration knowledge, has enabled it to support a variety of partners with highly integrated digital RF solutions.

Commenting Ted Myers, CEO of Totum, said, “The ORC3990 SoC enables the lowest cost bidirectional endpoints in the industry with a 10-year battery life. This is game-changing technology for satellite IoT connectivity.”

A Totum satellite technology based terrestrial endpoint for a LEO network using the SoC requires fewer external components and for simple, compact “tracker-on-a-chip” applications supporting global connectivity and positioning, an endpoint solution costing just a few dollars is also available.

“Orca’s architecture lends itself to integrating everything required in an IoT-focused SoC application,” said John McDonough, CEO of Orca Systems. “Manufacturing the ORC3990 SoC with GlobalFoundries’ 22FDX 22nm FD-SOI technology assured a cost-effective, low-power SoC solution that will be highly competitive in today’s market. Our innovative approach to IC design leverages extensive reuse of our SoC architecture, circuitry and methodologies, enabling us to achieve first-time-right silicon in one year of design for our partner Totum.”

The ORC3990 SoC integrates all required system functions into a single device in a very small 68-QFN package.

An essential building block is Orca Systems’ flexible, third-generation Live Wireless RF and digital radio subsystem, which has been customised to support the requirements of Totum’s LEO satellite network. Additional function blocks integrated within the ORC3390 SoC include a low noise amplifier (LNA), a digital power amplifier (PA), the Totum satellite modem, power management unit (PMU) subsystem including all analogue blocks, dual Arm Cortex-M0+ CPUs for separate network and application processing, all necessary memory (volatile and non-volatile) for the on-chip CPUs, required security functions, and key analogue and digital peripherals.

The device also supports a suite of digital and analogue interfaces allowing it to connect to sensors that detect temperature, humidity, shock, vibration and flow.