Keeping Ahead of Wireless Connectivity’s Quick Pace: Q&A with Avnet
Whether to address robust car-to-car communication, the role motion sensing is playing as cloud connectivity emerges, or other wireless connectivity issues, resources are available for designers looking to capitalize on this technology.
Last month Avnet Electronics Marketing announced that its “customers in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia, excluding Japan, will have access to the complete line of wireless connectivity solutions from Cypress….” Following the announcement, EECatalog had the opportunity to ask Luc Langlois, Director, Global Solutions Team, Avnet Electronics Marketing, about a number of wireless connectivity topics.
Langlois notes that varied markets—automotive; industrial; aerospace and defense; commercial communications; medical—are seeing rapid wireless connectivity changes. He adds that the company is taking on the challenges this quick pace of change presents, citing “partnerships with leading suppliers to offer multi-domain expertise in wireless system design, digital signal processing, FPGA design, high-speed analog, and RF design….”
Following are edited excerpts of the questions presented to Langlois and his responses.
EECatalog: How does Avnet see its role evolving with regard to wireless connectivity solutions?
Luc Langlois, Avnet Electronics Marketing: Avnet has partnered with world-leading suppliers of wireless connectivity solutions in personal and local area networks (PAN / LAN) including near field communication (NFC), Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi. With the advent of continuous network access and the Internet of Things (IoT), Avnet has expanded its wireless portfolio to wide area networking with cellular-connected devices accessing 4G LTE networks and to fully customizable Software-Defined Radio (SDR). These developments have prompted Avnet to expand beyond the role of traditional distributor of off-the-shelf supplier products to active partner in the development of complete wireless systems from antenna to bits.
EECatalog: What decisions do individuals face when integrating wireless connectivity?
Langlois, Avnet Electronics Marketing: The primary consideration when defining a product with wireless connectivity is whether it must comply with an established standard or whether a custom implementation is preferred. Most consumer products require standards compliance, whether it be a handheld device connecting to a PAN over Bluetooth, or an IoT sensor node connecting to the 4G LTE network. On the other hand, non-commercial wireless communications such as military vehicular and airborne radios, UAVs, and satellite communications may employ proprietary air interfaces.
The next decisions are throughput requirements and power consumption. For example, a smart-home device with 1 Mbps throughput at close proximity may communicate over Bluetooth Smart technology, consuming a mere 15 mA, while a picocell providing 4G LTE cellular coverage to 200 users in a shopping mall at throughputs up to 300 Mbps might consume several Watts of power.
Avnet offers development kits, reference designs, and field-application engineers to support customer development efforts in all wireless-related market segments across the globe.
EECatalog: Are there particular challenges in developing automotive wireless connectivity solutions?
Langlois, Avnet Electronics Marketing: Engineering challenges abound as the automotive industry evolves beyond Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) towards automated driving. Multiple systems performing complex tasks such as object detection/classification, mapping of valid driving areas, accurate vehicle localization, and route/motion planning must operate together seamlessly in real time. Many of these capabilities will rely on robust car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure wireless communication through such emerging standards as IEEE 802.11p.
Software-Defined Radio (SDR) offers a flexible and cost-efficient platform for the implementation of a wide range of different standards while remaining adaptable to future technologies for autonomous vehicles. Avnet offers a portfolio of SDR solutions based on Analog Devices integrated RF Transceivers coupled with Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoCs, designed for immediate prototype and quick integration in a wide range of wireless applications.
EECatalog: What are the resources available to developers today that put them in a good position to create solutions for the Internet of Moving Things?
Langlois, Avnet Electronics Marketing: There is a vast array of information, resources, and design tools from suppliers of motion sensors, such as accelerometers, magnetic transducers, and gyroscopes. These devices are used across a wide range of applications from factory automation to medical instrumentation for precision sensing, monitoring, and trajectory control. While motion sensing is a mature field, it is the recent emergence of cloud connectivity that enables sensing technology to evolve into the Internet of Moving Things.
Avnet offers development kits to interface with a wide range of sensors, connect to the network, and utilize various cloud services for the management, storage, and analytics of connected IoT devices.
Editor’s Note: The following are resources for readers wishing to learn more about the topics discussed in this Q&A: