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ST to supply chips for LoRa IoT network

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet of Things? LoRa network? IoT network?

STMicroelectronics will produce RF chips that support the LoRa network for the Internet of Things, making it the second source for the said network. The agreement boosts efforts to create an IoT network that will serve as a substitute to cellular machine-to-machine connections.

To date the only supplier of 900MHz chips for LoRa is Semtech Corp. As part of launching the LoRa Alliance earlier this year, Semtech struck a deal with Microchip which will be a second source when it starts shipping LoRa silicon, probably in mid-2016.

Rival Sigfox uses off-the-shelf 900MHz chips for a similar IoT network but has not released specifications for its protocol. Ingenu, a rival with a 2.4GHz technology, uses a proprietary ASIC and protocol but is exploring licensing multiple third-party suppliers.

ST intends to use the LoRa technology to target IoT deployments by both cellular carriers and big private networks. It will join the LoRa Alliance and release LoRa reference designs based on its STM32 microcontrollers.

Semtech and ST will co-develop multiple LoRa platforms that target a variety of applications. In addition, ST plans to develop microcontrollers with integrated support for LoRa technology.

IoT ecosystem

The addition of ST will help standardise LoRa and LoRaWAN for IoT low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) worldwide. Both Semtech and ST believe standardisation and a strong ecosystem will foster technology adoption to achieve the large volumes projected for IoT, according to a press release..

ST ranks among the world's top ten semiconductor companies and brings to the LoRa camp strengths in industrial markets and broad portfolio of sensors and analogue parts.

Last week, Silver Spring Networks became the latest company to offer an IoT public network that cost less and consumes less power than cellular. Cellular proponents are working on their own alternatives with services expected to be available in 2017.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times U.S.

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