Silicon Labs intros new range of Wi-SUN SoCs for smart meters, lights, cities
Austin-based chip-maker Silicon Labs has announced a new range of system-on-chips (SoCs) with support for Wi-SUN, an alternative for low-power wide-area (LPWA) networking like LoRaWAN and Sigfox. It said its new EFR32xG12 platform is suited to new IoT opportunities, and will help to “accelerate” smart city application development.
The open ‘wireless smart utility network’ (Wi-SUN) mesh protocol is based on the IEEE 802.15.4g standard, approved in March 2012. The Wi-SUN Alliance, which includes the likes of Cisco and Itron as ‘promoter’ members, has a stated mission to untangle the complex web of connectivity technologies that have grown up in the smart grids market, around proprietary systems and legacy equipment.
It is working to get a global set of manufacturers to agree on common IPv6 based specifications for communications gear in the smart grid. Original use cases included gas metering, demand/response systems, and distribution automation. Its focus has since expanded to include broader based smart cities applications.
Silicon Labs’ new Wi-SUN solution is based on its EFR32 hardware platform, combining a IPv6 mesh stack and development tools. It cited use cases in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), street lighting networks, asset management, and smart city applications such as parking, air quality, and waste management.
The new EFR32xG12 is a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4 platform with up to 1 MB of flash and 256 kB of RAM as well as an integrated +20 dBm PA for sub-GHz frequencies. Silicon Labs has certified Wi-SUN FSK PHYs and is working with lead customers, including Landis+Gyr and Pelion, to bring fully-certified Wi-SUN applications to market. General availability of Silicon Labs’ full Wi-SUN solution is expected early this summer.
Matt Johnson, senior vice president and general manager of IoT Products, said: “Wi-SUN is the perfect addition to our portfolio. Wi-SUN is a comprehensive solution optimized for large scale, long-range LPWAN networks. Our Wi-SUN technology enables a non-proprietary approach to industrial and smart city applications, making deployments more scalable, resilient and safer.”
Phil Beecher, president and chief executive at the Wi-SUN Alliance, said: “The Wi-SUN Alliance’s mission is to bring Smart Ubiquitous Networks to service providers, utilities, municipalities and other smart city enterprises. We are pleased to see Silicon Labs and other alliance member companies innovating new solutions on the Wi-SUN FAN specification, which defines everything needed to build secure, reliable, and resilient networks for large scale outdoor smart city applications.”