New Altair Chipsets Can Expedite LTE's Application for IoT

By Paula Bernier February 25, 2015

Altair Semiconductor today officially unveiled new CAT-0 and CAT-1 LTE-only chipsets, which the vendor says will enable carriers to use LTE in Internet of Things deployments two years earlier than they originally thought possible.

 “We identified this two-year industry development gap some time ago, and worked hard to achieve our goal of releasing the first true CAT-1 and CAT-0 chipsets that offer a power/size/cost combination that is a massive game changer in this market,” said Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Altair. “The traction we have been getting for this chipset is overwhelming, and tells us how strong the need is in the ecosystem for such a solution.”

Eshed said Altair signed up more than a handful of tier-1 customers before even sampling the chip, adding that’s very unusual in this industry.

The new FourGee-1160 Category-1 and FourGee-1150 Category-0 chipsets – which will be available in volume later this year – are designed for use in endpoints such as sensors, smart meters, street lamps, vending machines, wearables, or any other IoT devices. They offer LTE performance at roughly half of what you would pay for an LTE module today and at a comparable cost of what you’d pay for a 2G or 3G module, Eshed said.

These Altair chipsets are also very power efficient, he added, explaining that they can allow for endpoint operations on a battery for weeks, months, or years, depending on the device and application. For example, it could allow a wearable device that otherwise would need a charge daily to work without recharge for a week, he said. And it could enable a remote sensor to work for years without the need for new battery power, which can result in savings due to fewer truck roles for maintenance, he added.

The chipsets come with an embedded MCU subsystem with a customizable application layer; a rich set of host, peripheral and sensor interfaces to support IoT applications; the ability to support VoLTE, eMBMS, and advanced 3GPP Release 12 and 13 features; and small footprints.

As Eshed mentioned in a Q&A with TMC’s IoT Evolution magazine: “LTE is perceived as a high-speed/power/cost cellular technology, not quite the first choice for M2M and IoT use cases. This perception is about to change….”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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Executive Editor, TMC

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