RF Front Ends for LPWAN Base Stations

Low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) offer vast potential as a wireless connectivity option with long reach, wide coverage and low energy consumption. Paired with small battery-operated sensors, these narrow-band radio networks enable long-range communications for Massive IoT applications.

LPWANs demand a great deal from base stations that must be able to record a steady and faultless stream of data from sensors and subsequently process it in a useful form. Because the signal strengths of widely distributed sensors vary, base stations have to handle short- and long-range communication simultaneously. And they need plenty of bandwidth to ensure robust data communication even while receiving signals from many sensor nodes operating in parallel. Finally, their transmissions have to be powerful enough to make up for the limited reception sensitivity of sensor nodes in the return channel.

This is why the RF front end that serves as the interface between the antenna and processor is actually the heart of an LPWAN base station. Versatile, powerful and efficient, it provides a data processing platform for a wide range of IoT applications.

Reference platform
for a powerful RF front end

Wide dynamic range

Featuring a superheterodyne architecture and a 16-bit band-pass AD converter, this front end has the high sensitivity and linearity needed to simultaneously receive sensor signals of varying levels. It is able to receive weak signals even with interference from other networks disturbing the transmission.

High bandwidth

Supporting three freely configurable Sub1G bands and 2 MHz for instantaneous reception, the RF front end offers a high bandwidth. That kind of bandwidth makes data communication even more robust and enables many sensor nodes to be operated in parallel. The wide frequency range is also an advantage – it facilitates regulatory approvals and licensing for deployment around the world.

High transmission power

With up to 500 mW (27 dBm) transmission power, this front end can compensate for the limited receiving sensitivity of the sensor nodes in the return channel.

Accurate timing

Data may be encoded with timestamps and sent at precisely defined points in time to conserve power when the sensor nodes are in reception mode. Designed to work with several base stations, the front end may also be synchronized to an external clock.

Remarkably versatile

The RF front end’s versatile software-defined radio architecture supports various LPWAN standards and frequency bands for use in diverse IoT applications.

A perfect fit for your IoT base station

Firmware, hardware and software components of the RF front end
© Fraunhofer IIS
Architecture of RF front end

We can develop the right RF front end for your IoT base station. The flexible architecture of our RF front end enables us to offer both a preconfigured platform and custom solutions. Baseband data – that is, I/Q data – is provided via a standard PCIe interface or via USB 3.0 for your specific modem application. The RF front end may be configured via a graphical user interface (GUI) for test purposes and its data viewed on this GUI. We also have a full complement of laboratory and measuring equipment and rapid in-house prototyping capabilities.

Draw on the expertise and experience of a competent partner in everything from planning to implementation. We are at your side throughout the development process for your RF front end.

Consulting and

Our expertise encompasses everything from analog RF design and digital implementation to signal processing and linearization.

Development and

We develop end-to-end transmission and reception chains for IoT base stations from the antenna to the digital baseband.

Optimization and

We draw on a deep well of know-how to adapt the RF front end to suit your requirements.

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RF Front End for LPWAN Base Stations

Internet of Things

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