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Intel unveils tiny modem for the Internet of Things

Aimed at future networked sensors and IoT devices such as wearables
Tue Aug 26 2014, 14:03

INTEL HAS LAUNCHED what it claims is the world's smallest 3G modem to power wireless devices in the big push towards the future connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The XMM 6255 modem is about 300mm squared in size, making it "the world's smallest standalone 3G modem", Intel said, aimed at future networked sensors and other IoT applications such as wearables, security devices and industrial equipment.

Intel XMM 6255 board for IoT

In order to make the XMM 6255 so small, it features an Intel SMARTi UE2p transceiver, which is based on the firm's new power transceiver technology, making it what the chipmaker claims is "the industry's first design to combine transmit and receive functionality with a fully integrated power amplifier and power management, all on a single chip".

The XMM 6255 design looks to reduce component requirements, resulting in a smaller modem that helps hardware makers minimise their material costs.

"It also protects the radio from overheating, voltage peaks and damage under tough usage conditions, which is important for safety monitors and other critical IoT devices," Intel explained.

The XMM 6255 modem also boasts a radio architecture so it performs just as well in different environments. This feature set includes: low signal network coverage in zones like a car park or a home basement; a small-sized 3G antenna so it can fit into wearables such as smart watches as well as sensors; and a simplified design to lower device development costs.

While the Internet of Things is already thriving, Intel's tiny modem should encourage device makers to be even smarter with their approach to applications, sensors and wearables to help them develop more compelling gadgets.

Intel said the XMM 6255 modem is presently available in the U-blox SARA-U2 module series, but it expects to have updates on additional partnerships "in the coming months". µ


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