Small 3G Modem Aims to Make Large Impact on the IoT

September 03, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

At the heart of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies the convergence of computing and connectivity, where even the tiniest of everyday devices (or "things" including power management systems) can have massive computing capability and intelligence though its connection to the cloud. To support that growing need, Intel has commercially launched the XMM™ 6255 modem to provide a wireless solution for the billions of "smart" and connected devices that are expected in the coming years. At about 300 mm² in size, it is claimed to be the world's smallest standalone 3G modem, making it well-suited for networked sensors and other IoT applications such as wearables, security devices and industrial equipment.

XMM™ 6255 features the SMARTI™ UE2p transceiver, which is based on our unique new Intel® Power Transceiver technology, 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. This design approach reduces XMM™ 6255’s component requirements, resulting in a smaller modem that helps manufacturers minimize their build of 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.

Additionally, the XMMâ„¢ 6255 modem features a unique radio architecture that enables it to perform exceptionally well in challenging real-world situations, including: Low signal network coverage: The XMMâ„¢ 6255 modem provides reliable communication when it comes to transmitting information in low signal zones like a parking garage or a home basement. Small-sized devices: Devices with a small form factor like a smartwatch or a sensor may not have enough space for a normal-sized 3G antenna, which can affect connectivity quality and reliability. The XMMâ„¢ 6255 modem is specially designed for such devices and delivers great 3G connectivity even with small volume antennas not meeting conventional mobile phone quality standards.

The integration of the power amplifier and transceiver seen in this modem also simplifies the design and minimizes device development costs, which means developers can launch more products, more quickly, and in a more cost-effective manner. XMMâ„¢ 6255 is currently available in the u-blox SARA-U2 module and Intel expects to have updates on additional partnerships in the coming months.