Freescale Announces IPv6-Based Metropolitan Area Network Development Kit Featuring Nivis Smart Objects Solution

Enables rapid prototyping and field trials of large-scale wireless Internet of Things or machine-to-machine application solution.

FTF Japan 2012
TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) today announced the availability of its metropolitan area network (MAN) development kit, the TWR-METRO-KIT-NA/JA, enabling developers to quickly build a 6LoWPAN-compliant smart object network out of the box, integrate it with their own hardware and perform network performance evaluation in a real-world environment. Freescale teamed with Nivis, a technology company with a long history of creating challenging mesh networks, because of their experience creating software stacks for constrained IPv6 devices.

“The future Internet of Things will consist of interconnected smart objects from different vendors that are capable of exchanging valuable data”

Metropolitan area networks are ideal for applications such as “last mile” smart metering communication and street lighting control. A metropolitan area network is typically defined by extreme reliability over many miles while serving thousands of nodes per edge router or data concentrator, with each node capable of meshing at dozens of hop levels deep.

“We’re providing a turnkey solution to implement IP networks that must not fail even in demanding and expansive RF environments, such as smart energy connectivity applications,” said Bruno Baylac, director of the Metering, Medical & Connectivity business unit at Freescale. “Quite often our customers don’t have the time or the specialized resources to develop these complex networks. This kit combines efficient hardware and proven software to help remove years of effort.”

The TWR-METRO-KIT-NA/JA contains two wireless end nodes that are portable and battery-powered and one wireless edge router that connects to a PC or notebook, forming a solid basis to begin network evaluation and development. The kit can be easily expanded to support up to 20 end nodes. Each end node is built with a Nivis Smart Objects radio module containing a Freescale Kinetis K series MCU based on the ARM® CortexTM-M4 core and a Freescale MC12311 sub-GHz smart radio transceiver with up to +15dBm of native transmit power for miles of range without the need for RF power amplification. At the core of the edge router is a Freescale QorIQ P1025 processor built on Power Architecture® technology and running Nivis edge-router software.

The kit and the Nivis Smart Objects radio modules are expected to be certified for use in the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan, allowing developers to quickly move from evaluation to developing prototypes for large field trials. A full application program interface (API) is defined for the Nivis Smart Objects radio modules, enabling embedded system designers to easily connect a module to any host processor where MAN wireless connectivity is required. Any of the network end nodes can be accessed by a full range of IPv6 commands sent directly from any Internet browser.

The TWR-METRO-KIT-NA/JA is entirely based on IEEE® and open Internet communication standards. The application, transport and networking layers of the Smart Objects stack are based on the latest Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards, which include CoAP, UDP, IPv6/6LoWPAN, RPL and ICMP. The application layer payloads adhere to EXI/XML encoding. The radio uses the new IEEE 802.15.4e Time Synchronized Channel Hopping MAC and IEEE 802.15.4g PHY specifications. Nivis is a global leader in smart grid and industrial wireless networks and has been actively testing their Smart Objects open standards stack in the Internet Protocol for Smart Objects (iPSO) Alliance interop events.

In August 2012 at the IETF interoperability event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Nivis used the Freescale MAN development kit to flawlessly interact with devices located in Canada, Finland, France, Sweden and the United States through a cloud-hosted application, all using the standard Internet Protocol for Smart Objects (iPSO) application template. Eight other iPSO member companies participated in the interoperability event.

“The future Internet of Things will consist of interconnected smart objects from different vendors that are capable of exchanging valuable data,” said Robert Assimiti, Nivis’ director of technology and co-chair of the IPSO Interop Committee. “We added another brick to the IoT foundation during this event. Based on state-of-the-art Freescale chipsets, the Nivis Smart Object is a symbiosis of powerful hardware and firmware allowing it to become an integral part of the Internet.”