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Sub-GHz Communication
Technology & Silicon IP

Sub-GHz Technology Introduction

Many products today utilize a standard operating in the 2.4 GHz band such as Bluetooth, Zigbee of Wi-Fi. These standards and frequency band have their place, but they are far from the optimal solution for every project. Many products that use the 2. 4GHz band would benefit greatly from operating at a lower frequency, such as 433, 815 or 915 MHz. Several products have adopted the Sub-GHz band, but there is still a lot of untapped potential in product segments stuck at 2.4 GHz that would benefit from a lower frequency band. We have 25 years of experience of developing in the Sub-GHz band. Our experience includes discrete hardware design using commercially available circuits, antenna design, protocol design and RF ASIC design. We have a mixed signal complete Sub-GHz transceiver IP block allowing us to efficiently create a custom ASIC with integrated sub-GHz communication. Contact us for a free consultation to find out if product can achieve a technological competitive advantage by utilizing the Sub-GHz band, or read on for more information on the technology and our related products and competence.

Sub-GHz Transceiver Silicon IP Blocks from ShortLink

ShortLink offers a number of RF transceiver IPs that have been successfully used in many ASIC projects and are silicon proven across several process nodes. The latest Transceiver IP has been implemented in TSMC 40 nm low power (CLN40LP). Sub-block such as transmitter, receiver, PLL, frontend can be licensed separately if desired. Some brief information for our latest IP is available below. Please Contact us for more detailed technical information or inquiries.

Sub-GHz Transceiver IP Block

  • Complete mixed signal on-chip 433, 868, 915 MHz RF-Transceiver silicon IP 
  • Compliant with IEEE 802.15.4-2015. Custom protocols can also be used for specialized applications.
  • Complete mixed signal on-chip RF-Transceiver removes need for separate radio chip
  • Support for 433, 868 and 915 MHz allows worldwide deployment
  • Compliant with IEEE 802.15.4-2015. Custom protocols can also be used for specialized applications.
  • TX Power -20 to +8 dBm
  • RX Sensitivity down to -106 dBm
  • Data rates up to 250 kbps
  • Support for GFSK, BPSK and O-QPSK
  • Built-in voltage regulators, bandgap reference and bias generation allows simple integration.
  • ShortLink IP Part Number: SL40LP_Sub1GHzTrx_1
Sub-GHz IP Block Diagram
Sub-GHz IP Block In SOC Example

Sub-GHz Transceiver IP in SoC

  • Standard MCU agnostic APB communication bus. Connects to a standard Amba Peripheral Bus.
  • Interrupts can be generated based on a number of different events, configurable by register.
  • Built-in voltage regulators, bandgap reference and bias generation allows simple integration.
  • High performance crystal oscillator available as optional support IP block. Can provide a high accuracy clock to the system.
  • Can be implemented in multiple process technologies, including 40 nm TSMC Low Power

Value Proposition for Sub GHz

  • Achieve Long Range (> 1 km) communication without relying on cellular technologies such as NB-IoT
  • Ensure drastically better power consumption thanks to the usage of a better frequency band. Power consumption can be further reduced by using custom radio protocols.
  • Allow reliable indoor and outdoor communication without mesh networking or repeaters
  • Complete mixed signal on-chip RF-Transceiver removes need for separate radio chip
  • Support for 433, 868 and 915 MHz allows worldwide deployment
  • Data rates to up 250 kbps.
  • Compliant with IEEE 802.15.4-2015. Custom protocols also available for specialized applications.
  • Simple integration in SoC designs thanks to standardized interfaces and built-in support blocks

Sub-GHz Frequency Physics & Benefits

A different radio frequency

Sub-GHz frequencies are inherently better suited for many applications where low data rates (>1-10 Mbps) are used. The advantages come directly from physical laws.

Long Range

Achieve Long Range (> 1 km) communication without relying on cellular technologies

Indoor Communication

Penetration of walls and ceilings allows reliable indoor communication without relying on tricks such as mesh networks and repeaters

Outdoor Communication

Less attenuation due to atmosphere, foliage and non-reliance on RF reflection results in reliable extreme long range outdoor communication

Better Battery life

Lower frequencies result in lower power consumption allowing longer battery life and/or a smaller battery

Sub-GHz for Smart Metering

Sub-GHz allows both indoor and outdoor communication over a large area. One example of an application that greatly benefits from Sub-GHz technology is smart metering.

  • Reliable extreme long range point-to-point outdoor communication due to the following factors
    • Low attenuation due to atmosphere, foliage and non-reliance on RF reflexes compared to higher frequencies
    • Better diffraction properties, signal bends better at house corners
    • Path loss is lower for lower frequencies
    • Less congested band than 2.4 and 5 GHz
    • Low duty cycle results in reduced disturbances
  • Typical outdoor application: Smart Metering (power, gas, water)
    • Each house in a neighbourhood has a smart meter with a Sub-GHz radio transceiver.
    • Each meter communicates directly to a data concentrator
    • Each data concentrator can handle a large area even if the meters are placed in suboptimal positions (e.g. basements).

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We have more than 25 years of experience in electronics design spanning multiple competence areas. You can rely on us to help you identify and implement the optimal solution to your needs in an efficient and professional manner.