Weak coverage and cross channel interference are some of the setbacks faced by both users and enterprises which undermine the efficiency of IoT infrastructures and consequently, substantiate the need for advanced chipsets that can stand the test of time.
Zealous to address these critical needs, Dr. Branimir (Brana) Vojcic, CEO and CTO of LN2, leveraged his knowledge and experience in academic teaching, research, and R&D consulting for leaders in the communication space to co-found the company with two partners, Mark Fowler and Bruce Lederman, who today serve as the LN2’s CMO and EVP respectively. “Our focus is on soft IP modules that offer significant performance benefits to customers, especially in the IoT ecosystem,” says Vojcic.
The Demanding Semiconductor Market
Network devices, especially in the wireless arena encounter several operational challenges that sidetrack connectivity. Issues such as poor coverage associated with on-premise Wi-Fi and frequent disconnections are major concerns for device manufacturers. Hardware providers and legacy IP modules face various difficulties in resolving these concerns. In addition to Wi-Fi, cellular, and other low-range network systems like BLE 5 (Bluetooth Low Energy) and 802.15.4 are also not immune to these adversities.
On top of that, legacy wireless devices in unlicensed bands, such as WiFi, Bluetooth or ZigBee, suffer from co-channel interference in these network ecosystems. “Rapid deployment of IoT appliances intensifies such intrusions which are likely to increase in the future,” mentions Vojcic. Man-made noises and clatters from baby monitors, microwaves, and automation equipment as well as other motors cripple wireless connectivity resulting in frequent link losses and low reliability of the connection. As per Vojcic, LN2 decoders will significantly reduce the impact of these compounding problems.
The most significant challenge faced by IoT device manufacturers—especially for products that leverage Wi-Fi, 802.16.4 as well as BLE 5—is the quickly draining battery life of devices. At the edge of networks, there are many retransmissions to transfer the packets of data to end devices. This increases the energy consumption which, in turn, drains batteries quicker.
These challenges become especially profound in the automotive landscape as seamless connectivity of and amongst autonomous vehicles is a crucial need considering the safety of human commuters.
Our focus is on soft IP modules that offer significant performance benefit to the customers, especially in the IoT ecosystem
Market-Centric Best-of-Breed Value Proposition
LN2’s technology stack, which is readily applicable to a wide range of use cases, makes significant advancements in the wireless network landscape. Offering futuristic and result-driven silicon IP solutions, the company boosts communication performance as well as aligns to its most stringent specification requirements. LN2’s advanced intellectual property—braced by extensive and evolving patent technology portfolio—helps the company to establish its footprints in various verticals such as IoT, digital broadcasting, and DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) as well as magneto-optical storage applications.
“In the context of IoT devices, our solutions are compatible with standard protocols such as IEEE 802.11, different variants of 802.15.4, BLE 5, NarrowBand-IoT,” quotes Vojcic. Devices powered by LN2’s tech can attain better connectivity even in unfavorable and harsh environments. Achieving significant improvements in receiver sensitivity, typically by several decibels, LN2’s offerings boost coverage area, data transfer rates, and enhance latency and battery consumption. Given that a significant number of IoT devices are battery operated, LN2’s solution stack is designed for optimal battery usage and enhances the longevity of such devices. This is particularly value-bound for devices working in areas of low power availability.
Vojcic quotes an example wherein LN2’s energy efficient receiver operating with BLE 5 standard delivers improved performance by optimizing the use of computational cycles via dynamic reconfiguration that responds to received signal quality. The receiver’s weak signal decoding capability helps in reducing battery consumption as it decodes the packets with a smaller number of retransmission even when using more computations than conventional receivers, especially in low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) region. In the edge of coverage region, it uses up to several times lesser battery energy, and that trend continues for several decibels beyond the projected edge of coverage. The energy advantage of the LN2 receiver is even higher when more retransmissions per data packet are allowed by the wireless device in question.
LN2’s value proposition has enabled it to extend its scope to the automotive landscape, where the company’s offerings support the wireless devices in V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) space. On another front, the organization also supports various digital radio broadcast standards such as DAB+, DMB and HD Radio, which has wider scope in almost all parts of the world.
White-Glove Customer Engagements
Adopting a customer-centric modus operandi, LN2 remains focused on learning more about their customers’ product offerings to provide customized solutions.
Working toward customer satisfaction, the organization pioneers in a systematic engagement process which includes a two-step evaluation prior to embedding its IP on to clients’ devices. Firstly, LN2’s object code is compared with the functional models in computer simulators for a variety of possible evaluations in real-world scenarios. This way, the customer may verify and quantify LN2’s IP benefits within his own development environment. The second stage of evaluation includes the verification of the company’s netlists or RTL code, allowing the identification and addressing of any integration issues early on. Once verified, clients enjoy a risk-free path for taking full advantage of LN2’s IP superior performance.
Steering Ahead of the Curve
In a short span since introducing IoT centric solutions and B2B marketing of its IP to customers in various segments, LN2 has established its presence in the market with its engineering potential and has attracted several big-name entities. LN2, by identifying the key players in every target markets and establishing credibility with a significant number of them, has widened its customer base drastically. The company gains an appreciation for ensuring a high degree of confidence among its customers over its product stack before deployment. This uncompromising approach adopted by LN2 helps its clients to stay ahead of their competitors and manufacture better products.
"In context of IoT devices, the company’s solutions are compatible with standard protocols such as IEEE 802.11, different variants of IEEE 802.15.4, BLE 5, LTE/ CAT-M/NB-IoT"
Moving ahead, LN2 is also looking forward to capturing international markets. The company’s ability to address all of the market segments, with over 20 engagements and six concurrent technical evaluations in progress is a testament to its team and processes. Additionally, the innovation labs at LN2 is planning to roll out new product lines in the magneto-optical storage market while from a business perspective, the company is exploring possibilities to license its advanced decoders for wireless markets.
Revolutionizing Magneto-Optical Storage Platforms
With the eagerness to flourish in spaces beyond the IoT market, LN2 is on a drive to revolutionize the magneto-optical storage space with its unique engineering expertise. Leveraging the features of advanced in-house developed Reed-Solomon (RS) code decoder, which is the best in terms of performance and practicality, the company reduces the intensity of the real-world complexities associated with storage device manufacturing. The company’s soft IP code, configured to decode RS codes in the formal matrix, is efficient and provides an improved decibel rate, enabling the system to operate at lower signal to noise ratio. The solution, offering plain sailing readability of data from the storage medium, provides an opportunity to pack the data more densely, increasing storage capacity. Alternatively, LN2’s solution could be used to extend the longevity of stored data on the medium by reducing the adverse impacts of the wear and tear on data readability, extending the lifetime of the storage medium. With the company’s sharp focus on the wireless market and plans to integrate additional engineering expertise into its core operations, LN2 is planning to market this soft IP by 2021.