Full GNSS functionality, very rapid time-to-first-fix, ultra-low power consumption
With small size, low power consumption, maximum reliability and minimum cost being critical factors for the successful development of IoT solutions, it is no surprise that customers are seeking ever-higher levels of integration when selecting the underlying chip technologies.
With these factors in mind, Nestwave and Goodix have recently been working together to investigate the possibility of adding geolocation functionality to the Goodix NB-IoT GR851x NB-IoT system-on-chip (SoC) solution. Given the nature of the chipset, a key objective of any such integration would have to be to deliver accurate positioning performance without compromising on the low-power benefit of the device.
What prompted the collaboration is Nestwave’s low-power GNSS solution. Developed to run on low-power, cellular IoT chipsets, the Nestwave technology is specifically designed to deliver the smallest, lowest power IoT geolocation solution using the minimum of components.
Nestwave’s technology comprises two key elements:
- NestCore™ embedded IP that runs directly on the cellular IoT device eliminating the need for an external GPS/GNSS chipset.
- NestCloud™ cloud-based assistance technology that works in conjunction with NestCore to deliver low-power GPS
Porting Nestwave Technology to the Goodix Platform
In order to create a ‘proof-of-concept’, Goodix developed a board that was built around the GR851x NB-IoT SoC and featured an NB-IoT built-in antenna alongside a GNSS active antenna.
Using the board, Nestwave worked with Goodix to port its solution directly to the Goodix GR851x and provided engineering support to optimize the solution by maximizing performance and minimizing power consumption. The result was a solution that supports full GNSS functionality, with a rapid time-to-first-fix, covering RF capture, satellite acquisition and tracking.
During field measurements of the design, which took place in Dresden, Germany, outdoor tests delivered an average positional accuracy down to 7.5m.
What’s more, despite the fast operation and accuracy, the power consumption was far lower than that of a conventional design using an additional GNSS chipset (please contact Nestwave directly if you would like to find out more about the specific details).
Future Potential Having proved that Nestwave’s solution ported on the Goodix GR851x chipset allows for a very compact and low-power NB-IoT platform with integrated GNSS, the future potential for this type of solution is significant. Among the wide variety of power-sensitive, space-limited use cases that could benefit from the Goodix/Nestwave implementation are asset tracking, emergency vehicle tracking, smart agriculture, smart lighting, smart cities, smart metering and healthcare. Indeed, not only can this approach be used to improve existing applications, the unprecedented size, BoM and power savings realized open the door to geolocation in applications where previously it would have simply been impractical.