Tight deadlines for your wireless product? InHand rose to the challenge with the help of LSR's certified wireless modules.

Tue, 09/08/2015 - 01:00

When Freescale approached InHand Electronics, they were looking for a company to not only integrate their new Single Chip Module (SCM) microprocessor technology into a single-board computer, but to also show a functional product demo of it during their Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) keynote address that was just 8 short weeks away. With the time frame given, InHand got to work defining the requirements and architecture of their product design, the Fury-M6.

The Fury-M6 single-board computer was designed for devices that require the smallest form-factors but still require a high end ARM processor, whether for complex video, graphics, or calculation. Often used in small rugged devices for the military, industrial, and medical markets, the InHand team quickly identified that Wi-Fi wireless connectivity was a key “must have” feature for the Fury-M6.

To provide Freescale with a fully working product in the aggressive deadline given, InHand chose to integrate the TiWi-BLE™, one of LSR’s readily available off-the-shelf certified wireless modules, into their product design.

“We have had great success with LSR modules. Having a good, stable reference platform with developer community support accelerates debug on a new design,” said Rodney Feldman, InHand’s Director of Systems Engineering. “We had Wi-Fi communications, streaming HD video, working within 1 day of receiving our first Fury-M6 prototype boards.”

Fury-M6 with TiWi-BLE
InHand's Fury-M6 with LSR's TiWi-BLE

The TiWi-BLE is a combo module with the wireless capabilities to communicate via 2.4 GHz WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.4+EDR and Bluetooth 4.1 (BLE) protocols. Most importantly, the TiWi-BLE provides a full FCC/IC/CE certified solution for their design.

So, how does a pre-certified module actually help speed time to market?

Simply put, without the proper FCC certification in place, your wireless product cannot be sold and marketed in the U.S. Utilizing a commercially-available certified module is often the best design strategy to minimize cost, time, and risk that goes into completing this critical milestone.

The FCC has defined three categories of equipment approval for Part 15 devices. Any product that utilizes a wireless technology such as Wi-Fi, falls under the FCC category of Product Certification, which carries a more detailed and formal certification process. For Product Certification, the testing required must be performed by an accredited laboratory, and documentation is then supplied for review by a Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB), or, in some cases, the FCC itself.

FCC testing for Product Certification can be broken into two parts: General Emissions testing and Intentional Radiation testing. Virtually every electronic product needs to undergo General Emissions testing. These tests typically can be completed at a cost of $1,000 to $5,000 when performed by an accredited laboratory. For Intentional Radiation testing there are additional tests required to evaluate a product’s wireless technology that is generally more complex, resulting in additional costs of $9,000 to $15,000.

The good news is that there’s a way to minimize the cost of these Product Certification requirements. A product that utilizes a certified RF module, such as the TiWi-BLE that InHand implemented in their design, can leverage the certification of the off-the-shelf module and avoid the Intentional Radiation testing portion of the FCC certification process.

“The Fury-M6 SBC will be integrated into our customers’ products. The TiWi-BLE’s certification will minimize the cost and time required for regulatory testing. In general, pre-certified modules are great for low to mid volume product where time-to-market is critical, and it's harder to amortize the cost of certification across product volumes,” said Feldman.

When adding wireless capabilities to your product line, there is a huge value to being able to mitigate design risk without sacrificing anything in terms of RF and power performance. Certified wireless modules from LSR can provide the confidence you need to complete a wireless product design within the most challenging of timelines.

The Fury-M6 will be generally available in October 2015. The SBC includes a number of features, including the processor, the TiWi-BLE Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module, touchscreen controller, battery charger, sensors, RS-232, and more. A development platform will be available, including a daughter card that breaks out additional I/O and has an LCD. InHand can customize the Fury-M6, or its other SBCs, to meet specific customer requirements, using a process called Modified COTS which reduces cost, schedule, and risk. InHand can be contacted here for ordering information or general inquiries.

Integrating LSR’s certified wireless modules simplifies the work of adding wireless to your product design and the efforts to certify your product. To review the detailed certification requirements for ICC and IC, download our FCC/IC Handbook.