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Discern Between Wireless Modules for IoT Applications

June 2, 2016
This tutorial serves as a general guide to assist developers who are tasked with selecting wireless modules for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
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Many factors must be taken into account when developing an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware solution. Wireless embedded modules have simplified the development of IoT hardware. However, one still must consider many factors when selecting such a module for an IoT development project. In the tutorial, “Selecting the Right Wireless Module,” Tektronix discusses some of the important aspects that are associated with selecting a wireless module for an IoT application.

The tutorial discusses several different approaches to IoT hardware development. One option is to utilize a chip-design solution, which is a development approach that begins with components like wireless transceiver and microcontroller unit (MCU) chips. A system-on-a-chip (SoC) design solution is another option, as this approach allows development teams to utilize SoCs that can integrate wireless transceivers and MCUs. Yet another approach is to take advantage of an embedded module solution, which is closer to the final product. Embedded modules are ready-to-use solutions that drastically reduce the amount of hardware development work.

Choosing an embedded wireless module also means choosing a wireless standard. These modules are generally developed to follow standardized wireless protocols. IoT communications can be enabled by a number of wireless protocols, which include cellular and wireless-local-area-networking (WLAN) standards. Bluetooth technology is another connectivity option, as well as the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. Additional standards for the IoT include SIGFOX, LoRa, and more. Furthermore, the document discusses compliance requirements, which must be considered when selecting a wireless module. A list of some of the current embedded module vendors is also provided. When selecting a module vendor, it is important to consider additional factors like quality and long-term availability, among others.

The document concludes by explaining design and pre-production test considerations. To bring a high-performance electronic device to market, it must be tested in all development phases from design to production. Integrating a complete device without performing the required testing can lead to project delays. It is therefore important to use an appropriate set of hardware and software testing tools for IoT devices.

Tektronix Inc., 14150 SW Karl Braun Dr., Beaverton, OR 97077; (800) 833-9200;

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