ETSI’s Industry Specification Group (ISG) for Surface Mount Technique (SMT) has released its group specification for embedded communication modules for machine to machine communications.
Embedded communication modules based on surface mount technology, where the module is soldered directly on the main circuit board, offer significant advantages in terms of cost and flexibility of the manufacturing process when integrating communications functionality into a larger device or system.
ETSI’s specification for embedded communication modules, GS SMT 001, provides common physical specifications or form factors and common electrical characteristics for modules. This will enable widespread adoption of common form factors allowing easier transition to next generation communication modules, will ease development for device vendors due to consistent designs and offer a second source option for integrators.
Johan Zuidweg, chairman of ISG SMT, says:
“Any Machine to Machine application, whether it be a tablet, eReader, personal health monitoring device or a smart utility meter, relies on a hardware module that provides 2G, 3G or 4G connectivity. These modules must be very small and must withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations or other physical conditions. As wireless devices proliferate, the market for such modules expands and a specification was needed.”
The specification covers electrical as well as mechanical aspects including the I/O interfaces, their assignment to pads, pad placement and module dimensions. It also takes into account environmental considerations which affect electrical and mechanical aspects. The group specification covers the majority of use cases for embedded wireless modules. Yet not every pad or function is fully characterized thus leaving room for custom flexibility and future functionalities. Module suppliers may select which interfaces, capabilities, and configuration they intend to supply, based on their market demand.
ETSI GS SMT 001 will facilitate economies of scale, allowing communication capabilities to be integrated into more and more devices and products, and will become an important hidden enabler for widespread adoption of machine to machine communications, leading to the Internet of Things (IoT).