60 SOM Configurations: Using the SOM as the Core of Your Device

Published on June 25, 2020

60 SOM Configurations: Using the SOM as the Core of Your Device

Note: This blog post is the first of a part in a series showcasing how Ezurio's (formerly Laird Connectivity) 60 Series SOM serves as a versatile inclusion for your wireless or IoT design project.

Introduction to the 60 Series SOM

Ezurio's wireless product portfolio features a broad range of wireless modules that feature Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 802.15.4, NFC, LTE, LoRaWAN and more protocols for your wireless designs. We’ve been in the business of wireless development for over three decades, producing modules and antennas that power innovative applications in industrial, medical, public safety, and more.

The 60 Series SOM represents our latest and greatest in a Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combination standalone subsystem. It runs completely hostless with its onboard ARM Cortex A5 microprocessor and features Bluetooth 5.1 and 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11ac.

Its feature set is extensive, with security and stability at the forefront. An onboard dedicated cryptographic engine can run all crypto functions without impacting the performance of the rest of the device. It supports a Chain of Trust architecture that uses signed boot images, a secured bootloader, secure filesystem, user space, and more to protect your device integrity from threats. And with our onboard Summit Software Stack, the 60 Series SOM enjoys added Wi-Fi features and improved performance, with faster and more consistent roaming for harsh RF environments.

This blog post, however, focuses on another aspect of the 60 Series SOM: the many ways it can be implemented into your device. The SOM is a powerful inclusion as a wireless subsystem on your existing board but can also serve as the main board for your new design, or as a packageable IoT gateway for connection to a broader ecosystem of devices. The SOM is powerful enough to run your wireless design all by itself, and can be connected to other hardware, inputs, outputs, and more as a true platform for your product.

In this post we’ll be looking at the SOM as the core processor of your design with a hypothetical design example and how to design your wireless product around the SOM for a compact, fully-featured wireless product.

Example: An All-In-One Inventory Management Solution

For this example, we’re envisioning a handheld inventory scanning system built with the 60 Series SOM as its main board. In retail environments, maintaining an accurate inventory is done by keeping track of product at various staging levels: main warehouse stock, stock in transit, stock in local store inventory, and eventual removal of stock at the point of sale. Maintaining an accurate count at each stage is necessary for retail stores to have an accurate measure of what product is available and when to reorder.

Retail workers use handheld scanners when moving stock from the store warehouse to the sales floor, which helps keep track of how much product is still in reserve. This handheld scanner needs to serve several basic purposes: a scanner to retrieve bar codes, buttons to interact and confirm quantities, a display to read this information out, a battery that lasts long enough to do the job, and wireless connectivity to communicate up to the store’s inventory system.

  • Barcode Scanner hardware can be wired to the 60 Series SOM via any of its many available interfaces. The SOM exposes 2x SPI, 2x 12C, GPIOs, USB, and more, allowing you to connect nearly any device as a peripheral. Since the SOM runs our Laird Linux board support package, you can also write your control application in any environment that can run on Linux, within resource constraints.
  • Buttons and inputs can be implemented in the same way, connected via one of the SOM’s many available interfaces. An inventory scanner needs a trigger to initiate scan, as well as a number of push buttons to navigate the device menu. It’s possible that a full keyboard could be necessary, depending on the use cases that might arise.
  • A display touchscreen is necessary to display the software GUI for user interaction. The SOM includes a dedicated display interface, which supports a wide range of LCD resolutions, window sizes, image formats, and pixel depths over AHB bus.
  • A battery can be used to power the 60 Series SOM, which requires a 3.3 V primary power supply input to operate. The SOM can be configured for different data rates and output power to last longer on battery life. With single-stream Wi-Fi, transmit power consumption can be as low as 350 mA.
  • The wireless component built into the 60 Series SOM, based on the Marvell 88W8997/88PG823 chipsets, provides highly reliable connectivity that is uniquely capable for mobile devices. Thanks to our fast roaming support, the handheld scanner can be reliably moved around a retail environment with reliable, quick roaming that keeps devices online and prevents wasted time and reconnections.
  • Processing power also comes from the 60 Series SOM’s onboard Cortex A5 microprocessor. This provides 500 MHz of processing power, sufficient for your embedded application.
Barcode Scanner with 60 SOM.png

All of this hardware must be mounted inside a protective housing that is durable enough to survive bumps, drops, and impacts on the device. A rugged enclosure with rubberized exterior is an ideal choice for devices like this, and additional IP certification might be ideal to ensure it’s also protected from moisture, dust, and more.

Putting it All Together: How the SOM Simplifies Your Build

All of this hypothetical development proves out a point: As a mainboard for your device, and with integrated wireless and room for peripheral expansion, the 60 Series SOM accelerates your product design by providing a full and capable platform for your wireless design.

Integrating wireless into another main board is hard enough – wireless engineering is complicated, requires lots of expertise, and comes with its own problems of certification and regulatory approval. By starting with a main board which already features integrated high-performance wireless, you can accelerate your route to market by months or even years.

Learn more about the 60 Series SOM.

About Ezurio

Ezurio's decades of wireless engineering make us a capable design partner who can help you bring your ideas to life. We’re more than a module and antenna manufacturer – we offer design services, prototyping, material design, wireless certification testing, software development services, and more. And our experience bringing products to market means we know the pitfalls of design and can help you avoid them on your route to market.

The experts at Ezurio have all the capabilities needed to bring your product design from concept to market.

Learn more about our product development services.