Orca Systems, a fabless semiconductor company delivering groundbreaking digital RF technology, announced its first wireless system-on-chip (SoC) solution for the satellite IoT, the ORC3990. The company, which focuses on cost-effective, low-power wireless solutions for IoT applications, designed and developed the fully integrated ORC3990 SoC to meet the demands of satellite IoT connectivity. Orca Systems’ new SoC solution provides enabling RF technology for Totum, an innovator in IoT connectivity, enabling direct-to-satellite, indoor operation over Totum’s low Earth orbit (LEO) network.
Founded in 2004 as a digital RF intellectual property (IP) and semiconductor design engineering services provider, Orca Systems transitioned to a fabless semiconductor business model in 2018. This pivotal transition was enabled by Orca Systems’ development, refinement and integration of an extensive set of IP technologies critical to RF and digital communications applications. Orca Systems’ technology assets in the RF, analog, digital transceiver and power management domains served as SoC building blocks and key elements of the ORC3990 design. These core competencies, combined with Orca Systems’ innovative systems architecture and semiconductor design/integration expertise, has enabled the company to support partners like Totum with highly integrated digital RF solutions offering the highest performance, lowest total system cost and lowest power consumption.
“By rapidly delivering successful first Si to meet our project deadlines, Orca Systems enabled Totum to quickly demonstrate communication from the ground with our SoC-based endpoint to our satellite network in record time,” said Ted Myers, CEO of Totum, “The ORC3990 SoC, with its high level of integration and low power requirements, enables the lowest cost bidirectional endpoints in the industry with a 10-year battery life. This is game-changing technology for satellite IoT connectivity.”
A Totum satellite technology based terrestrial endpoint for a LEO network using the ORC3990 SoC requires a minimal bill of materials. External components are reduced to a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator, passive filters and switches, a PCB antenna and a battery. For simple, compact “tracker-on-a-chip” applications supporting global connectivity and positioning, a sub-$10 endpoint solution is possible based on the ORC3990 SoC—a cost point expected to drive high volume demand.
“Orca’s unique architecture lends itself to integrating everything required in an IoT-focused SoC application,” said John McDonough, CEO of Orca Systems. “Manufacturing the ORC3990 SoC with GlobalFoundries’ 22FDX 22 nm FD-SOI technology assured a cost-effective, low-power SoC solution that will be highly competitive in today’s market. Our innovative approach to IC design leverages extensive reuse of our SoC architecture, circuitry and methodologies, enabling us to achieve first-time-right Si in one year of design for our partner Totum.”
The ORC3990 SoC integrates all required system functions into a single, cost-effective device in a very small 68-QFN package. An essential building block of the SoC design includes Orca Systems’ flexible, third-generation Live Wireless™ RF and digital radio subsystem, which has been customized to support the requirements of Totum’s LEO satellite network. Additional function blocks integrated within the ORC3390 SoC include a low noise amplifier, a digital power amplifier, the Totum satellite modem, power management unit subsystem including all analog blocks, dual Arm Cortex-M0+ CPUs for separate network and application processing, all necessary memory (volatile and non-volatile) for the on-chip CPUs, required security functions and key analog and digital peripherals.
On-chip sensors provide temperature of an ORC3990-based IoT endpoint. The device supports a suite of digital and analog interfaces allowing it to seamlessly connect to sensors that detect temperature, humidity, shock, vibration and flow.
Orca Systems is the exclusive provider and manufacturer of the ORC3990 SoC to Totum and its partners. To help accelerate development and time to market, Orca Systems and Totum provide comprehensive collateral including data sheets, application notes, evaluation/demonstration boards and software SDK.