Miromico: Creating the Smallest LoRaWAN Module with MAX32625/MAX32626 MCUs

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Miromico is an RF and IoT technology leader that offers design services in the areas of ICs, electronic systems, and software. The company operates at the forefront of technology, creating innovative IoT solutions in volume using state-of-the-art wireless technologies, including LoRaWAN, Sigfox, and NB-IoT.

The company’s products use novel wireless communications technologies to disrupt sensors in a way that they can be produced at low cost and operate for more than 10 years on battery power. For fast development, its designs are based on standard Miromico modules that can be used out of the box.

Challenges

  • Needed a small, low-power, secure, and cost-competitive microcontroller for LoRaWAN module

Solutions

Benefits

  • Moved from idea to mass production of LoRaWAN module in less than 6 months
  • Achieved lower power, smaller form factor, and higher security for module

Miromico has created the industry’s smallest LoRaWAN module, which features the MAX32625 and MAX32626 Arm® Cortex®-M4 microcontrollers. Photo courtesy of Miromico AG.   Miromico has created the industry’s smallest LoRaWAN module, which features the MAX32625 and MAX32626 Arm® Cortex®-M4 microcontrollers. Photo courtesy of Miromico AG.

Challenges

Many of the company’s LoRaWAN modules are based on chipsets that are large and do not provide security, according to Dr. Schekeb Fateh, who works in business development at Miromico. The IoT, of course, demands high security as well as small sensors. “In LoRaWAN, our clients want to have access to novel and highly integrated technologies. We needed for the extension of our LoRaWAN module family a microcontroller that is small, offers security, and is cost competitive. At the same time, we also wanted to have a strong partner with competence in security,” noted Dr. Fateh.

Solution

To meet its challenges, Miromico decided to work with Maxim. “Our newest module based on the Maxim MAX32625/MAX32626 microcontroller is, to the best of our knowledge, the smallest LoRaWAN module in the world and it offers security on the node. The products from Maxim are price-competitive and offer state-of-the-art technology,” said Dr. Fateh.

The resulting FMLR-6x-x-MA62x, which measures just 8.6mm x 9.3mm, can send with up to 20dBm and receive with a sensitivity of -137dBm. The module can be placed in a high-density urban or long-range rural environment and connect to a large variety of sensors via LoRaWAN.

MAX32625/MAX32626 are part of Maxim’s family of ultra-low-power microcontrollers, ideal for IoT applications and wearables. They’re Arm® Cortex®-M4 devices with floating-point unit, providing 512KB flash and 160KB SRAM. Flexible power modes, an intelligent PMU, and dynamic clock and power gating help to optimize performance and power consumption. Internal oscillators run at 96MHz for high performance or 4MHz for maximum battery life in applications that need always-on monitoring. For security, the microcontrollers feature a trust protection unit (TPU) that provides ECDSA and modular arithmetic acceleration support, a true random number generator, and a secure boot loader.

“Maxim offers a portfolio of chipsets and solutions that have the potential to disrupt current IoT solutions. For example, in tracking, Maxim has novel solutions with low power consumption. Also in healthcare applications, Maxim offers a set of chips that enable power- and cost-efficient signal acquisition,” said Dr. Fateh.

Benefits

Miromico was able to move from idea to mass production of its LoRaWAN module in less than six months. Using the MAX32625/MAX32626 instead of other available microcontrollers, the company achieved lower power and a smaller form factor for its module while also gaining security benefits. Said Dr. Fateh, “We like the collaboration with Maxim in particular since we have a highly competent team that is supporting us. The processes within Maxim are well set up such that the project could be efficiently structured.”

For designers ready to evaluate LoRaWAN technology, the Maxim DARWIN LoRaWAN Starter Kit provides the hardware resources needed. The kit includes a customizable IoT button as an example for an end device, a development board with a Maxim FMLR module for fast prototyping, and a Tabs hub LoRaWAN gateway for connectivity with a backend and application server provided by the Swiss partner company, InstaSolution.