Weightless

μSG keeps a collaboration with the German company SpaceTech GmbH Immenstaad (STI). Our work focuses on hardware design for white-space technology, targeting the implementation of a prototype for the Weightless specification.

Weightless is a technology standard for wireless communications designed to use the low-frequency spectrum once occupied by analog TV transmission, also known as white space (470MHz to 790MHz). It provides low-cost machine-to-machine (M2M) communications featuring high levels of security. The choice for this frequency range is due to its excellent propagation and availability as an unlicensed space.

As its main advantages, Weightless allows for:

  • long range transmission
  • extended battery life devices
  • low cost chips.

Weightless was developed by Weightless Special Interest Group and revealed to the public in late 2012. Its name arises from the cellular technologies. Since it is not 1G, 2G, 3G or 4G, it was stated jokingly at its presentation that it was zero G – hence, the name “Weightless”.

Machine to machine (M2M) is a general concept that refers to the technologies that allow devices to communicate with each other through wired or wireless networks. These systems consist of a device that captures some kind of event (terminal) and another one, that interprets the transmitted information (base station). Usually, there are several points of capture that are all connected to the same central point of analysis, therefore, every terminal must have a Subscriber Identification Module, commonly know as SIM.

This type of systems are deeply related to the cellular communication technologies, since they emerged in a Siemens department dedicated to create a GSM data module, in the mid-nineties. Its applications range all over from control systems for oil pipelines and platforms, that operate in extreme environments, to telematics systems, a category in which weightless is included.

At the 5th of March, 2013, the first transceiver chip has been released using the Weightless Specification. This can be the beginning of the mass production of Weightless technology solutions, which will certainly lead to a new generation of M2M communications.