Acorn Technologies announces hellaPHY to deliver LTE positioning on advanced low cost devices for MTC, IoT applications

Acorn Technologies recently announced that it has developed and demonstrated new LTE positioning technology for the location of things. The LTE location-based technology meets the new Enhanced 911 (E911) mandate performance requirements and performs ideally in very low bandwidth conditions.

Acorn Technologies’ hellaPHY LTE positioning technology provides pinpoint accuracy for LTE Advanced low cost devices for next generation location of things in the Machine-Type Communications (MTC) and IoT markets.

hellaPHY RSTD, is an advanced signal processing algorithm that was developed to improve LTE wireless network indoor and outdoor location accuracy and offers extreme performance in an efficient low-power DSP implementation.

Focused on IoT applications, the algorithm has been demonstrated to outperform advanced super-resolution algorithms at a fraction of the complexity. It is designed to be a drop-in replacement for existing Reference Signal Time Difference (RSTD) algorithms in User Equipment (UE) chipsets and can be customized for any unique DSP or interface requirements.

The hellaPHY RSTD IP core is designed to support advanced LTE features contemplated by operators as well as for LTE Release 14 including PRS muting, CRS plus PRS transmit diversity, and fractional Ts reporting. The hellaPHY RSTD IP core is scalable and can support CAT-M through CAT-15.

Location is a vital dimension of the IoT concept that encompasses the ability of “things” to sense and communicate their geographic position. In this context, location acts as an organizing principle for anything connected to the Internet. The location of things has the capacity to know where other “things” are located, while location data helps organize the billions of internet-connected devices by location based on the sensors and other location-centric elements in them.

The installed base of IoT endpoints will grow to more than 25 billion in 2019, hitting 30 billion in 2020, according to IDC’s Worldwide Internet of Things forecast.

“We are achieving accuracy in low bandwidth scenarios that were believed to be unachievable by many industry experts,” said Steven Caliguri, VP of wireless products at Acorn Technologies. “We believe that our advanced LTE positioning solution is the lowest complexity, lowest cost, and lowest power solution available today for LTE based applications from high end smartphones to loT.”

Acorn has demonstrated better than 50-meter accuracy in live network testing of their UE based positioning algorithms for low bandwidth CAT-M devices. The network tests were conducted on a network that has not been fully optimized for LTE based positioning. Further gains are expected when optimizations begin to rollout.

Acorn’s network testing has demonstrated the ability to exceed the 2021 E911 mandated performance requirements even in low bandwidth scenarios.

The technology has been developed from the core hellaPHY Channel Estimation algorithm that employs the latest in machine learning techniques. The positioning algorithms are ideally suited for IoT applications due to their extremely low complexity, and require less than 10kB of memory and only a fraction of a low end DSP during the maximum processing interval. It has further proven to exceed the performance of super resolution algorithms at a fraction of the complexity.

In March this year, Acorn announced that Sequans Communications, a 4G chipmaker and provider of single-mode LTE chipset solutions to wireless device manufacturers worldwide, has licensed the company’s hellaPHY for LTE. Sequans Communications is considering hellaPHY for use in future products.

The hellaPHY suite includes unique channel estimation and parameter estimation algorithms that are well suited for LTE advanced features and beyond. These features include accurate OTDOA positioning, eMBMS, CoMP and massive MIMO. The accuracy these algorithms provide in increasingly challenging operating environments will have benefits well beyond 4G and address critical needs for the upcoming 5G standards.

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