Marvell Blog

Featuring technology ideas and solutions worth sharing.

Archive for July, 2015

July 31st, 2015

Social-Local-Mobile Wi-Fi is Here New Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Aware Adds Proximity-Based, Peer-to-Peer Services

By Jawad Haider

Have you ever been in a situation where you went out with your family or group of friends/colleagues to a crowded venue (think picnic, movies, trade show, shopping mall) and you ended up getting separated? You tried calling and texting each other, but the network was congested. You even thought of sharing your location via WhatsApp, but there wasn’t an Internet connection for that to happen!  You couldn’t help feeling, “If only wireless connectivity could be easier!”

The new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Aware™, announced July 14 by the Wi-Fi Alliance, has a solution for that problem. Mobile devices are about to become truly “local” and “social.” What that means is that all mobile devices which are Wi-Fi Aware-capable will be able to discover each other and initiate “interactions” with each other in a pure peer-to-peer fashion. By interactions, I mean services and applications that we already use today on our phones like social networking, gaming, maps, VOIP chat, targeted ads and coupons. All these applications today need some form of Internet connectivity in order to run. Wi-Fi Aware provides for a mechanism for users to initiate interactions with people and services in their “proximity” without the need to be connected to a Wireless Access Point. Common examples might include friend-finder, social gaming, walkie-talkie or a product locater inside a marketplace.

wifi-aware

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WI-FI Aware is a new certification program for a new capability of Wi-Fi previously known as “Neighbor Awareness Networking” (NAN). Wi-Fi Aware enables a unique peer-to-peer technology that does not require real-time connection to a Wi-Fi infrastructure, server, GPS or other geo-location, but instead uses direct device-to-device Wi-Fi to discover and exchange information. It enables devices to discover nearby information and services before even making a connection. Wi-Fi Aware makes social/local/mobile applications more useful and personalized, and works well in crowded environments. It is designed for power efficiency.

Marvell demonstrated sample NAN capabilities earlier this year at Mobile World Congress. The demo was used in the context of a navigation application, which traditionally has huge challenges operating indoors. Using two Marvell-powered smartphones, one user could discover his nearby colleague and use the mapping application via a Wi-Fi Direct connection to navigate right to him.

Wi-Fi™ Aware extends Wi-Fi’s capabilities with a real-time, energy-efficient discovery mechanism that will allow a multitude of proximity-based applications.  The Marvell Avastar family of wireless connectivity chipsets supports the Wi-Fi Alliance NAN Specification and we hope to be Wi-Fi Aware-certified soon.  In fact, Marvell’s recently announced Avastar Marvell 88W8997 chipset already supports the industry’s most advanced connectivity feature sets including 802.11mc, an IEEE standard for precise indoor location; BLE Angle of Arrival/Angle of Departure based on Bluetooth SIG standards and Multi-User MIMO for robust wireless connectivity. These advanced features, combined with Wi-Fi Aware, will allow our customers to build exciting new products and enable application developers to add a whole new dimension to how mobile devices interact with each other. This will open the door to truly Social & Local mobile applications. So with the new Wi-Fi Aware, if you aren’t sure where you want to go next, I’m sure there will be an app right around the corner that will help you.

July 21st, 2015

Glimpses of the Connected Car of the Future

By Alex Tan

We’ve already seen integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in cars and applications integrated into the user console. We’ve also seen Google’s fleet of prototype autonomous or “self-driving” cars. But a car that can fix itself? That’s just one of the many new transformations on the horizon when the Internet of Things meets the Connected Car. We will explore how connectivity will drive transformation in automotive infotainment technology, much like smartphones transformed telecommunications.

The idea of a connected car is all about making data available, both within the car and with the external world. For example, car manufacturers will be able to improve automobile quality by getting real-time data from individual vehicles and providing corrective updates when problems are identified. In addition, auto manufacturers are looking at completely new ways to use connectivity to make vehicles safer or improve the functionality of the car after it leaves the dealership. Tesla is a good example of this having recently introduced a firmware update that actually added new features, such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection. Imagine having the latest automotive features available to you AFTER you purchase the car. Consumers will no longer experience automotive obsolescence the second they leave the lot. It also allows auto manufacturers to strengthen ties with their customers.

auto-diagram

There are also substantial changes in store for the internal vehicle data networks. Current systems use a combination of proprietary low-speed or single-purpose communication busses. Next-generation architectures are converting to an IP-based network using Ethernet hardware. This allows massive amounts of data to be easily sent between the various domains inside the vehicle and with external devices. Examples of this type of data include information from the body electronics components, commands on the control systems, multimedia information from the infotainment system and camera/sensor data for the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). For instance, video and application data from smart phones and the Internet can be distributed within the car and car information and video data can be sent outside of the vehicle and used in a variety of ways.  Examples might include combining an IP-based vehicle’s camera data, alarm system and LTE to get uploads of pictures surrounding the car when the alarm is triggered. Or, with self-driving cars, who needs the valet? Vehicles can unload passengers and then head to a designated parking area awaiting summons from a smartphone for pick up. (Question: Do I tip my car?)

In Europe, an initial set of technical specifications for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, based on IEEE802.11P Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE), has already been created. The primary goal of this technology is to reduce traffic accidents and improve traffic throughput by allowing cars to communicate with each other in the case of accidents and congestion. V2V could also be used to improve traffic control, collect tolls or aid in police enforcement. Widespread adoption is needed for this to work, as well as addressing privacy concerns.

These are just some of the ways car connectivity will change the driving experience. Marvell is leveraging its strength in wireless and Ethernet technology to develop the latest high-quality AECQ100-qualified automotive products and solutions. To see what’s coming in automotive infotainment, wired/wireless connectivity and next-generation architecture platforms, join us at the 2015 IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day that will be held in Yokohama, Japan October 27-28 — because when you see the latest in automotive connectivity semiconductor technology, you will get a glimpse of the Connected Cars of the future.