At Silicon Labs, “doing the right thing” is a corporate value we live by. Ever since our company was founded in 1996, we’ve made it a priority to give back to communities where we operate. In 2016, our Austin site embarked on a new philanthropic partnership with Code2College. Code2College’s mission is to dramatically increase the number of minority and low-income high school students who enter and excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) undergraduate majors and careers, and their work aligns perfectly with our goal to promote the advancement of STEM education. Together, we’ve built a mutually beneficial relationship that helps serve the community. In addition to providing volunteers for Code2College activities, we’ve hosted numerous student workshops and events onsite and hired Code2College high school summer interns, giving them a preview of what it’s like to work in STEM.
Code2College Executive Director, Matt Stephenson, shared his views of Silicon Labs’ involvement with Code2College: “Our relationship with Silicon Labs has grown exponentially over the years because of the many things that the company is doing for and with us. With Silicon Labs’ engineers, our students are learning not just the actual technical skills in software development but also numerous soft skills that are valuable in the workplace, like working with a team, effective communication, and project management. It’s a great value proposition from a successful semiconductor organization like Silicon Labs, and we are so thankful for this partnership.”
Don’t just take our word for it – hear from some of our Code2College volunteers.
"Initially, I was concerned that I may not be able to connect with the students," said Kafai Leung, Director of IoT ICs and Modules, who was recently named "Most Inspiring Mentor" by Code2College. "Once we started the program, I realized the students were sincere and very motivated to learn. Gradually, a bond between us grew. The more I learned about the ways they overcame their backgrounds and challenges, the more I respected them and was able to help them discover their strengths. Workshop after workshop, I can see their confidence increase, and it's my privilege and honor to be part of their transformation. I think it's more of a blessing to give than to receive, and I'm glad I have something to give.”
"Students need to see an actual minority like myself in the engineering world, so they’ll believe that they can also become an engineer,” said Esther Alexander, Staff Software Quality Engineer. “My experience provides insight to students who may wonder about the struggles I’ve been through, and I hope to inspire them to push ahead. Giving back to Code2College is the least I can do to support the work others have invested in me along my journey to where I am today.”
"Volunteering for Code2College was an easy decision,” said May Ledesma, Sr. Technical Writer. “I’ve been discriminated against as a woman in STEM in the past, but my parents and education equipped me with the resilience necessary to achieve my dreams. I’ve always had a passion for education and teaching for Code2College helps me to continue to learn while allowing me to help my community. It is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also fun!”
We’re proud to partner with Code2College on the important work they’re doing every day in our community. For more information about their services, visit code2college.org.
As countries and governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by promoting social distancing and working from home, these initiatives have caused significant changes to the ways businesses and consumers access and use the internet. Before the virus outbreak, mobile broadband was increasingly the technology of choice for Internet access and video streaming. During the second half of March 2020, a large percentage of the overall U.S. population embraced stay at home orders, causing North American wireless providers’ data speeds to dip, as shown in the following graph. Increasingly, fixed broadband connections are offloading mobile networks, carrying mobile device traffic via Wi-Fi.
Internet traffic spikes related to COVID-19 are primarily affecting wired networks, driving increases in voice traffic, texting and web traffic as people shift to this new norm.
|Core Network Traffic||+24% month to month|
|Consumer home voice calls||+45% vs typical day|
|Wi-Fi calling minutes||+97% vs typical day|
|Text messaging||+46% in the last 2.5 weeks|
|Audio, web and video conferencing||+400% more minutes in the last 2-3 weeks|
|Large-scale webcast events||+200% vs typical day|
This rapid change in network utilization raises the question about overall network capacity and how the industry will respond to these shifting market requirements. First, U.S.-based wired telecom and cable networks are designed to have sufficient capacity in place to handle “surge events” that escalate network utilization by 30 percent or more, including large sporting events, elections, major news stories and major video game releases. Mother’s Day is the highest volume day for voice traffic, for example, so networks are optimized around this constraint.
Second, network operators adopt Quality-of-Service (QoS) traffic management techniques to manage the myriad types of traffic carried across the network, prioritizing latency-sensitive traffic such as voice at the expense of data and video.
Third, streaming providers including Netflix use adaptive bit rate (ABR) technology to provide different levels of video and audio quality based on consumer subscriptions (e.g. HD, 4K UHD). This ABR technology ensures subscribers get the level of video and audio quality they are paying for as much as possible but at the lowest bit-rate that can be supported without inducing buffering. In more bandwidth-constrained networks in Europe, streaming providers Netflix, YouTube, Apple, Disney and Amazon have taken the further step of reducing their streaming speeds during the COVID-19 crisis to minimize strain on broadband networks.
But the single most important thing that network providers have done to ensure sufficient network capacity is in place to deploy higher bandwidth links across the network. Figure 2 shows an end-to-end wired/wireless communications network connecting residential, enterprise and mobile subscribers to the Internet and cloud.
Network operators are transitioning to higher speed networks to meet surging demand for bandwidth and to ensure the network does not become a bottleneck in deploying new services. These physical layer networks require high-performance, low-noise timing solutions to minimize the bit-error rate of high-speed SerDes used to serially transmit data across wired networks. In addition, high-performance, low-noise timing solutions optimize the signal quality of wireless networks and help minimize intracell interference. The table below summarizes the bandwidth requirements of different portions of the 5G network for application.
|Data Center/Cloud||40G --> 100/200/400G|
|Metro/Core/Packet Optical||100G --> 200/400/600/800G|
|Enterprise Networks||GbE --> 10/100G|
|Residential Networks||1G --> 10G|
|Backhaul/Midhaul/Fronthaul||10G --> 25G|
|Wireless (RRU/BBU)||10Mbps+ (4G) --> 50Mbps+ (5G)|
The world is facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many technology companies around the world, we are doing our part to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and enable people everywhere to access the information they need while staying at home and working from home. We are proud to provide high-performance timing solutions to address the rapidly growing demand for network reliability and bandwidth across the globe.
Many local and national governments around the world have initiated “shelter at home” and “work from home” policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some of our employees have been working remotely for years, for many of us, this is a completely new experience. We’re now starting to develop some new routines and work habits. The question is, are they good habits?
For many starting the work from home (WFH) process, the biggest concern is often that there will be so many distractions, no work will ever get done. In fact, after listening to employee feedback, reading articles about WFH and even experiencing it myself, the challenge is often figuring out how can I stop working. We roll out of bed and, since we are not commuting to the office, there is no clear demarcation of when the day begins. Similarly, we don’t need to wrap things up and get home in time for dinner, so again, no boundary of when the day ends. The result is from the time we get up until we go to sleep, we are glued to the computer. The reality is – when working from home, we must find the right work/life balance. With that in mind, here are some practical considerations for those working from home.
One trap people tend to fall into during remote working is they sit down at their computer and never get up to take a break. We don’t do that when working in the office, and we should not do that in our home offices either. Here are a few simple tips from employees who already have been working remotely around the world:
Keep family close, even during shelter at home. Please take advantage of your access to Zoom and similar video tools to keep in contact with your family. They do not need the Zoom application installed; simply share a Zoom link via email so family members can join through a web browser.
Here are additional productivity tips for working remotely: (Source: “Notes from REMOTE by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson”)
While everyone is working so hard remotely, no one wants you to burn out. Find ways to break up the day. Get some fresh air. Go for a walk around the neighborhood (remember to stay at least six feet away from others). Keep connected not only to your family, but also to your co-workers and your teams. There have been a lot of very rapid changes over the last few weeks, and we sometimes struggle to keep pace as we rush to implement new policies and procedures that fit within WFH and shelter at home, but we are all succeeding in making these necessary adjustments, one step at a time.
This week, we were excited to announce that our new EFR32xG22 (xG22) family officially hit the market. This new class of ultra-low-power and secure wireless solutions is optimized for a wide range of battery-powered or energy harvesting IoT applications. Based on an Arm Cortex M-33, xG22 solutions provide best-in-class device security, energy efficiency and RF performance to enable next-generation, high-volume connected products. For all the necessary tools to develop high-volume, scalable wireless IoT applications, check out our xG22 Wireless Starter Kit which supports Bluetooth, Zigbee and Proprietary wireless protocols.
If you’re interested in developing Bluetooth applications, we have an additional resource for you. Mohammad Afaneh at Novel Bits recently published a great guide for getting started with the new BG22 development kit. “With the increased demand for securing embedded devices, especially those with wireless connectivity capabilities…[BG22] provides an attractive platform for developing your next generation BLE product,” Afaneh said. Novel Bits is a leading resource for developers looking to learn more about BLE. In addition to the technical blog and tutorials, Novel Bits offers a Bluetooth Developer Academy to help you take BLE expertise to the next level.
To learn more, check out the NovelBits BG22 Getting Started Guide.
We’re excited to announce that our EFR32xG22 (xG22) family has officially hit the market! The new SoCs raise the bar for IoT wireless connectivity, delivering an optimized combination of energy efficiency, wireless performance, security features and software stacks to enable high-volume, battery powered IoT products. The xG22 family has something for everyone – supporting Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), Proprietary and Zigbee wireless protocols – and addresses core customer needs, including price targets. When we say these SoCs are “industry-leading,” we mean it. In fact, EFR32BG22 (BG22) was recently awarded Embedded World 2020 Best in Show by Embedded Computing Design!
xG22 SoCs feature exceptional energy efficiency, enabling devices to operate on a coin cell battery for up to ten years, combined with best-in-class radio performance. This market-leading IoT wireless connectivity solution is achieved by combining ultra-low transmit and receive power (3.5 mA TX at 0 dBm, 2.6 mA RX) and a high-performance, low-power Arm® Cortex®-M33 core (27 µA/MHz active, 1.2 µA sleep). See below for additional highlights:
You’re invited to join our upcoming hands-on virtual Bluetooth workshop to learn how to develop and deploy ultra-low-power, secure Bluetooth connectivity with the new EFR32BG22 SoC.
We're also making new development kits available to help get you to market quickly:
Dear valued customers and partners,
At Silicon Labs, our top priority is the health and safety of our employees and their families, as well as our customers, suppliers and business partners. To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities, we’ve put in place work-from-home policies, suspended business travel and implemented other alternative ways to drive our business forward during this unprecedented time. Our employees worldwide have access to secure remote-working technology and collaboration tools, enabling them to work effectively from home and other locations. These measures help safeguard the health of our employees while supporting day-to-day business operations with minimal impact on our customers’ supply chains.
We know you’re facing similar challenges, and we want to assure you that we’re in this together. We’re committed to keeping your businesses and ours up and running smoothly and are ready to support you 24/7 through online forums, virtual meetings, and more. We’re monitoring and operating our customer support channels from several locations around the world and remain committed to providing high-quality support throughout the duration of this situation.
As we navigate these difficult times, we must embrace the power of a truly connected world. We’re focused on doing the right things to take care of people everywhere while maintaining the high level of customer support you’ve come to expect from Silicon Labs. If we remain focused, supportive and diligent, we are confident we will all come through this stronger together.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
CEO | Silicon Labs
As a leader in IoT wireless solutions, we're excited to offer you the broadest range of wireless connectivity options – and today we’re further strengthening our wireless portfolio.
We’re thrilled to announce that we entered into a definitive asset purchase agreement of Redpine Signals' ultra-low-power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth products. Their history of engineering excellence and world-class products aligns closely with our core values and will ultimately result in your success in the market.
By adding Redpine Signals' Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth Classic products, we can now offer a rich and comprehensive Wi-Fi portfolio for the IoT, enabling you to get to market quickly. The potential for Wi-Fi to drive future IoT applications is tremendous, and going forward, low-power Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is a key wireless technology. We look forward to accelerating our joint roadmap of Wi-Fi 6 that works in environments with hundreds or thousands of connected IoT devices. The additional Bluetooth Classic capabilities, including Extended Data Rate, will be ideal technology for your audio applications like voice assistants and smart speakers.
We value our customers, partners and engineering community, and we're eager to bring this innovative technology to you. Together, we are driving innovations for smart home, industrial IoT and commercial markets and building a smarter, more connected world.
You can learn more in our press release.
Historically, hackers breach networks or application servers and then move laterally into other systems. Now, we are seeing bad agents directly interfere with IoT edge devices - which often have a less secure attack surface, making it easier to access sensitive data stored on the device or in the cloud.
With this rapid change IoT developers are facing increasing pressure to step up device security and meet evolving regulatory requirements. But security isn’t always easy. In fact, both Gartner and Digicert did studies last year that showed security was their top challenge.
To help, we are excited to announce Secure Vault, a new suite of state-of-the-art security features including:
Not only does Secure Vault have industry leading technology. There are also business benefits of using chips with Secure Vault:
We are proud to continuing leading the way in the evolving world IoT security with Secure Vault. For more information about Secure Vault, visit silabs.com/security.
According to Mordor Intelligence, the global electronic shelf label (ESL) market value topped $581 million (USD) in 2019 and is expected to reach $1.82 billion by 2025. ESL technology enables cloud-based applications that enhance retail automation, shopper engagement and data analytics.
To help create a secure, scalable cost-effective solution for electronic shelf labels (ESL), we created a new family of secure, 2.4 GHz proprietary wireless system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices - EFR32FG22 (aka FG22).
Designed for power- and size-constrained IoT products powered by batteries or energy harvesting sources, FG22 provides a best-in-class connectivity solution for rapidly emerging retail applications.
Here are some highlights on FG22:
Other FG22 target applications include building security, industrial automation sensors and custom modules for commercial lighting. Our VP & GM of IoT Industrial & Commercial Products, Ross Sabolcik, shares more about FG22 in the video below.
For more information about our new FG22 SoCs, visit silabs.com/fg22.
Today we are pleased to announce support for the new Amazon Common Software (ACS) for Devices with our wireless SoCs and modules, enabling device makers to simplify and accelerate smart home product development. By combining Amazon’s powerful software development kits with our industry-leading wireless technology, designers can easily add connectivity and Alexa functionality to smart home IoT devices, such as LED lights and switches.
ACS provides a unified API integration layer, pre-validated and memory optimized components for common functions such as connectivity, a device porting kit (DPK), and multi-tier test suites to support integration of Amazon Device SDKs, giving developers more time to focus on product functionality.
We are providing Series 2 multiprotocol, Bluetooth® Low Energy and Zigbee® connectivity solutions, software development tools, reference applications and technical expertise, helping device manufacturers easily create connected devices that integrate with Amazon Echo products. Offering connectivity, processing and enhanced security features, Series 2 wireless SoCs and modules are designed to make IoT products more powerful, efficient, secure and reliable.
“As a leader in wireless IoT solutions, we see tremendous value in our expanded work with Amazon to provide a seamless experience for product designers and consumers,” said Matt Johnson, senior vice president and general manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “Amazon and Silicon Labs are both advancing smart home solutions for the IoT.”
Learn more about ACS here. We will also host an information session on ACS at the Works With Smart Home Conference in Austin, Texas, in September 2020. Visit silabs.com/workswith for more information. To learn more about Series 2 products and to order samples and development kits, visit silabs.com/series-2.
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