Supplier Spotlight - Silicon Labs | Symmetry Blog
Each week, we'll be showcasing one of our suppliers from our line card and what distinguishes them from the competition. This week's supplier is Silicon Labs, a global provider of silicon, software and solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).
Who is Silicon Labs?
Silicon Laboratories, Inc. is a worldwide fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Austin, Texas, United States. Silicon Labs provides silicon, software and solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet infrastructure, industrial automation, consumer and automotive markets.
Silicon Labs was founded in 1996 and pioneered RF and CMOS integration, developing the first CMOS RF synthesizer for mobile phones. Since the company’s inception, Silicon Labs has focused on connectivity solutions, starting with PC modems and most recently as a leading provider of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) with an emphasis on connectivity, performance, energy savings, and simplicity. Its products include microcontrollers (MCUs), wireless SoCs, timing devices, low-power sensors, and broadcast solutions. The company’s software stack solutions include firmware libraries, protocol-based software, and the Simplicity Studio development platform.
Silicon Labs has shipped more than 7 billion devices worldwide and has more than 1,600 patents issued and pending. Based in Austin, Texas, Silicon Labs has approximately 1,400 employees worldwide and sales, research and development offices located throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Silicon Labs’ customers include Samsung, Huawei, LG, Cisco, Alcatel, Harman Becker, and Technicolor.
How are they different?
Silicon Labs is involved in the development of both the ZigBee and Thread wireless protocol standards for Internet of Things devices. Silicon Labs was a founding member of both the ZigBee Board and the Thread Group, and is an associate member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group along with being part of the Wi-Fi Alliance. Silicon Labs is a Gold member of the Open Connectivity Foundation.
What are their most popular products?
Silicon Labs provides solutions and software for use in a variety of electronic products in a range of applications including portable devices, AM/FM radios and other consumer electronics, networking equipment, test and measurement equipment, industrial monitoring and control, home automation and customer premises equipment. These products integrate complex mixed-signal functions that are frequently performed by numerous discrete components in competing products into a single chip or chipset. Silicon Labs’ portfolio is organized around four primary businesses:
- Internet of Things - which includes 8-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), environmental sensors such as relative humidity and temperature sensors, and human interface solutions such as capacitive touch controllers and proximity/ambient light sensors
- Infrastructure - which includes timing ICs (clock generators and oscillators), digital isolators, wireless ICs (2.4 GHz ZigBee SoCs and sub-GHz transmitters, receivers and transceivers)
- Broadcast - which includes single-chip AM/FM radios for consumer radio, automotive infotainment and professional audio applications and silicon TV tuners and demodulators for flat-screen TVs and set-top boxes
- Access - which includes analog modems for set-top boxes, point of sale terminals and multi-function printers, SLICs for VoIPgateways, and PoE devices for networking gear
Silicon Labs groups products into several product families.
Microcontrollers include 8-bit MCUs and 32-bit wireless MCUs based on the ARM architecture Cortex-M0/M3/M4 cores. This product family also includes peripheral devices such as EZRadio transceivers.
Silicon Labs offers wireless and RF IC solutions. Products include ISM band receiver ICs, wireless MCUs, FM and multi-band radio ICs, Ember ZigBee, Bluetooth and Thread 802.15.4 wireless networking solutions, and Wireless M-Bus.
Sensor products include optical, proximity, ambient light, relative humidity/temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen level options that leverage mixed-signal capabilities.
Isolation & Power
Products include multi-channel isolators and isolated drivers] that simplify design, minimize noise, and reduce system cost.
Silicon Labs’ timing devices leverage DSPLL and MultiSynth technologies. The Timing family also encompasses PCIe and LVCMOS clock generators, clock buffers, jitter attenuating clocks, crystal and crystal-less oscillators and CDR/PHYs.
Silicon Labs’ AM and FM receivers deliver the entire tuner from antenna input to audio output in a single chip.
Silicon Labs offers hybrid TV tuners with analog TV demodulator in a single CMOS IC that uses (iDTV) digital low-IF architecture.
Silicon Labs’s analog products include op-amps, low-power analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), comparators, power management ICs, timers, and voltage detectors and references.
Silicon Labs leverages mixed-signal design to provide a family of interface devices that enable designers to differentiate their products and speed time-to-market.
Modems & DAA
ISOmodem embedded modems leverage silicon direct access arrangement (DAA) technology and a digital signal function printers processor to deliver a globally compliant, very small analog modem for embedded applications.
Software Stacks & Development Tools
Silicon Labs provides software packages, development kits, evaluation boards, and reference designs to assist developers in completing design projects.
Offerings include short-haul applications suitable for the customer premises as well as long-haul applications suitable for the traditional telephone access systems company central office.
How do their products help your design?
Solutions for Automotive
With a track record of disruptive technologies across numerous markets, they take a different approach to solutions than their competition. Silicon Labs offers the smallest components that can be mixed and matched to meet the rigorous quality and regional requirements for car radio and infotainment systems, hybrid/electric vehicles, battery management, car access, and body control electronics.
Solutions for Wireless and Network Communications
To meet the demand of increasing communication bandwidth, equipment is being deployed to deliver higher speed, higher performance and more flexible networks. This transition puts unique requirements on the clocks and oscillators used to provide timing and synchronization for the equipment responsible for switching, transporting, processing and storing network traffic. Silicon Labs provides low jitter, frequency flexible, easily customizable timing solutions that simplify design, minimize cost and improve system reliability.
Solutions for Data Centers
Internet traffic will grow to more than 10 billion terabytes by 2020. To meet this need, Silicon Labs offers a comprehensive portfolio of clocks and oscillators for data center applications that simplify design, minimize cost, and improve system reliability.
Solutions for Healthcare and Fitness
By integrating biometric and environmental measurements with data connectivity to the cloud, innovative solutions are emerging to improve our everyday lives. Make use of integrated microcontrollers, Bluetooth connectivity and biometric sensors from Silicon Labs to extend or reimagine fitness and healthcare devices.
Solutions for Home Automation
Get to market faster by bringing the latest low power MCUs, wireless technologies, and mesh networking standards including ZigBee and Thread to your connected home applications. Take advantage of widely deployed wireless stacks, certified modules, reference designs, and an active user community to speed up your design process.
Solutions for Retail Applications
From point-of-sale solutions that keep the register ringing to proximity-aware beaconing for enriched customer experience, Silicon Labs' portfolio of low-power connectivity tools increase simplicity and lower cost for retail designs.
Solutions for Smart Meters
Smart metering devices offer improved reliability and accuracy for providers, and offer consumers the ability to better manage energy usage and reduce costs. Silicon Labs offers industry-leading MCUs, wireless IC products, and development kits for the rapidly growing smart metering market. Over the past eight years, we've saved approximately 30 million person hours per year by enabling wireless smart metering applications.
Looking to integrate Silicon Labs products with your design? Our Applications Engineers offer free design and technical help for your latest designs. Contact us today!
Why partner with Symmetry Electronics? Symmetry's technical staff is specially trained by our suppliers to provide a comprehensive level of technical support. Our in-house Applications Engineers provide free design services to help customers early in the design cycle, providing solutions to save them time, money and frustration. Contact Symmetry for more information.
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