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Quark-based gateway trio aims to bring IoT to the masses

Jan 25, 2016 — by Tom Williams — 1,097 views

Aaeon unveiled a new Linux enabled, Quark-based IoT Gateway design that’s intended to both popularize and ease the setup of Internet of Things installations.

The AIOT-QA, AIOT-QG, and AIOT-QM gateways are based on a common internal design but offered in three configurations — two models intended for commercial and industrial indoor applications, and a third targeting more rugged, outdoor environments. All are based on the Intel Quark x1021, which is a 32-bit, single-core system-on-chip running at 400MHz, with a modest 2.2W TDP.



Left to right: Aaeon’s AIOT-QA, -QG, and -QM IoT gateways
(click image to enlarge)

The gateways each feature 1GB of DDR3 memory (with ECC), along with a micro-SD slot for up to 4GB of removable storage. For expansion there is a full size mini-PCIe slot with a USB host interface, plus a half size mini-PCIe slot. In addition there is an SPI interface for use with an optional module. Optional wireless capability includes a choice of front or back antenna holes for the indoor models, along with WiFi, 3G, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and GPS capability.

The AIOT gateways run the Yocto Project-based Wind River Linux operating system, along with Wind River’s Intelligent Device Platform and Macafee Embedded Control middleware. The latter is said to provide security for kernels and binaries, through the use of white-listing and policy-based change control.

Like the company’s earlier Quark-based AIOT-X1000 gateway, based on Intel’s Gateway Solutions for IoT reference design (formerly called “Moon Island”), these new Aaeon models continue the use of the Quark SoC. Several other gateways including Advantech’s UNO-1252G and Adlink’s Matrix MXE-100i are also based on the Quark x1021.

Aaeon says its introduction of these gateways is intended to “eliminate the distance” that is often encountered when discussing the IoT. The gateways are therefore fitted with a goodly variety of I/O including analog inputs with A/D converters, so users can readily connect inputs from instruments like thermometers and sensors for humidity, luminance, fluid level, and more. Eight digital I/O lines enable general-purpose connections. Additional I/O includes:

  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • One mini-USB port
  • One RS232/422/485 serial port
  • One or two 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports

Input power of 9-24VDC is supplied through a lockable DC connector.

The three gateway variants differ primarily in their physical configuration and environmental design. The indoor AIOT-QA comes as a table-top model with optional VESA wall mount and the AIOT-QG is in a vertical enclosure with a DIN rail mounting. All three models are offered in two temperature ranges: 0 to 60°C and -20 to 70°C. The QG and QM have identical dimensions, of 174 x 121 x 32mm, while the QA is slightly smaller, at 168 x 115 x 45mm.



AIOT-QA (left) and AIOT-QG details
(click images to enlarge)

The major difference is found in the outdoor model, the AIOT-QM (shown below), which comes in an IP67-rated rugged enclosure and only one LAN port. IP67 indicates complete protection against dust intrusion and protection against limited immersion in up to 1 meter of water. In addition, the AIOT-QM uses M12 connectors to reinforce protection, which requires corresponding mating connectors.


AIOT-QM details
(click image to enlarge)

 
IoT Gateway SBC on board?


AIOT-X1000 IoT Gateway
(click image to enlarge)

Although Aaeon did not mention it, these new IoT gateways appear to be repackaged versions of Aaeon’s original Quark-based AIOT-X1000
IoT Gateway
, which it introduced back in mid-2014. What’s more, the new gateways seem to use the same AIOT-X1000 single board computer that served as the embedded electronics of the company’s original IoT gateway.



Aaeon AIOT-X1000 IoT SBC details (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

 
Further information

No pricing or shipping dates have yet been announced. More details can be found at Aaeon’s AIOT-QA, AIOT-QG, and AIOT-QM IoT gateway pages.
 

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