The Internet of things (IOT) makes us more connected with the world through the Internet. Among them, single chip microcomputer is a micro independent device in electronic products, which can connect and control all things that may be connected to the Internet.

Microcontrollers are designed to perform specific functions and can be integrated into almost everything from industrial equipment, warehouse inventory, wearable devices, to household appliances, and so on.

1、 The difference between microprocessor and single chip microcomputer

The design of microprocessor is different from that of single chip microcomputer. There is only CPU inside the microprocessor, and there is no memory support. On the other hand, MCU has CPU, ram, ROM and other peripheral devices, which are embedded in the chip. Sometimes single chip microcomputer is also called MCU or MCU. At present, there are tens of thousands of single-chip microcomputer with various functions designed for different use cases.

2、 Single chip microcomputer type of Internet of things equipment

At present, the manufacturer has produced many different single chip computers with different specifications and configurations. Therefore, the MCU can be divided based on memory, architecture and bit.

For example, here are some bit based microcontrollers:

(1) 8-bit microcontroller for logic and arithmetic operations.

(2) The 16 bit MCU performs the operation with higher precision and better performance.

(3) The 32-bit single chip microcomputer is usually deployed in household appliances and medical equipment. They can perform arithmetic and logical operations.

(4) 64 bit MCU.

Single chip microcomputer based on Architecture:

Von Neumann: in this architecture, the CPU communicates with a data and address bus, as well as with RAM and ROM.

Harvard: in this architecture, the CPU has two independent buses. They are address bus and data bus used to communicate with RAM and ROM.

3、 Which SCM is the most suitable for your Internet of things needs?

If you want to build Internet of things products, then choosing the right MCU will determine the success of your products. For example, it is meaningless to add 1MB ram and high-power single-chip microcomputer in smart home appliances.

The leading architectures used by IOT developers and organizations are:

(1)ARM;

(2)MIPS;

(3)X86。

The choice of MCU largely depends on the functional requirements of your Internet of things products, such as whether it needs low power consumption, high performance, wireless connection or high-end security.

Generally, Internet of things products in the industry are more complex, and have more computing power and energy constraints. SCM will need to improve the market segmentation standards, however.

4、 The processing ability of single chip microcomputer

Processing speed is very important for Internet of things products. Although some Internet of things products can run at low speed, some products require higher speed provided by single chip microcomputer, so they can perform more demanding tasks.

Your Internet of things device may be large enough to perform simple sensing functions or send raw data back to the control center. It can even collect data from multiple sources, perform local analysis, and then execute requests. No matter how the function, environment and operation activities are, the MCU needs enough processing to perform the functions and tasks.

5、 Storage capacity of single chip microcomputer

The choice of MCU based on memory is very important, because the processing speed and the overall performance of MCU depend on the size of memory. Different microcontrollers usually have two components with different storage capacity

ROM: it stores applications in a single chip microcomputer. The larger the size, the more complex it becomes.

Ram: it usually performs two functions: reading and writing stored data. In addition, it stores the data to be analyzed by the processor and takes action.

For information about the memory size of the main MCU, please check the original version of this article on our website.

6、 Power consumption of single chip microcomputer

First of all, for Internet of things products, MCU must have high energy efficiency. In general, manufacturers who build microcontrollers for IOT devices face performance and power challenges, especially for wearable and battery powered devices.

For example, the microcontroller in the intelligent thermostat will wake up from time to time to check the temperature and adjust the air conditioning temperature according to the results found.

In this case, the MCU will consume a lot of power, and the power consumption should be as little as possible.

7、 Fast wake up time (RPC) in MCU

Ultra low power applications usually spend the most time in the lowest power mode, wake up to perform tasks or measurements, and then quickly re-enter the lowest power mode.

Therefore, it is very important to select the MCU with ultra-low power consumption and the fastest wake-up time.

A relatively slow wake-up time wastes energy because the MCU cannot perform any other tasks during this time. As a result, MCU with slow wake-up time cannot achieve the optimal low power consumption required by IOT connected devices.

8、 Network connection interface in single chip microcomputer

MCU uses network interface to interact with other local devices and push data to IOT application program for any analysis. In addition, they are designed to support one or more network protocols, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular networks (such as 2G / 3G and even RFID).

IOT devices can be connected via wired connections (e.g., smart buildings and homes) or via wireless connections. Therefore, you have to determine the utility of the IOT device, and then determine its network requirements.

9、 Hardware and operation cost of single chip microcomputer

For different use cases, the cost of MCU may be different. In addition, some microcontrollers even charge certain license fees for specific device drivers, but as you expand the project, the overall cost will bring you higher value.

10、 Community and manufacturer’s support for major Microcontrollers

More specifically, technical documentation, manufacturer and online community support are essential for the development of IOT projects. Comprehensive documentation can help anyone who needs guidance and information to make informed decisions about specifications, functions, and programming and usage methods for the first time using a single chip microcomputer.

In addition, manufacturer support is most likely to be provided, but community support is crucial because here you will hear all the secrets about practical problems, implementation errors, and innovative products.

11、 The number of input / output ports in single chip microcomputer

The port in the MCU acts as the input channel from the sensor to the device, and the output channel from the device to the sensor communication. I / O ports can be digital or analog. Digital ports handle simple logic, such as “yes” or “no” type inputs. In addition, the analog port is used for continuous input / output. For example, temperature or speed.

Depending on your IOT product requirements, you may need several or more ports. Once the SCM I / O and other port types are defined, the required data types can be determined.

12、 Safety of single chip microcomputer

In the digital era, the protection of data security is the most concerned problem of MCU designers and final consumers using Internet of things devices. In general, major SCM manufacturers deploy security measures, such as data encryption and shielding layer, to prevent any malicious activity from accessing. In addition, they are building more dedicated security chips that can be integrated with microcontrollers to store encryption keys and user credentials securely.

In this regard, the following are some of the standard security features that each developer should evaluate before choosing a single chip microcomputer:

13、 Tamper prevention and reverse engineering

Attackers usually put the injected code into the target IOT device or MCU. After successfully injecting the code, they will execute the code to fully control the device and its brain (i.e., the microcontroller).

In addition, microcontrollers can also turn on your device to reverse engineering problems, in which case someone can differentiate certain functions by putting some algorithms into the device and benefit from your innovation.

Depending on the equipment and its use, the consequences can be bad. In order to prevent such attacks, some microcontrollers have built-in tamper detection function, which can detect these activities and protect devices from botnets, thus attacking other botnets on the same network.

14、 Password boot loader

Manufacturers usually release firmware and other security updates for microcontrollers, while encrypted boot loaders provide security updates. Basically, the boot loader encrypts the security key before the update to prevent any information from being leaked during the update process.

15、 Encryption hardware accelerator

The encryption process of encryption and decryption will consume the memory and processing power of MCU, which will slow down the speed of other planned activities or events. Sometimes, manufacturers will integrate hardware accelerators and some algorithms into a single-chip microcomputer to speed up the process. In addition to accelerator chips, the efficiency of encryption depends largely on the algorithm they use.

16、 Conductive shield

MCU usually uses network interface such as Bluetooth, WiFi to communicate with other devices or applications. Sometimes, attackers use strange algorithms to read internal signals to enter the MCU and control the device.

The conductive shield layer can prevent any form of reading and writing to the internal signal. Finally, if you, as a developer or organization, want to use SCM in your next project, consider the availability of these security features.

17、 Memory protection unit in Internet of things MCU

The memory protection unit is usually deployed in the single chip microcomputer to define the access rules of memory location, which helps the MCU control the memory that can be read, written or executed. Although, the memory protection unit is not built into the single chip microcomputer, because some manufacturers integrate it with the single chip microcomputer, while others do not. Therefore, it is suggested to choose the MCU which supports the integration of memory protection unit.

conclusion

Internet of things devices usually have strict requirements for high-performance and low-power consumption of single-chip computers, which provide reliable support for the interaction between peripheral devices and software.

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