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Why is out-of-band communication important for next-generation wireless charging technology? Aug 24, 2018

Recently, Sanjay Gupta, Chairman of the AirFuel Wireless Charging Alliance and Clint Chaplin, Chairman of the AirFuel Alliance Technical Steering Committee and Director of the Samsung R&D Center, had an interesting discussion about out-of-band communications in wireless charging. Sanjay Gupta also shares the main content of their discussion, as this topic has become a key factor in the rise of the industry as a whole.

What kind of wireless charging do consumers need?

As the industry as a whole struggles to incorporate wireless charging into its products, the Wireless Charging Alliance is working hard to put the real needs of consumers and end users at the heart of every innovation. In the beginning, all work was centered around “getting rid of the charging line”, but as wireless charging evolves, the needs of end users should also be taken seriously, and they need a system that is stable, versatile, secure, and intelligent. A single wireless charging transmitter should simultaneously charge a wide variety of devices, such as wearable devices, mobile phones, and notebook computers, without being constrained by device size, battery size, power level, or placement. At the same time, charging speed is also a problem, wireless charging should be as fast as line charging. Clint aptly pointed out that "consumers want wireless charging to happen naturally, and never deliberately think about how to charge these devices."

Rebuilding the technical framework to enhance the charging experience

Clint emphasizes that a wireless charging system must operate satisfactorily, and that stable communication must be maintained between the transmitting end and the receiving end during the beginning to the end of power transmission. For example, the wireless charging transmitter must know how much power is being transmitted to the receiving end, and how many receiving terminals are receiving power at the same time. There is also some additional information that must be frequently exchanged between the transmitter and the receiver, including the parameters of the authentication, the capabilities of the device, and so on. These are important factors influencing the overall experience, triggering new applications, and improving efficiency.

In-band communication has many limitations

Today, the mainstream magnetic induction wireless charging technology uses "in-band communications", and the transmitted information is bundled in the transmission of wireless power. This approach has several limitations:

The transmitted information is unidirectional, and the receiving end can transmit information to the transmitting end, and no information can be transmitted from the transmitting end to the receiving end.

Only one-to-one communication, one receiver can only correspond to one transmitter, and vice versa.

In many areas, the types of information that in-band communication can carry are strictly limited.

These limitations ultimately lead to shortcomings in the end user experience. Most consumers' expectations for wireless charging technology are not realized in the current in-band communication scheme, and the need for out-of-band communication has followed.

What is out-of-band communication?

Out-of-band communication allows information transmitted between the transmitter and receiver to be completely independent of the wireless power transmission process, which allows us to provide high-speed two-way communication between the transmitter and receiver using off-the-shelf communication schemes to provide consumers. A better experience you need.

Clint pointed out that many off-the-shelf communication methods can be used for out-of-band communication, such as NFC, Zigbee, Bluetooth... Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a good choice, it is everywhere, from the IoT sensor To wearable devices, mobile phones, and laptops, Bluetooth low-power features can easily meet the growing demand for wireless charging systems without burdening existing devices.

The AirFuel Alliance has developed an out-of-band communication mechanism that uses Bluetooth low power, which is the result of the ongoing efforts of Clint and other technical steering committee members to meet all of the user's needs. Especially for wireless charging, it not only realizes the function of supporting multiple different power receiving ends at the same time, but also helps the next generation of IoT devices to enhance the user experience in terms of spatial freedom, authentication and encryption mechanism, and reduction of power consumption.

Embrace the future, deploy next-generation wireless charging technology

In order to meet and exceed the many needs of the consumers mentioned at the beginning, we have achieved many technical achievements. For example, the AirFuel Alliance is working with resonance and RF technology to provide a better user experience:

A technical specification and interoperability standard that can charge all mobile devices anywhere in the world, and multiple devices can also "fuel" together.

Wood, metal, furniture, interior... The charging plane material and charging location are not limited.

The lateral movement or vibration of the device will not interfere with the charging effect, and the situation of driving bumps is not a problem.

Make sure that the charging process is safer and does not cause burns or other hazards due to heating of coins or metals.

In fact, robotics companies, wearable designers, IoT companies and other practitioners have seen the many advantages of next-generation wireless charging technology and are beginning to deploy out-of-band communication technologies in their products. AirFuel has integrated Bluetooth low-power out-of-band communication into resonance and RF technology, waiting for the industry to gradually accept and promote.