14 Jun 2018

Wireless software enables bluetooth communications with Sub-GHz IoT devices

Silicon Labs has released new software options for its Wireless Gecko portfolio, enabling simultaneous sub-GHz and 2.4 GHz Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) connectivity on a single chip.

This Silicon Labs solution enables commercial and industrial IoT applications to combine long-range sub-GHz communications with Bluetooth connectivity, simplifying device setup, data gathering and maintenance. By avoiding the complexity of two-chip wireless architectures, developers can speed time-to-market and reduce bill-of-materials (BOM) cost and size by up to 40 percent.

Silicon Labs’ new Wireless Gecko hardware and software solution enables users to set up, control and monitor sub-GHz IoT devices directly over Bluetooth with mobile apps. By adding Bluetooth LE connectivity to wireless networks in the sub-GHz band, developers can deliver new capabilities such as faster over-the-air (OTA) updates and deploy scalable, location-based service infrastructure with Bluetooth beacons.

Proprietary sub-GHz protocols are commonly used in low-data-rate systems, from simple point-to-point connections to large mesh networks and low-power wide area networks (LPWAN), where extended range, robust radio links and energy efficiency are top priorities. Sub-GHz connectivity is a good fit for long-range wireless sensor networks, smart metering, home and building automation, and commercial lighting. Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko solution makes it easy to add Bluetooth LE connectivity to these sub-GHz applications.

“Sub-GHz wireless protocols are widespread in smart energy, industrial and commercial applications,” said Lee Ratliff, Senior Principal Analyst, Connectivity and IoT, at IHS Markit. “Ubiquitous support of Bluetooth in mobile devices has created demand for multiband, multiprotocol wireless solutions that can bridge the gap between Bluetooth LE and sub-GHz proprietary protocols, enabling legacy applications to leverage the power of the mobile device ecosystem.”

“Silicon Labs’ new software makes it easier to set up and manage a wide range of sub-GHz wireless devices in the field through easy-to-use mobile apps and Bluetooth connectivity,” added Dennis Natale, Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “Our Wireless Gecko portfolio provides a single-chip solution that reduces design costs, simplifies hardware and software development, and accelerates time to market.”

Silicon Labs’ new multiprotocol software is available now to customers using Silicon Labs’ EFR32MG and EFR32BG Wireless Gecko SoCs. Silicon Labs provides comprehensive software tools to simplify sub-GHz and Bluetooth development, including a connected lighting demonstration and a sample mobile application.

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