Add Low Power and Mesh Networking to the Latest Bluetooth Innovations

September 15, 2020 Rich Nass

There’s no denying the impact Bluetooth has had on the lives of consumers, and to the credit of the embedded community, innovation continues to occur in that space, at a healthy pace. Those innovations come both in terms of new releases to the specifications as well as the products that meet those specifications.

Smaller, lower power, and longer ranged products continue to rain down from the silicon vendors. One good example of those innovations is the recently announced BGM220 series from Silicon Labs, which supports Bluetooth 5.2 with mesh networking capabilities.

The device is actually a system-in-package (SiP), as it also holds both the Bluetooth radio and an Arm-based CPU. Its small size (6 by 6 mm) and low power consumption, a ten-year battery life from a coin-cell battery, make it ideal for end products like wearables, asset tags, and other small form-factor applications.

According to the company, the devices are among the first to support Bluetooth Direction Finding, which provide them the ability to detect the direction of a Bluetooth signal. The processor core that’s employed is an Arm Cortex-M33 with TrustZone, running at 77 MHz. Other peripherals include dual USARTs and dual I2C interfaces, as well as a 12-bit ADC and a temperature sensor.

Two different modules are available: the aforementioned 6- by 6-mm BGM220S and the lower cost 13- by 15-mm BGM220P. Both contain an integrated antenna, which removes a significant headache for the design team.

At the same time, SiLabs is releasing an enhanced version of its developer suite, Simplicity Studio 5, with software IoT developers can more easily design IoT products across various wireless protocols. It contains a new interface and provides a simplified and intuitive out-of-the-box experience, regardless of your target operating system.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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