Add Faster, Longer Range Bluetooth 5 With New Multiband Chips

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Expanding its Wireless Gecko system-on-chip (SoC) portfolio, Silicon Labs has launched new multiband SoCs supporting full Bluetooth 5 connectivity and more memory options.

The EFR32xG13 chips support all Bluetooth 5 features and capabilities, enabling four times the range, twice the speed and eight times greater broadcasting capacity than Bluetooth 4, as well as improved co-existence with other wireless protocols.

“The chips offer developers greater flexibility and more capabilities for applications using a single wireless protocol or requiring more memory for multiprotocol solutions, larger customer applications or for storage of over-the-air (OTA) images”, stated the firm. “In addition, the new devices also offer an advanced on-chip oscillator to reduce bill of materials (BOM) cost.”

The devices feature a 2 Mbps PHY that supports faster throughput or reduced power consumption due to lower transmit (TX) and receive (RX) times.

The SoCs also integrate a new 125 kbps and 500 kbps coded PHY that enables much longer communications, quadrupling the range of Bluetooth connections compared to existing devices running Bluetooth 4.

The EFR32xG13 SoCs provide sufficient flash memory (512 kB) and RAM (64 kB) to run applications using zigbee, Thread and Bluetooth 5 in single-protocol mode and to support multiprotocol combinations of Bluetooth with zigbee, Thread or proprietary stacks (running on sub-GHz or 2.4 GHz networks).

The firm further said that the devices are an ideal choice for Bluetooth mesh applications as the SoCs are designed to run both Bluetooth mesh and Bluetooth 5 stacks and to support both smartphone and Bluetooth mesh connectivity.

An on-chip oscillator built in the chip eliminates the need for an external 32 KHz crystal typically required for BLE devices. It is a precision low-frequency resistor-capacitor (RC) oscillator (PLFRCO) which saves approximately $0.15 (USD) in BOM cost when used in high-volume designs requiring a 32 KHz crystal to meet Bluetooth low energy sleep clock accuracy specifications.

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The PLFRCO is differentiated from similar integrated oscillators offered by other Bluetooth devices as it guarantees robust, reliable Bluetooth low energy connections across the devices’ entire operating temperature range.

The chips enable longer battery life and lower vampire current for Energy Star compliant devices. Sleep current is said to be six percent lower than previous EFR32xG12 SoCs and 44 percent lower than first-generation Wireless Gecko devices.

The EFR32xG13 family is pin-compatible with all Wireless Gecko SoCs in QFN48 packages, and is supported by Silicon Labs’ full suite of Simplicity Studio development tools, available to developers free of charge.

EFR32xG13 Wireless Gecko SoC samples and production quantities are available now in 7 mm x 7 mm QFN48 packages. Pricing for EFR32xG13 SoCs in volume quantities begins below $2.00 USD.

An updated SLWSTK6020B Blue Gecko development kit, now supporting Bluetooth 5, is priced at $149. Additional radio boards for Mighty Gecko, Blue Gecko and Flex Gecko are available for $49 each.

To order EFR32xG13 samples and development kits, visit www.silabs.com/wirelessgecko.

For further information, view the full Press release.

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