Silicon Labs introduced Tuesday a comprehensive suite of software and hardware that supports the new Bluetooth mesh specification to help developers simplify the design of mesh-networked devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) and get to market faster.
The new Bluetooth mesh solution benefits from the company’s proven mesh networking expertise and includes development tools, a software stack, and mobile apps supporting Silicon Labs’ wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices and certified modules. The combination of Silicon Labs’ patented network analysis tools and Bluetooth mesh stack for smartphones enables IoT developers to cut time to market by up to six months when compared to existing wireless development tools and techniques.
Silicon Labs has shipped over 100 million mesh networking SoCs and modules to date and has more than 15 years of experience in developing standards-based mesh networking solutions for customers worldwide. Silicon Labs is a vendor of Bluetooth innovation, delivering ultra-small Bluetooth SiP modules, multiprotocol SoCs that support Bluetooth commissioning, and software tools and stacks to simplify Bluetooth development.
Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth mesh solution includes a comprehensive suite of development tools and wireless devices to take IoT designs from concept to reality quickly and easily. Using Silicon Labs’ solution, designers can choose from a variety of Silicon Labs’ certified wireless modules and SoCs, including the world’s smallest Bluetooth system-in-package (SiP) module (BGM11S) and the latest EFR32BG13 Blue Gecko SoCs. Modules with integrated antennas provide a fast, cost-effective means to design Bluetooth mesh-enabled products. Blue Gecko SoCs offer large memory options to support over-the-air (OTA) updates, as well as advanced features such as hardware security acceleration, capacitive sensing, low-power sensor interfaces and enhanced RF performance.
The offering also includes the company’s mobile application for smartphones allows designers to verify the operation of Bluetooth mesh-based implementations with a commercially supported Bluetooth mesh library and source code to streamline design. It also optimizes mesh networking device designs with Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio software tools including patented network analysis and packet trace technology, energy profiling and visual application configuration. Software compatibility across Silicon Labs’ portfolio of wireless SoCs and modules enables broad software reuse and reduced development time and cost.
Bluetooth mesh devices are ideal for smart home, lighting, beaconing and asset tracking applications. A mesh network enables devices, such as connected lights, to be deployed at greater distances from a hub or gateway.
As each light is deployed, the communication range increases, allowing a single gateway to cover an area larger than one that is simply covered by a star network topology. In retail marketing and asset tracking applications, Bluetooth mesh technology simplifies the deployment and management of beacons. By combining Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) with mesh networking, new capabilities and value can be introduced into devices such as connected lights which can also serve as beacons or beacon scanners.
“Bluetooth is the next frontier in mesh networking, and Silicon Labs’ new Bluetooth mesh software and tools keep us at the forefront of this rapidly emerging ‘many-to-many’ network topology,” said Richard Baxter, President and CEO of Mesh Systems, an IoT software, services and solution provider. “From easy-to-use development kits to mobile applications that help us connect devices seamlessly, we rely on Silicon Labs’ deep expertise in mesh technology to give us the hardware and software resources we need to increase productivity and speed development time so our customers can better compete in today’s IoT race.”
“We expect to see a wave of new devices hit the market quickly by leveraging ubiquitous Bluetooth connectivity to create hub-less mesh networks that extend the range and reliability of Bluetooth systems,” said Daniel Cooley, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “No matter which mesh technology developers choose to power their next IoT designs, we offer a complete portfolio of silicon, software and solutions that gives device makers everything they need to accelerate time to market while designing secure, robust mesh networks.”
Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth mesh software development tools and software stack are available now free of charge to customers with registered Bluetooth mesh development kits from Silicon Labs. Wireless Gecko SoCs, Bluetooth modules and wireless starter kits for Bluetooth mesh applications are available now from Silicon Labs and authorized distributors.