u-blox bolsters Bluetooth line to broaden variety of use cases – from ultra-long range to indoor location

u‑blox reinforced on Monday its continued commitment to Bluetooth low energy innovation by expanding the BMD product series that it recently acquired from Rigado. The company has announced the introduction of the BMD‑341, the BMD‑345, and the BMD‑360 Bluetooth modules, offering customers a comprehensive selection of solutions for their specific application criteria.  

With an ARM CortexTM-M4 with FPU, integrated 2.4 GHz transceiver, an extended range of interfaces and embedded hardware cryptographic engine, the BMD-34 modules provide a complete RF solution allowing faster time to market with reduced development costs and advanced security capabilities.

Providing full use of the Nordic nRF52840’s capabilities and peripherals, the BMD-34 can power demanding applications, while simplifying designs and reducing BOM costs.

The BMD-34 is an ideal solution for designs that require Bluetooth 5 features or 802.15.4 based networking for Thread. The Bluetooth 5 long range feature provides extended range, and the optional PA/LNA boost the link budget even further, bringing range and coverage to the maximum. Built in USB and 5.5 V compatible DC-DC supply reduces design complexity and BOM cost, while expanding possible applications. 

The modules are certified for Europe, US, Canada and Australia/New Zealand, including antenna alternatives for either internal PCB antenna, or a U.FL antenna connector for external antenna. BMD-34 designs are footprint compatible with a range of other BMD-modules, providing flexibility for tiered product lineups.

Fully compliant with the latest Bluetooth v5.1 specification, the BMD‑360 module is the initial u‑blox Bluetooth module to support Bluetooth’s direction finding feature. 

The BMD‑360 is highly optimized for cost sensitive, long range beacon applications, asset tags for smart building and smart manufacturing systems, Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure, warehouse logistics, and many other high precision, indoor location‑based services. Central to its functional capabilities is the nRF52811 system‑on‑chip (SoC) from Nordic Semiconductor. This incorporates a 32‑bit Arm Cortex-M4 processor running at 64MHz, and a built‑in antenna element. 

The BMD‑360 is complemented by the BMD‑345 and BMD‑341 Bluetooth 5.0 modules, both of which are built around Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC. Both modules feature a U.FL connector for applications requiring an external antenna. This makes them ideal for deployments in challenging use cases, such as medical and industrial devices built into metal enclosures.  

Pushing the long range performance even further with its embedded power amplifier and a low noise amplifier, the BMD‑345 will play a pivotal role in use cases requiring best‑in‑class link budget for extended coverage and enhanced signal quality. These use cases can for instance include agriculture, asset tracking systems, and Bluetooth‑based mesh networks repeaters, enhancing their operational range and their ability to deal with obstacles.

“Through the introduction of these modules we add important new features and solution capabilities for our customers, allowing us to attend to a diverse cross section of client needs,” states Len Albertsson, Principal Product Manager, Product Center Short Range Radio at u‑blox. “Offering ever‑greater coverage and new high precision indoor positioning capabilities, it’s exciting to see Bluetooth grow out of its niche as a short range communication technology.”

The BMD‑341 and BMD‑345 are both pin and footprint compatible with all other BDM‑34x products, thereby facilitating design upgrades or the design of product variants with different antenna types and ranges. The BMD‑360 is fully compatible with the BMD‑330, BMD‑300 and BMD‑301.

Samples of BMD‑341 and of BMD‑360 will be available this month, and samples of BMD‑345 will follow later this year. 

IoT Innovator Newsletter

Get the latest updates and industry news in your inbox! Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.