Wireless Gecko SoCs tackle multi-protocol IoT design
Wireless Gecko SoCs tackle multi-protocol IoT design : The latest release from Silicon Labs, the EFR32xG12, has been added to the Wireless Gecko system on chip (SoC) family. It offers connectivity, memory and peripheral features, and is designed to supports complex internet of things (IoT) applications, says the company.
The EFR32xG12 Wireless Gecko SoC allows developers of all skill levels to add versatile multi-protocol switching capabilities to IoT applications. The EFR32xG12 SoCs support a range of multi-protocol, multi-band use cases for home automation, connected lighting, wearables and industrial IoT. The SoCs combine RF performance, with enhanced cryptography acceleration, large memory options, on-chip capacitive touch control, and additional low-power peripherals and sensor interfaces. The capability for multi-protocol connectivity helps developers to simplify networked lighting control designs, for example, and satisfy the need for ease of installation and over-the-air (OTA) upgrades that extend product life.
The latest Wireless Gecko SoCs from Silicon Labs support Zigbee and Thread mesh networking, Bluetooth 5 and proprietary wireless protocols. Silicon Labs has optimised its wireless protocol stack architecture to enable efficient switching between different network protocols. For example, device makers can now use a single chip to commission and configure devices over Bluetooth with a smartphone, and then join a Zigbee or Thread mesh network to connect to many – even hundreds – of end nodes, says the company.
“The EFR32 Wireless Gecko portfolio offers the highest output power (up to +19dBm) in the multi-protocol SoC market, claims Silicon Labs. It reduces system size, cost and complexity by eliminating the need for an external power amplifier. EFR32xG12 SoCs also offer sensitivity in the 2.4GHz band (-102.7dBm for Zigbee and Thread and -95dBm for Bluetooth low energy). It can also be used to improve sub-GHz performance for applications using proprietary protocols. According to Silicon Labs, the combination of highest RF output power and best sensitivity contributes to wireless range, reliability and to improved battery life, essential for IoT applications, such as smart meters. EFR32BG12 Blue Gecko SoCs feature a 2Mbit/s Bluetooth PHY, which is ample throughput for applications running a Bluetooth 5-compliant stack. The Bluetooth 5 standard enables four times the range, twice the speed, 800 per cent greater broadcasting capacity and improved co-existence with other wireless IoT protocols.
The EFR32xG12 SoCs include a second on-chip security accelerator dedicated to the multi-protocol radio and a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) -certified true random number generator (TRNG). This additional hardware cryptography block runs the latest security algorithms with higher performance and lower power than conventional software implementations, says Silicon Labs.
EFR32xG12 SoCs offer four times more flash memory (up to 1024kbyte with a dual-bank architecture) and eight times more RAM (up to 256kbyte) than previous-generation Wireless Gecko devices. This memory expansion makes it easier to develop complex, feature-rich IoT applications supporting multiple protocol stacks, real-time operating systems (RTOS) such as Micrium OS, backup images for devices and OTA updates for field upgrades to extend the life of IoT products.
The expanded set of digital and analogue peripherals allows for design flexibility and the ability to connect additional components, such as sensors. An autonomous capacitive sensing controller provides direct support for capacitive touch interfaces in IoT products, without the cost and complexity of adding external controllers. EFR32xG12 Wireless Gecko SoC samples and production quantities are available now in 7.0 x 7.0mm QFN48 packages, and 65-general purpose input/output (GPIO) 7.0 x 7.0mm BGA options where a large number of IOs is required for feature-rich applications.
The SLWSTK6000A Mighty Gecko Mesh Development Kit, supporting all protocols, is also available, with additional radio boards for Mighty Gecko, Blue Gecko and Flex Gecko available. The Wireless Gecko portfolio is supported by Silicon Labs’ suite of Simplicity Studio development tools, available to developers free of charge.
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