Dual-mode module offers Bluetooth BR/EDR capabilities

9th June 2015
Posted By : Barney Scott
Dual-mode module offers Bluetooth BR/EDR capabilities

Silicon Labs has unveiled a dual-mode Bluetooth Smart Ready module solution that gives embedded developers unparalleled flexibility to integrate both Bluetooth Smart and Bluetooth Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate (BR/EDR) wireless technologies while minimising design time, cost and complexity. The BT121 is manufactured by Bluegiga, a Silicon Labs company.

The Bluetooth Smart Ready BT121 module provides a pre-certified, fully integrated, high-performance solution that includes the Bluetooth radio, MCU and on-board Bluetooth software stack supported by Silicon Labs’ complimentary Bluetooth Smart Ready SDK and easy-to-use BGScript scripting language.

The BT121 Bluetooth Smart Ready module and software are designed to help developers accelerate time to market and reduce development costs and compliance risks by providing a versatile, plug-and-play Bluetooth solution. The BT121 module is suitable for applications requiring connectivity to legacy devices that only support Bluetooth BR/EDR, as well the latest applications using Bluetooth Smart such as connected home, health and fitness, wearables and POS terminals. There are millions of legacy smart phones, tablets and PCs still in service that do not support Bluetooth Smart technology. Additionally, some applications require the higher throughput advantages of Bluetooth Classic technology, which Bluetooth Smart is not designed to achieve.

The BT121 module provides a “best of both worlds” solution for both ultra-low-power and high-data-rate Bluetooth connectivity applications. The module can connect to legacy devices that only support Bluetooth SPP or Apple iAP2 profiles, for example, as well as to devices that support Bluetooth Smart. The easy-to-use BT121 module integrates a high-performance Bluetooth radio with an extended range of up to 400m, a low-power ARM MCU, and a fully certified Bluetooth Smart Ready protocol stack in a compact 11x14mm SMT package, making this one of the smallest Bluetooth Smart Ready modules in the market.

No RF or Bluetooth protocol development expertise is necessary to implement the BT121 module in Bluetooth designs. The module can be used as a peripheral along with an external host MCU, or applications can be embedded into the built-in MCU with the Bluegiga BGScript scripting language, creating a completely standalone design with minimal external components.

“Our BT121 solution makes it simple and easy to add Bluetooth Smart and BR/EDR connectivity to wireless designs,” said Riku Mettälä, General Manager, Wireless Module Products, Silicon Labs. “Bluetooth Smart is quickly becoming the most widely adopted wireless protocol for power-sensitive personal-area networking applications. Leveraging Bluegiga’s deep wireless expertise, we continue to execute on our roadmap by introducing Bluetooth modules and software stacks, enabling our customers to respond quickly to the largest, fastest-growing low-power wireless connectivity opportunity in the IoT.”

Available for download at no charge from Bluegiga, the Bluetooth Smart Ready SDK is a set of software tools for simplifying the development of Bluetooth Smart Ready applications. Developers can access dozens of example Bluetooth Smart application profiles, which can be used as templates, enabling them to accelerate development time. Silicon Labs continues to expand its library of Bluetooth profiles as part of its roadmap to support new and emerging wireless applications and use cases.

The Bluetooth Smart Ready stack and SDK are fully compatible with Silicon Labs’ recently announced Blue Gecko Bluetooth Smart modules. This compatibility makes it easy for developers to migrate their designs between Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready modules with a consistent set of APIs and software tools.

Pre-production samples of the Bluetooth Smart Ready BT121 module, along with the development kit, are available now for engineering evaluation and prototyping. Volume quantities of the module are planned for Q3.

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