Silicon Labs has introduced a new portfolio of highly integrated, secure Wireless Gecko modules aimed at simplifying RF interactivity and connectivity when adding robust mesh networking connectivity to a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) products. The new MGM210x and BGM210x Series 2 modules support leading mesh protocols (Zigbee, Thread and Bluetooth mesh), Bluetooth Low Energy and multiprotocol connectivity. They offer a one-stop wireless solution to improve mesh network performance for line-powered IoT systems ranging from smart LED lighting to home and industrial automation.
Time to market is a key challenge and a potential competitive advantage for IoT product developers. The pre-certified xGM210x modules help reduce R&D cycles related to RF design and protocol optimization, allowing developers to focus on their end applications. Pre-certified for North America, Europe, Korea and Japan, the modules minimize the time, cost and risk factors related to global wireless certifications. xGM210x modules make it possible to accelerate time to market by several months.
“When we deliver these parts, they will be pre-certified and ready to go in those countries. This means a developer doesn’t have to put any time into specific RF designs or any part of the certification process in order to get their product to market,” says Matt Saunders, Vice President of Marketing and Applications, IoT Products, Silicon Labs. “Whether you are adding wireless connectivity to a previously non-connected design or starting something from scratch, the pre-certification reduces cost and the overhead. If you’re anything other than those companies very familiar with RF designs, having this kind of precertification gives you a real advantage in terms of your time to market and reducing complexity.”
The new modules are based on Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform featuring industry-leading RF performance, a powerful Arm Cortex-M33 processor, best-in-class software stacks, a dedicated security core and a +125 oC temperature rating suited for harsh environmental conditions. xGM210x modules are engineered to optimize the performance of resource-constrained IoT products without requiring functionality tradeoffs impacting communication reliability, product security or field upgradability. An integrated RF power amplifier also makes the modules ideal for long-range Bluetooth Low Energy applications requiring hundreds of meters of line-of-sight connectivity.
The Series 2 module portfolio’s initial families include the industry’s first pre-certified wireless modules optimized for LED light bulbs and a versatile printed-circuit board (PCB) form-factor module designed to meet the needs of a broad range of ultra-small IoT product designs.
xGM210L modules are designed to meet the unique performance, environmental, reliability and cost needs of smart LED lighting. The modules combine a custom form factor to ease mounting inside LED bulb housings, PCB trace antenna to maximize wireless range, high-temperature ratings, extensive global regulatory certifications, and low active power consumption, delivering a wireless solution for cost-sensitive, high-volume smart LED lightbulbs.
The module has been designed such that it will fit in the vast majority of the different bowl chassis’ and poke through that front with no shadow. This means that the developers of these products can have one communications board on their SKU list which will address almost all, if not all, of the different bowl chassis’ that are out there. While the specs are fundamentally the same as the P module, the shape is different and the IO count is slightly different, as well as the output power which is necessary to meet some of the more stringent power requirements within a mesh network.
xGM210P modules feature a PCB form factor, integrated chip antenna and minimal clearance areas for mechanics, simplifying space-constrained IoT designs including smart lighting, HVAC, building and factory automation systems. The conventionally shaped module makes it easy to use for anything from Bluetooth thread, mesh or for any kind of dynamic multi-protocol implementation.
xGM210x modules provide best-in-class features that enable developers to implement robust security in IoT products. Secure boot with root of trust and secure loader (RTSL) technology helps prevent malware injection and rollback to ensure authentic firmware execution and over-the-air (OTA) updates. A dedicated security core isolates the application processor and delivers
Simplifying IoT Development
Developers can further accelerate time-to-market by taking advantage of Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio integrated development environment featuring comprehensive software stacks, application demos and mobile apps. Advanced software tools including a patented network analyzer and energy profiler help developers optimize the wireless performance and energy consumption of IoT applications.
“Simplicity Studio is continually evolving,” says Saunders. “The underlying fundamentals are there, the IDE, the compiler, the maker, all of that kind of components that you need to get moving. But what I think adds a level of flexibility is the application builder that exists inside Studio which is then tooled up and targeted towards these modules.”
Samples and production quantities of the xGM210P modules are available now. Samples and production quantities of the xGM210L modules are planned to be available in Q4 2019. The Wireless Gecko starter kit mainboard and Series 2 radio boards are also available now. Contact your local Silicon Labs sales representative or authorized distributor for Series 2 module and development kit pricing. For additional information, visit silabs.com/series-2-modules.