Next-generation Bluetooth system-on-chip

1 min read

STMicroelectronics has introduced its third-generation Bluetooth System-on-Chip (SoC), which has been enhanced with Bluetooth direction finding technology for location-tracking and real-time positioning applications.

By determining the direction of a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal, the Bluetooth 5.3 certified BlueNRG-LPS SoC can precisely estimate movement and location with centimetre accuracy. It uses Bluetooth-specified technology including both angle-of-arrival (AoA) and angle-of-departure (AoD), as computed from signals captured by an antenna array.

Using this capability, the SoC makes it possible to enable a wide variety of applications that require indoor navigation, geofencing, and asset tracking, as well as real-time location finding for tools, assets, and goods.

With a streamlined architecture and I/O peripherals, and programme and data memories (192KB eFlash and 24KB SRAM, respectively) sized for lightweight end products, the BlueNRG-LPS has been designed for cost-sensitive and high-volume applications such as - general-purpose wireless sensors, medical appliances, keyless-entry systems, remote controls, and smart remote metering.

Also integrating a high-efficiency step-down converter and protection circuitry, the SoC also simplifies and reduces the required bill-of-material (BOM) and allows for a much cheaper two-layer PCB design.

The architecture supports the latest Bluetooth LE Power Control specification, which enables fine-tuning of RF output power in 1dBm increments, and up to +8dBm, to permit longer battery runtime. In addition, Bluetooth Path-Loss Monitoring enhances radio-link quality and prevents interference, ensuring robust connections for improved interaction between devices, even in crowded places, and faster response times.

Support for Bluetooth 5.3 long range, 2Mbps high-speed data rate, periodic advertising, simultaneous connection, and multi-role specifications also ensure much improved user experiences with equipment powered by BlueNRG-LPS. There are also dedicated hardware functions and cryptographic IPs to support enhanced security.