New Industry Products

IoT Connectivity Platform Offers 2.5X the Wireless Range

April 22, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Silicon Labs has introduced the next generation of its Wireless Gecko platform, Series 2. The company designed Series 2 to make IoT products more efficient, more powerful, and more reliable. Building on the RF and multiprotocol capabilities of the company's Wireless Gecko portfolio, Series 2 provides a versatile and scalable IoT connectivity platform.

The first Series 2 products include small-form-factor system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices featuring a dedicated security core and an on-chip radio that the company says delivers 2.5X the wireless range of competing solutions.

IoT developers often face product design tradeoffs related to wireless range, power consumption, size, security, and cost.

Reusable software and highly-integrated SoC options make RF communication more dependable and energy efficient and help the Series 2 simplify IoT product design. According to Silicon Labs, Series 2 helps optimize system cost and performance for a broad range of smart home, industrial, and commercial IoT applications.

"As the adoption and diversity of IoT devices continue to grow, developers seek flexible connectivity solutions that help them quickly bring differentiated products to market while reducing cost and design complexity," said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. "Series 2 improves multiple design elements, including wireless performance, software reuse, RF communication reliability and enhanced security to speed development, deployment and adoption of the IoT."

The first products in Silicon Labs' Series 2 portfolio include EFR32MG21 SoCs that support multiprotocol, Zigbee®, Thread and Bluetooth® mesh networking. These first products will also include EFR32BG21 SoCs dedicated to Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth mesh. These SoCs provide solutions suitable for line-powered IoT products such as hubs, gateways, lights, smart electric meters, and voice assistants.

Series 2 SoCs boast best-in-class RF performance with +20 dBm output power and up to +124.5 dB link budget

The Series 2 products offer robust wireless radio with improved blocking performance.

The devices provide powerful processing capabilities with an 80 MHz Arm® Cortex®-M33 core with TrustZone technology.

As a result of manufacturing on the company's low-power, 40nm process technology, Series 2 operates with a low active current (50.9 µA/MHz) to meet strict green energy requirements,

The company claims that the Series 2 offers the industry's smallest multi-protocol SoCs in a 4mm x 4mm QFN package.

The devices have no need for external inductors or power amplifiers and require fewer matching components giving designs a lower BOM count and system cost.

Silicon Labs will release pre-certified modules based on EFR32xG21 SoCs in Q3 2019.

Built-In Security

EFR32xG21 offers strong security in connected products. A dedicated security core enables faster, lower-power encryption than software strategies. A true random number generator (TRNG) enhances device cryptography. Secure boot loading ensures the authenticity of firmware images and over-the-air updates. Secure debugging access control helps OEMs prevent unauthorized access to end products.

With Series 2, lets designers use the company's Simplicity Studio integrated development environment with a suite of tools such as mobile apps, application demos, a unified wireless development kit, SDKs, an energy profiler, and the company's patented network analysis

Availability and Pricing

Samples and production quantities of both the EFR32MG21 and EFR32BG21 SoCs are now available in compact 4 mm x 4 mm QFN32 packages. The Wireless Gecko starter kit mainboard and EFR32xG21 radio boards are also available now. The company urges those interested to contact their local Silicon Labs sales representative or authorized distributor for EFR32xG21 SoC and development kit pricing.