Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : IoT gateway and dongle enable OEMs to rapidly develop multiprotocol low power RF solutions for commercial mesh networking applications
Fanstel Corp.’s ‘BWG840F’ gateway and ‘USB840F’ dongle employ Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC to deliver long range mesh wireless connectivity
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Fanstel Corp., a Scottsdale, AZ-based module manufacturer, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘BWG840F’ gateway and ‘USB840F’ dongle. The gateway and the dongle are designed to enable OEMs to rapidly develop solutions for customers—including IoT Cloud service providers and enterprises employing Cloud servers—to monitor IoT devices. Both solutions enable the rapid commissioning and mass deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in commercial mesh networks via Bluetooth LE and Thread wireless protocols.
Designed to simplify the RF development and certification work required to develop IoT applications, both the gateway and dongle are U.S. FCC and European CE certified and supplied in market-ready enclosures.
The gateway and the dongle employ Fanstel’s Bluenor BT840F module for ultra low power and long range IoT applications. The module is based on the Bluetooth 5- and Thread-compliant nRF52840 SoC-based enabling it support multiprotocol wireless connectivity between the gateway or dongle and Bluetooth LE or Thread nodes in a mesh network. To further support the rapid development of IoT mesh networking solutions based on the gateway, Fanstel provides the DK-BWG840F development kit, allowing users to load firmware into the BT840F module using Nordic’s nRF5 Software Development Kit (SDK) and nRFgo software tools.
The BWG840F gateway’s Wi-Fi module provides Internet connectivity, enabling an IoT mesh network to be monitored and controlled remotely via a Cloud server. Alternatively, the USB840F dongle plugs into a PC’s USB port and relays data between the PC and any node in the mesh network using Bluetooth LE or Thread. For large scale applications, multiple dongles can be deployed in parallel, by being plugged into a wall USB port throughout a facility and then relaying commands and data to any node in the network within range of the ports.
Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps) compared with Bluetooth 4.2). Designed to address the inherent security challenges that are faced in IoT, the nRF52840 SoC incorporates the Arm® CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator, offering best-in-class security.
The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data Bluetooth LE applications. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long range modes as well as advertising extensions.
The nRF52840 SoC also supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5- and Thread 1.1-certified and its Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of both protocols. Its radio architecture—featuring -96-dBm RX sensitivity and an on-chip power amplifier that boosts maximum output power of 8dBm for a total link budget of >104dBm—enables the gateway and dongle to achieve an estimated Bluetooth LE range of 2300 metres when used in environments with a clear line of sight, low RF interference, and low multiple path intereference, according to Fanstel.
“The key reasons for selecting the nRF52840 SoC were its support for multiple radio protocols, its advanced security functionality, and the fact it features all the firmware required for the Bluetooth LE portion of the gateway,” says Dr Yuan Fan, Fanstel Founder and CEO. “We also greatly appreciate Nordic’s support and fast response time throughout the development process.”