Multiprotocol wireless SoCs simplify IoT connectivity
Wireless Gecko SoCs integrate an ARM Cortex-M4 core, energy-friendly Gecko technology, a 2.4-GHz radio with up to 19.5 dBm output power, and advanced hardware cryptography. Wireless Gecko SoCs are designed to speed wireless design with Thread and ZigBee stacks for mesh networks, intuitive radio interface software for proprietary protocols, Bluetooth Smart for point-to-point connectivity, and Simplicity Studio tools to simplify wireless development, configuration, debugging and low-energy design.
The Wireless Gecko portfolio features three families of multiprotocol SoCs optimized for real-world IoT use cases and the most popular wireless protocols:
• Blue Gecko family – Bluetooth Smart connectivity with highest output power and range
• Mighty Gecko family – ZigBee and Thread connectivity for mesh networks
• Flex Gecko family – Flexible proprietary wireless protocol options for diverse applications
"The Wireless Gecko portfolio provides customers with a much-needed one-stop-shop approach to multiprotocol IoT connectivity with flexible cost/performance options supported by best-in-class software stacks and a common development environment that greatly simplifies wireless design," said Daniel Cooley, vice president of marketing for IoT products at Silicon Labs in a statement.
Pin- and software-compatible Wireless Gecko families enable customers to build on their development tool and software investments. Developers can select the wireless protocol to meet their application needs today and can migrate to other protocols within the portfolio with the assurance of hardware/software reuse.
Wireless Gecko SoCs combine Silicon Labs’ energy-friendly Gecko MCU technology with a multiprotocol 2.4 GHz RF transceiver in a single-die solution with scalable memory options (up to 256 kB flash and up to 32 kB RAM). Gecko technology includes well-architected energy modes, ultra-fast wake-up/sleep transitions, and the Peripheral Reflex System (PRS), enabling autonomous operation of low-power peripherals while the MCU core sleeps.
Based on an ARM Cortex-M4 processor with floating point and DSP capabilities, the Gecko MCU consumes only 63 µA/MHz in active mode. The Wireless Gecko SoCs also integrate a software-programmable power amplifier (PA) and balun to reduce bill of materials (BOM) cost and design complexity while providing scalable output power ranging from -30 dBm up to +19.5 dBm for applications requiring long-range connectivity.
"Low-power connectivity is a key factor in the deployment of IoT nodes at scale, and Silicon Labs’ new Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio offers a broad choice of connectivity standards," said John Ronco, vice president, product management, ARM. "Silicon Labs already has an impressive range of highly efficient ARM-based MCUs, and we see the addition of wireless interoperability as a key step in enabling developers to realize the potential of the IoT market."
Wireless Gecko SoCs feature a built-in hardware cryptographic accelerator providing fast, energy-efficient autonomous encryption and decryption of Internet security protocols such as TLS/SSL with minimal CPU intervention. The on-chip accelerator supports advanced algorithms such as AES with 128- or 256-bit keys, elliptical curve cryptography (ECC), SHA-1 and SHA-224/256. Hardware cryptography enables developers to meet evolving IoT security requirements more efficiently than with software-only techniques required by competing solutions.
The Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio is supported by Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio development platform, a unified environment for concurrent MCU and RF design. Simplicity Studio tools include AppBuilder, allowing developers to configure wireless applications while ensuring software reuse across Wireless Gecko SoC-based designs; Desktop Network Analyzer, providing full visibility and debugging of wireless networking activity by using the SoC’s packet trace port; and Energy Profiler, enabling developers to minimise the energy consumption of their code and extend battery life.
Engineering samples for Wireless Gecko SoCs are available now in 5 x 5-mm QFN32 and 7 x 7-mm QFN48 packages; production parts are planned for Q2 2016. USD pricing in 100,000-unit quantities begins at $2.11 for Mighty Gecko SoCs; $2.06 for Flex Gecko SoCs; and $0.99 for Blue Gecko SoCs.
The SLWSTK6000A Mighty Gecko Mesh Development Kit, supporting ZigBee, Thread, Bluetooth Smart and proprietary protocols, is priced at $499. The SLWSTK6066A Flex Gecko Proprietary Starter Kit is priced at $229. The SLWSTK6020A Blue Gecko Starter Kit is priced at $99.
Silicon Labs; www.silabs.com/WirelessGecko