ST Microelectronics has launched its first network processor for Bluetooth 5.0, eliminating the need for a separate microcontroller.
The BlueNRG-2N network coprocessor comes pre-programmed, ready for connecting to a host controller to provide Bluetooth connectivity. Not only simplifying product manufacture, the co-processor allows scaling the performance, features, and cost of the host system independently. The device is aimed at smart medical wearables, PC peripherals, remote controls, lighting, industrial and home automation to optimize their choice of microcontroller to meet specific model requirements.
The latest Bluetooth enhancements featured in BlueNRG-2N include support for Data Length Extension, which accelerates over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates by as much as 2.5 times and raises data transfers to 700kbit/s at the application level. In addition, with support for Bluetooth LE Privacy 1.2, BlueNRG-2N changes address frequently without host-processor involvement to prevent unwanted tracking with minimal impact on system power consumption.
BlueNRG-2N is programmed with a digitally signed Bluetooth LE stack, which saves manufacturing costs while still allowing the flexibility to upgrade OTA. Built-in image authentication technology enhances cyber-security by always checking the stack before starting to allow only signed firmware images to run.
Power consumption is lower compared with previous BlueNRG generations, with low transmit and receive current and drawing just 900nA in shutdown mode with the BLE stack running. At the same time, the device maintains robust and reliable radio performance, with +8dBm programmable RF output power and up to a 96dB link budget.
The BlueNRG-2N shares key features with the BlueNRG-2 Bluetooth 5.0-certified System-on-Chip (SoC), which also contains a programmable Arm Cortex-M0 MCU to host the main application and Bluetooth connectivity on the same device. Developers working with BlueNRG chips can use the STM32 online development environment (ODE), which includes the STM32CubeMX GUI plugin.
As the dedicated network co-processor within the BlueNRG family, BlueNRG-2N is in full production and is included in ST’s 10-year industrial product-longevity program. Devices are available in a 2.66mm x 2.56mm WLCSP34 chip-scale packages: BlueNRG-234N or 5mm