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SiLabs Wireless Gecko SoCs Support Bluetooth 4.2, Zigbee, Thread, and 2.4GHz Proprietary Protocols

February 25th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Silicon Labs has introduced three new Wireless SoC families with Blue Gecko for Bluetooth Smart, Mighty Gecko for Thread & Zigbee, and Flex Gecko for proprietary 2.4 GHz protocols. All three families provides up to 19.5 dBm output power & hardware cryptography, and are pin-to-pin and software compatible.

SiLabs Might Gecko SoC Block Diagram

SiLabs Might Gecko SoC Block Diagram

SiLabs Wireless Gecko SoC highlights:

  • MCU Core – ARM Cortex-M4 @ 40 MHz with FPU, up to 256 KB flash, and up to 32KB SRAM. Mighty Gecko also adds a DSP
  • Peripherals
    • AES256/128 Hardware Crypto Accelerator
    • ADC (12-bit, 1 Msps, 286 µA)
    • Current DAC (4-bit, Current Source or Sink)
    • 2x Analog Comparator
    • Low Energy UART
    • 2x USART (UART, SPI, IrDA, I2S)
    • I2C (Address recognition down to EM3)
    • Timers : RTCC, LE Timer & Pulse Counter
    • 12-channel Peripheral Reflex System
    • Up to 31 GPIO
  • EFR32BG Blue Gecko Family
    • Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth Low Energy or “BLE”) 4.2 specification as well as proprietary wireless protocols
    • Supported by Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth Smart software stack and BGScript scripting language
    • Packages – QFN48 (7 mm x 7 mm), QFN32 (5 mm x 5 mm), WLCSP (3.3 mm x 3.2 mm)
  • EFR32MG Mighty Gecko Family
    • Multiprotocol SoC solution for low-power 802.15.4 mesh networking
    • Supports Silicon Labs’ ZigBee PRO software stack for ZigBee applications and Silicon Labs’ pre-certified Thread protocol stack for IP-based mesh networks
    • Gives developers the flexibility to select the optimal protocol (ZigBee, Thread, Bluetooth Smart or proprietary) for their IoT applications
    • Packages – QFN48 (7 mm x 7 mm), QFN32 (5 mm x 5 mm)
  • EFR32FG Flex Gecko Family
    • Supports popular proprietary protocol options for diverse applications including M2M links, building automation, security and electronic shelf labels.
    • Features Silicon Labs’ radio abstraction interface layer (RAIL) software easing the complexity of proprietary wireless development by simplifying radio configuration
    • Packages – QFN48 (7 mm x 7 mm), QFN32 (5 mm x 5 mm)

The Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio is supported by Simplicity Studio development platform including AppBuilder, to configure wireless applications, Desktop Network Analyzer for debugging, and Energy Profiler for profiling energy consumption. The IDE works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

The company also provided the table below to help customer choose the best 2.4GHz protocol for their application.

Bluetooth Smart ZigBee Thread Proprietary
Network Topology P2P, Star Mesh Mesh P2P, Star, Mesh
Network Size 2 ~ 10 150 ~ 250 150 ~ 250 Custom
Line-of-Sight Range 375 m 585 m 585 m 585 m (2.4 GHz)
Data Rate 1 Mbps 250 kbps 250 kbps Custom
IP Support Yes No Yes No
Low Energy Yes Yes Yes Yes
Application Examples Wearables
Fitness/Health
Home Automation
Lighting
Home Automation
Lighting
Smart Metering
Industrial Automation
Home Automation
Lighting
Smart Metering
Industrial Automation
Home Automation
Electronic Shelf Labels
Asset Tracking

Mighty_Gecko_DevkitThree development starter kits are available for the Blue, Mighty and Flex Gecko SoCs:

  • $99 EFR32 Blue Gecko Bluetooth Smart SoC Wireless Starter Kit (SLWSTK6020A) with mainboard, EFR32BG 2.4 GHz radio board (+10.5 dBm), 1x USB A to USB mini-B cable, 1x CR2032 battery, and a  EFR32BG Get Started Card
  • $229 Flex Gecko Starter Kit (SLWSTK6066A) with 2x Wireless starter kit mainboards, 2x EFR32FG 2.4 GHz radio boards (+19.5 dBm), 2x USB A to USB mini-B cables, 2x CR2032 batteries, 2x AA Battery holders, and a EFR32FG Get Started Card
  • $499 EFR32 Mighty Gecko Starter Kit (SLWSTK6000A) with 3x Wireless starter kit mainboards, 3 x EFR32MG 2.4 GHz 19.5 dBm radio board, 3 x EFR32MG 2.4 GHz 13 dBm radio boards, an AA Battery board (supports running +19.5 from battery), and an integrated debug and packet trace

Wireless Gecko engineering samples are available now in QFN32 and QFN48 packages, with mass production scheduled for Q2 2016. Pricing starts at $2.11 per unit for 100,000-unit quantities for Mighty Gecko SoCs, $2.06 for Flex Gecko SoCs, and $0.99 for Blue Gecko SoCs. More details can be found on SiLabs Wireless Gecko product page.

Via EETimes

  1. TLS
    February 25th, 2016 at 21:59 | #1

    Another over priced solution from Silicon Labs. The cheapest ZigBee/Thread capable solution is $5.67…
    At this price, the sensors using this chip is going to cost way too much to be marketable to consumers at least…

    Even at $4.20 in 2.5k volumes, it’s simply not a competitive product.

  2. Andrew
    February 26th, 2016 at 06:25 | #2

    @TLS
    Maybe not. Thread is a closed pay-to-play standard. If this chip is shipping with Thread middleware/stack already built in, it might be worth it, especially for the time-to-market speed.

  3. TLS
    February 26th, 2016 at 19:19 | #3

    @Andrew
    None of this stuff is “built in” when it comes to chips. Besides, for any application, you’d have to develop your own stuff to actually make it work. My previous company worked a lot with Sigma Designs and although they’re generally quite good, they most definitely don’t offer turn key solutions in most cases. They did launch something for some ZigBee products last year, but it was still quite limited.

    Even their 100k pricing as quoted in the article is very high and it was more in line what they were saying the 10k pricing was supposed to be when I last talked to them. Kind of annoying they can’t get their pricing to a more competitive level.

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