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New Wireless Gecko SoCs Help Developers Tackle Multiprotocol IoT Design

By Ken Briodagh March 14, 2017

In a recent announcement, Silicon Labs has declared a major expansion of its Wireless Gecko system-on-chip (SoC) portfolio, with the goal of making it easier for developers of all skill levels to add multiprotocol switching capabilities to IoT applications.

The new EFR32xG12 SoCs are designed to support a broader range of multiprotocol, multiband use cases for home automation, connected lighting, wearables and industrial IoT. These SoCs deliver better RF performance, enhanced cryptography acceleration, larger memory options, on-chip capacitive touch control, and additional low-power peripherals and sensor interfaces.

“Multiprotocol connectivity provides advanced capabilities to help simplify our networked lighting control designs while also satisfying customer needs for easy installation and over-the-air upgrades that extend product life,” said Bruce Bharat, Director, Product Marketing, Networked Controls, Acuity Brands Lighting, a provider of indoor and outdoor lighting, controls and energy management solutions. “Silicon Labs' Wireless Gecko platform gives us the multiprotocol SoCs, modules, robust software stacks and powerful development tools we need to get our network-enabled LED fixtures and controls to market quickly.”

Wireless Gecko SoCs support Zigbee and Thread mesh networking, Bluetooth 5 and proprietary wireless protocols. Silicon Labs has optimized its wireless protocol stack architecture to enable efficient switching between different network protocols. For example, device makers can now use a single chip to commission and configure devices over Bluetooth with a smartphone, and then join a Zigbee or Thread mesh network to connect to dozens or even hundreds of end nodes.

“The EFR32 Wireless Gecko portfolio is the most versatile, feature-rich multiprotocol platform available today,” said Daniel Cooley, SVP and GM, IoT products, Silicon Labs. “We continue to enhance the Wireless Gecko platform with new hardware and software capabilities that advance multiprotocol connectivity and address the real-world requirements of IoT products.”

The Wireless Gecko portfolio output powers up to +19 dBm, reducing system size, cost and complexity by eliminating the need for an external power amplifier. EFR32xG12 SoCs also offer exceptional sensitivity in the 2.4 GHz band at -102.7 dBm for Zigbee and Thread and -95 dBm for Bluetooth low energy, and improved sub-GHz performance for applications using proprietary protocols.  EFR32BG12 Blue Gecko SoCs feature a 2 Mbps Bluetooth PHY, providing ample throughput for applications running a Bluetooth 5-compliant stack.

To help secure the IoT, the SoC includes a second on-chip security accelerator dedicated to the multiprotocol radio and a NIST-certified true random number generator (TRNG). This additional hardware cryptography block runs the latest security algorithms with higher performance and lower power than conventional software implementations, the company said.




Edited by Alicia Young

Editorial Director

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