Bluetooth portfolio to encompass ultra-long range to indoor location

2nd December 2019
Alex Lynn

u-blox has further underlined its continued commitment to Bluetooth low energy innovation by expanding the BMD product series that it recently acquired from Rigado. The company has announced the introduction of the BMD-341, the BMD-345, and the BMD-360 Bluetooth modules, offering customers a comprehensive selection of solutions for their specific application criteria.

Fully compliant with the latest Bluetooth v5.1 specification, the BMD-360 module is the first u-blox Bluetooth module to support Bluetooth’s direction finding feature. The BMD-360 is highly optimised for cost sensitive, long range beacon applications, asset tags for smart building and smart manufacturing systems, Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure, warehouse logistics, and many other high precision, indoor location-based services. Central to its functional capabilities is the nRF52811 system-on-chip (SoC) from Nordic Semiconductor. This incorporates a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4 processor running at 64MHz, and a built-in antenna element.

The BMD-360 is complemented by the BMD-345 and BMD-341 Bluetooth 5.0 modules, both of which are built around Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC. Both modules feature a U.FL connector for applications requiring an external antenna. This makes them ideal for deployments in challenging use cases, such as medical and industrial devices built into metal enclosures.

Pushing the long range performance even further with its embedded power amplifier and a low noise amplifier, the BMD-345 will play a pivotal role in use cases requiring best-in-class link budget for extended coverage and enhanced signal quality. These use cases can for instance include agriculture, asset tracking systems, and Bluetooth-based mesh networks repeaters, enhancing their operational range and their ability to deal with obstacles.

“Through the introduction of these modules we add important new features and solution capabilities for our customers, allowing us to attend to a diverse cross section of client needs,” stated Len Albertsson, Principal Product Manager, Product Centre Short Range Radio at u-blox. “Offering ever-greater coverage and new high precision indoor positioning capabilities, it’s exciting to see Bluetooth grow out of its niche as a short range communication technology.”

The BMD-341 and BMD-345 are both pin and footprint compatible with all other BDM-34x products, thereby facilitating design upgrades or the design of product variants with different antenna types and ranges. The BMD-360 is fully compatible with the BMD-330, BMD-300 and BMD-301.

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