Communications

ST's Bluetooth SoC with latest positioning capabilities

28th June 2022
Sam Holland

STMicroelectronics has introduced its third-generation Bluetooth SoC (system-on-chip), enhanced with Bluetooth direction finding technology for location-tracking and real-time positioning applications.

By determining the direction of a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal, the Bluetooth 5.3 certified BlueNRG-LPS SoC can precisely estimate movement and location with centimetre accuracy. It uses Bluetooth-specified technology including both angle-of-arrival (or AoA) and angle-of-departure (AoD), as computed from signals captured by an antenna array. With this capability, the SoC now enables a wide variety of applications that require indoor navigation, geofencing, and asset tracking, as well as real-time location finding for tools, assets, and goods.

With its streamlined architecture and I/O peripherals, plus program and data memories (192KB eFlash and 24KB SRAM, respectively) sized for lightweight end products, BlueNRG-LPS is ideal for cost-sensitive and high-volume applications. These include general-purpose wireless sensors, medical appliances, keyless-entry systems, remote controls, and smart remote metering. Also integrating a high-efficiency step-down converter and protection circuitry, the SoC further simplifies and reduces the required bill-of-material and allows for a much cheaper two-layer PCB design.

The architecture supports the latest Bluetooth LE Power Control specification, which enables fine-tuning of RF output power in 1dBm increments, and up to +8dBm, to permit longer battery runtime. In addition, Bluetooth Path-Loss Monitoring enhances radio-link quality and prevents interference, ensuring robust connections for improved interaction between devices, even in crowded places, and faster response times.

Support for Bluetooth 5.3 long range, 2Mbps high-speed data rate, periodic advertising, simultaneous connection, and multi-role specifications also ensure superior user experiences with equipment powered by BlueNRG-LPS. There are also dedicated hardware functions and cryptographic IPs to support enhanced security.

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