Micros

Enhanced security for Bluetooth 5 Connections with microcontroller

4th December 2019
Lanna Cooper

Renesas has introduced the RX23W - a 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) featuring Bluetooth 5.0 for IoT endpoint devices such as home appliances and healthcare equipment. By combining Bluetooth 5.0 with Renesas’ Trusted Secure IP on its popular high performance RX MCU family, Renesas offers customers an optimised single-chip solution for system control and wireless communication, while also providing a more secure way to answer the Bluetooth security risks such as eavesdropping, tampering, and viruses.

"While devices with Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy is not new in the market, Renesas adds value for this ubiquitous wireless technology with a twist: strong emphasis on security and privacy,” said Daryl Khoo, Vice President, Product Marketing, IoT Platform Business Unit at Renesas Electronics Corporation.

"The recent security concerns clearly shows that the Bluetooth implementations are getting more complex as more core use cases are defined, and there is a strong need to address better, more secure connections.

"Renesas believes applications deploying Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy capabilities will be complemented with our strength in hardware security, all within one MCU that can handle application, communication and security. I am very pleased that Renesas is well positioned to offer this with our flagship RX family which has a proven track record for reliability and safety.”

The new RX23W is based on Renesas’ RXv2 core, which provides computational performance with improved FPU and DSP functions and operates at a maximum clock frequency of 54MHz.

The RX23W provides full Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy support including long range and mesh networking functions and according to the company, achieves the industry’s lowest level reception mode peak power consumption at 3.0mA.

Furthermore, it integrates a rich set of peripheral functions that are indispensable for IoT equipment, including security, touch key, USB, and CAN functions. These functions allow the RX23W to implement both system control and Bluetooth wireless functions for IoT endpoint equipment such as home appliances, healthcare equipment, and sports and fitness equipment on a single chip.

In addition, the RX23W's Bluetooth mesh functions make it optimal for industrial IoT equipment collecting sensor data within a factory or a building.

Key features of the RX23W MCU:

  • Full functional support for Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy and reception characteristics

The RX23W supports long distance communication (long range: 400m), 2Mbps (megabit per second) data throughput, and Bluetooth mesh networking, supporting the full functionality of Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy.

Furthermore, the RX23W achieves a 3.0mA reception mode peak current - according to the company it is the industry's lowest level - and a reception sensitivity level of -105dBm at 125Kbps.

  • A basic protocol stack package and all standard profiles

In addition to a Bluetooth 5.0 basic protocol stack package, Renesas provides API functions that conform to all standard profiles, including a Health Thermometer Profile (HTP), an Environment Sensing Profile (ESP), and an Automation I/O profile (AIOP). These allow users to start prototype development and evaluation quickly and can speed up the user's development process.

  • A revolutionary development environment that allows simultaneous development of system control and communication control

Renesas provides a Smart Configurator, implemented in a GUI, that can generate all types of MCU peripheral function driver code and pin settings for the e2 Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to generate the Bluetooth driver code.

Renesas also developed a QE for BLE that can generate programmes for custom profiles and embed them in user application programmes to support application programme development. Renesas also developed a Bluetooth Trial Tool Suite that allows users to perform initial wireless characteristics evaluations and Bluetooth functional verification in a GUI.

The RX23W target board includes antennas and has already acquired certification under Radio Law. The recommended reference price of this board will be $55 per unit (excluding tax).

  • Secure communications MCU for the IoT

The RX23W integrates Renesas’ Trusted Secure IP (TSIP) as part of its built-in hardware security engine. The TSIP driver uses strong encryption key management with hardware accelerators to securely boot customers’ IoT devices and protect them from security threats. Cryptographic Algorithm Validation Programme (CVAP) certification is expected.

  • Reduced Bill of Materials through integration

The RX23W includes a dedicated Bluetooth high precision low speed on-chip oscillator, eliminating the need for external matching circuits and external capacitors. This reduces both BOM (bills of materials) costs and circuit board areas, resulting in lower IoT equipment manufacturing costs.

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