April 18, 2017 12:19
Cypress BLE Solutions Enable Long Range Wireless Communication in Industrial and Commercial/Consumer IoT Applications
With the Internet of Things connecting more and more physical objects that have never been connected before, opportunities for improvement in operational efficiency and performance in manufacturing and industrial technologies are at an all-time high. Energy efficiency, security, and reliability are at the heart of this formation of the Industrial IoT and the transition to Industry 4.0. Cypress offers low-power, wireless solutions that address the needs of customers in this new, exciting era.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Provides Connectivity for Industrial and Lighting IoT System Design
Although Bluetooth has traditionally been known as a short-range wireless protocol, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is being utilized in a variety of different industrial, as well as commercial/consumer IoT applications due to its low power, long range capabilities. Cypress BLE solutions enable innovations in these fields by leveraging this long range connectivity.
The ability to intelligently predict a possible industrial equipment issue or failure before it happens, would bring great value to any business. A possible solution that would bring such value would be a beacon on a piece of industrial equipment in a factory or assembly line. Multiple, similar beacons could exist on different pieces of equipment all across a factory. A few times a day, status data is transmitted from these beacons to a central hub. If there are multiple pieces of equipment spread across a factory floor, and only one central hub, that hub may be located at a long distance, maybe 100 meters or more, from several of them. If long range connectivity is utilized in this scenario, to enable the industrial equipment to report back to that central hub, status data with errors inside could be detected and technicians or other factory workers could be notified and dispatched to check on the issue. This would greatly reduce the chances of machine failure, as the preexisting time an equipment issue exists before it is addressed is minimized.
Lighting is another application in which long range connectivity is a requirement of system design. Industrial-grade LEDs as well as LEDs used in commercial/consumer lights are often controlled from longer distances away. By using a smartphone app, remote control, or some other, possibly automated, mechanism, the color and intensity of the light can be modified as determined by a user. A stable, long range connection would need to be maintained between the control mechanism and the wireless device within the fixture, to exchange relevant data.
Both of the applications above not only require long-range connectivity, but also need to be able to tolerate higher temperatures. If a BLE device is deployed in an industrial/manufacturing setting, it may also need to tolerate temperatures of up to 90oC or 100oC to match the operating ambient temperatures of the various, machines, industrial equipment, etc. on the factory floor. In addition, in terms of the connected lighting applications, functionality and connectivity need to be maintained no matter the fluctuations in temperature of the lighting fixtures.
Cypress’ EZ-BLE™ PSoC™ Modules Enable Industrial and Lighting Innovations
Industrial/lighting applications needing long range and high temperature tolerance now have an ideal solution: Cypress’ EZ-BLE PSoC Module (CYBLE-224110-00). This turnkey module solution is fully-qualified (Bluetooth 4.1) and fully-certified (FCC, IC, TELEC, KCC, CE) and integrates a PA and LNA to support long range (400m line-of-sight) and extended industrial temperature grade (-40°C to +105°C).
Cypress is now introducing a NEW BLE solution enabling industrial/lighting applications that need better over-the-air security and/or higher throughput in addition to long range and a higher temperature tolerance. Cypress’s NEW EZ-BLE PSoC Module (CYBLE-224116-01) is Bluetooth 4.2 compliant and offers all of the features that come with the BT 4.2 spec, including:
- LE Secure Connections using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman algorithm for secure key exchange
- LE Extended Data Packet Length for 251 byte over-the-air payload (compared to 27 bytes in BT 4.1) that enables up to ~800 kbps throughput (compared to ~300kbps with BT 4.1)
- LE Privacy 1.2 for power efficient address resolution
Long Range Connectivity Brings Value to Next Generation IoT Applications
Devices outside of the industrial space that are equipped with long range connectivity also can benefit and see enhanced value. One such application that could utilize long-range connected devices is asset tracking in warehouses. Asset tracking could truly benefit from long range, low-power wireless communication. Tracking the location, movement, temperature, most recent replacement and other key statistics of assets in a warehouse can help internal operations become more efficient and reduce costs that could then be utilized elsewhere. A beacon in a “connected warehouse” can periodically report the number of containers in a designated area – creating smarter inventory management. Or a piece of safety equipment could periodically report that it is available still, or the last time it has been replaced as to notify a user or controller that a replacement is needed. All of these applications and more would benefit from a farther, stable wireless connection.
NEW EZ-BLE PRoC™ Turnkey Module Solutions From Cypress
Cypress’s NEW EZ-BLE PRoC Module CYBLE-212006-01 is a turnkey module solution for IoT applications that require long range. The module is fully-qualified (Bluetooth 4.2), fully-certified (FCC, IC, TELEC, KCC, CE) and integrates a PA (for 7.5 dBm output TX power) and an LNA (for up to -93 dBm receive sensitivity), along with an on-board PCB antenna. As mentioned earlier, the Bluetooth 4.2 spec offers enhanced security and higher throughput for IoT applications.
Every application is different, and Cypress’ new BLE modules cover a wide spectrum of design needs. Certain applications require the Bluetooth module to be placed inside a metal enclosure and therefore require an antenna that can stick out of the enclosure for wireless connectivity access. Other applications may simply want an external antenna option for better gain to further improve range. The CYBLE-202007-01 provides an option to attach an external antenna via an on-board u.FL connector while the CYBLE-202013-11 enables an external antenna using a RF solder pad. Both of these can support external antennas with 50 ohm impedance.
The EZ-BLE PSoC Module (CYBLE-224116-01) and the EZ-BLE PRoC Modules (CYBLE-202007-01 for u.FL connector and CYBLE-202013-11 for RF pad) are now in production and will be available for purchase at RS-Components in May.
While you’re waiting, get started on your next design today with these Bluetooth solutions from Cypress and RS-Components – enabling the IoT Solutions of tomorrow.
Matthew received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Santa Clara University. Matthew now works at Cypress Semiconductor in San Jose, CA as a Product Marketing Engineer. Cypress’ advanced system-level solutions are Embedded in Tomorrow™. From the entrepreneur building a revolutionary new product in a garage to the Fortune 500 engineering team tasked with making the impossible happen now, Cypress is today’s technology partner for tomorrow’s innovations.