New Nordic Semiconductor Wireless Q Magazine

Nordic Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest online issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

The latest issue of the magazine highlights the increasing use of IoT. Nordic Semiconductor has been known for enabling Bluetooth and cellular solutions and with their recent acquisition of Imagination Technologies this now extends to WiFi.

The magazine covers many usecases including:

  • Bluetooth connected prosthetics
  • CHIP smart home
  • Smart health

There’s also an informative article exploring the usefulness of patents.

Read about Beacon Proximity and Sensing for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Sensor beacons

Gateways

Differences in Beacon System on a Chip (SoC)

You can find the processor chip in the specification section of our beacon descriptions. Most people don’t know what this means or implies. This article will help you make a more informed choice.

nRF51822 in a round beacon

There are currently three main chip families from Texas Instruments (CC25xx, CC26xx), Dialog Semiconductor (DAxxxx) and Nordic Semiconductor (nRF51xxx and nRF52xxx). These chip manufacturers publish standard electronic circuits and software SDKs that beacon OEMs use for their beacons. Hence, most beacons, within a chip family, have very similar designs. Small differences in implementation of board layout in areas such as the power supply, grounding, terminations, connectors and the antenna can cause electrical differences that can cause loss of power.

The strength of the beacon radio signal is affected more by the quality of the beacon implementation, particularly the antenna, rather than the choice of chip. This is also evident in real world tests. We have performed RSSI strength and stability tests on the beacons we sell and haven’t yet found any correlation between signal strength and chip family.

The choice of SoC affects battery use. Newer chip families such as the Nordic nRF52 (as opposed to nRF51) and Texas Instruments CC2640 (as opposed to CC2541) are more power efficient.

Most beacon SoCs transmit up to +4dBm output power for a longer range. A few such as the nRF52840 and CC2640RF can be set to higher output power of +8dBm and +5dBM respectively, with a consequent reduction of battery life. If you are looking for longer range, it’s more usual to use a long range beacon with an additional output amplifier chip.

The newer SoCs have much more memory. This isn’t used for most beacons except for those that store data.

The use of standard SoC manufacturer designs and software means that all beacons work well, adhere to Bluetooth standards and compatibility is never a problem.

Q3 Nordic Semiconductor Wireless Q Magazine

Nordic Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

It showcases a gym management platform using beacons that analyses equipment and zone use. It also mentions the nRF52 SoC, used in beacons, being used in

  • MEZOO’s ECG monitor that detects heart arrhythmia
  • Xiaomi’s Bluetooth LE smart door lock
  • M Lura Health’s 1000 tooth sensor
  • Escort’s fuel level sensor

Juniper Research reports on how the pandemic is accelerating use of IoT:

IoT connections driven by early industrial deployments and pandemic-driven telemedicine applications are projected to reach 83 billion by 2024, a 130 percent growth rate

There are also articles on using tech to prevent deforestation, wellness tech, smart street lighting and precision positioning.

Understanding Bluetooth LE Advertising

There’s a new video of the Nordic Semiconductor webinar on Everything you need to know about Bluetooth LE advertising. It covers the basics of Bluetooth LE including advertising and data formats. It explains how to use the nRF Connect SDK API and provides a demo. It also shows how to use nRF Sniffer to examine Bluetooth LE data packets.

Bluetooth LE Advertising Channels

The presentation and Q&A are also available.

The video mentions advertising extensions. These are only in Bluetooth 5. Most current devices only support Bluetooth 4.2 legacy advertising. Growth in numbers Bluetooth 5 devices has been limited due to the non-compatibility with the majority of smartphones. It’s for this reason that devices that are Bluetooth 5 usually communicate using, backward compatible, legacy advertising. Extended advertising is also an optional feature of Bluetooth 5.

Q2 Nordic Wireless Quarter Magazine

Nordic, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

Wireless Quarter Magazone

This issue has a special feature on how Nordic powered devices are helping the fight against Covid. This includes smart thermometers, smart pulse oximeters, smart soap dispensers, improved cleaning of VR headsets and social distancing/contact tracing solutions. Of social distancing solutions the magazine says:

Technology is needed to enforce social distancing. Bluetooth LE wearables are emerging as one of the most promising workplace solutions

There’s also product news such as Lynxemi’s vibration and temperature sensor platform for predictive maintenance and the Carv Bluetooth LE sensor ski training solution. The magazine also includes an article on ‘STEAM’ (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) and how the MICRO:BIT is going global.

Q1 2020 Wireless Q Magazine Available

Nordic, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

In the magazine you can find lots of new products using the same technology found in Bluetooth beacons:

  • Citizen Watch’s solar powered watch
  • Sphero RVR programmable robot
  • F5 Sports smart baseball
  • A wearable canine activity tracker that monitors pet exercise
  • An equine monitoring solution helping farmers monitor horses’ health

Lastest Issue of Wireless Q Available

Nordic, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

This issue mentions three ‘smart’ products, a smart cricket ball, a smart luggage tag and a smart bike helmet that are effectively beacons or sensor beacons in different form factors.

The IoT will overtake smartphone centric products as Bluetooth LE tech’s main market by 2024

The World’s first dual Arm Cortex-M33 SoC, the new nRF5340 SoC, is also mentioned. This will allow for more CPU intensive applications such as TCP/IP networking and edge processing of data.

There’s also a feature on asset tracking and locating systems valued at $19 billion last year and expected to reach $128.75 billion by 2027, with a Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.5%.

The Sogo/MokoSmart VILOG car tracking system is featured and is pertinent as we are a distributor for MokoSmart beacons.

New Bluetooth Range Extender

Nordic Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) inside most beacons, has announced a new Bluetooth Range Extender the nRF21540.

It’s an electronic component to be used at the SoC output to amplify the signal prior to being sent to the antenna. We expect this to be included in some future long range beacon designs. However, note that it uses more current (115 mA at +20 dBm) so is less suitable for use in coin-cell based battery powered designs.

Our ultra long range beacons already use RF amplifiers but from different component manufacturers. For example the iB003N-PA uses a RFAXIS X2401C chip to achieve up to 300m range. The FSC-BP109 also uses an output amplifier to reach up to 1000m on Android and 4000m on iOS but this beacon requires USB power.

nRF Connect Features

Nordic, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in most beacons, has a new blog post on Five Things You Didn’t Know About Nordic’s Mobile Development Apps. The post mentions less visible features of nRF Connect on iOS and Android. For example, you can get a useful RSSI graph by dragging the screen towards the right from the centre:

nRF Connect is the main app we recommend for testing beacons. iOS recently received a completely new version. nRF Connect also has macros that can speed up testing.

Latest Nordic Wireless Quarter Magazine Available

Nordic, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has the latest issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

News from the world of beacons and Bluetooth LE includes:

  • National Instruments (NI) vibration sensor enables condition monitoring of industrial plant and machinery.
  • IDC research that says commercial and consumer adoption of IoT will drive worldwide annual spending to $1.1 trillion by 2023
  • Brain cells controlled using Bluetooth LE
  • Researchers build millimeter scale Bluetooth LE antenna
  • Quuppa’s direction finding technology used for ice hockey