With the release of its Wireless Gecko platform, Series 2, Silicon Laboratories is taking the success of their Series 1 general purpose, multi-band, multi-protocol devices and optimizing them for specifical applications by improving processor capability and by moving to an 80 MHz Arm Cortex-M33 with TrustZone technology from the Cortex M4. Silabs is also addressing the growing concerns around IoT security by incorporating secure debug unlock. The initial Series 2 products include small-form-factor system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices with a dedicated security core and an on-chip radio delivering 2.5X the wireless range of competing solutions.
“Nobody wants to wait 15 seconds to enable a secure algorithm,” says Matt Johnson , Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “The dedicated security core in Series 2 provides better encryption and security through a number of hardware and software features.”
IoT developers routinely face product design tradeoffs around wireless range, power consumption, size, security and cost. The Series 2 wireless connectivity portfolio simplifies IoT product design with highly-integrated SoC options and reusable software that make RF communication more dependable and energy efficient. Series 2 helps developers optimize system cost and performance for a wide range of smart home, commercial and industrial IoT applications.
Product cost: not just the device
“One of the biggest challenges for designers is product costs so they are looking at any way to lower them,” says Johnson. “But when we are talking about $100 devices and not $30 devices we are talking about total solution cost and not just product cost — implementation costs, BOM, regulatory costs, tools, etc. With the Series 2 fully certified modules and reference designs, users don’t have to worry about FCC certification or multiple external components or robust protocol-stack support.”
The first products in Silicon Labs’ Series 2 portfolio include EFR32MG21 SoCs supporting multiprotocol, Zigbee, Thread and Bluetooth® mesh networking, and EFR32BG21 SoCs dedicated to Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth mesh. These SoCs provide ideal solutions for line-powered IoT products including gateways, hubs, lights, voice assistants and smart electric meters.
“As the adoption and diversity of IoT devices continue to grow, developers seek flexible connectivity solutions that help them quickly bring differentiated products to market while reducing cost and design complexity,” says Johnson “Series 2 improves multiple design elements, including wireless performance, software reuse, RF communication reliability and enhanced security to speed development, deployment and adoption of the IoT.”
- Best-in-class RF performance with +20 dBm output power and up to +124.5 dB link budget
- Robust wireless radio with improved blocking performance
- Powerful processing with an 80 MHz Arm® Cortex®-M33 core with TrustZone technology
- Low active current (50.9 µA/MHz) to meet stringent green energy requirements, a benefit of manufacturing on low-power 40 nm process technology
- Industry’s smallest multiprotocol SoCs in a 4 mm x 4 mm QFN package
- Lower BOM count and system cost with fewer matching components and no need for external inductors or power amplifiers
- Flexible pre-certified modules based on EFR32xG21 SoCs planned for Q3
EFR32xG21 SoCs provide enhanced security features that enable developers to implement robust security in connected products:
- A dedicated security core enables faster, lower-power encryption than software techniques.
- A true random number generator makes device certificate keys less vulnerable.
- Secure boot loading ensures authenticity of firmware images and over-the-air updates.
- Secure debug access control helps OEMs prevent unauthorized access to end products.
Future pin- and software-compatible Wireless Gecko Series 2 SoCs and modules with additional dedicated security technologies will enable developers to create next-generation connected products with enhanced security features, helping to increase consumer trust and drive mass IoT adoption.
With Series 2, designers can bring secure, next-generation IoT products to market by taking advantage of Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio integrated development environment (IDE). The Simplicity Studio IDE accelerates time-to-market with a suite of tools, including a unified wireless development kit, SDKs, energy profiler, patented network analysis, application demos and mobile apps.
Samples and production quantities of the EFR32MG21 and EFR32BG21 SoCs are available now in a compact 4 mm x 4 mm QFN32 package. The Wireless Gecko starter kit mainboard and EFR32xG21 radio boards are also available now. Customers who bought series one can use the same development hardware, and compiler to easily migrate from Series 1 to Series 2.