Bluetooth silicon IP draws less than half the power of today's standard solutions

November 21, 2012 // By Julien Happich
CSEM and RivieraWaves have introduced what the companies claim to be the world’s lowest-power Bluetooth Smart integrated silicon IP solution combining an ultra-low power radio transceiver with a flexible and fully Bluetooth Smart-qualified low power baseband controller, protocol stack and profiles.

The solution is said to consume less than half the power of today’s standard solutions, and is now available for licensing. Ready to be licensed, the integrated solution relies on CSEM's new icyTRX transceiver, drawing less than 10mW in receive mode (from a 1.2V supply) and featuring a sensitivity of -94 dBm as well as settling time as low as 5us. A patented architecture and integration of all RF passive devices on-chip result in a silicon area of less than 2mm 2 in a 90nm CMOS technology.

The Bluetooth Smart, or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), baseband controller has a gate count of less than 65K, including an optional AES-CCM128 engine. The hardware accelerator handles the real time tasks of the Bluetooth Smart Link Layer and takes care of a complete Bluetooth Smart event while the CPU is in sleep mode, an approach that is more energy efficient than a baseband controller with packet-driven architecture. Running at 8MHz, peak power consumption is around 100uA in a 90nm CMOS process. Power consumption in idle modes has also been reduced to the minimum. Innovative clock gating, power gating, and optimized software control means several years of battery life can be extracted from a regular CR2032 button cell.

The BLE software protocol stack has a low MIPS requirement and low memory footprint. It can easily be executed on a Cortus APS3 or ARM Cortex M0 running at 8MHz. The core stack for a health thermometer for instance can be as low as 50KB from link layer up to profile. Samples are available, as well as a complete reference design, a smart phone demonstrator and evaluation kit.

Visit CSEM at www.csem.ch

Visit RivieraWaves at www.rivierawaves.com