ST updates Bluetooth network processor to BT4.1 spec

January 07, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
STMicroelectronics has released the latest version of its BlueNRG Bluetooth SMART network processor, which supports the latest Bluetooth version 4.1 enhancements and introduces 1.7V operation for longer-lasting battery-powered applications.

The BlueNRG-MS network processor integrates a complete Bluetooth PHY and 2.4GHz radio, ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller running the Bluetooth 4.1 protocol stack, and dedicated AES-128 security coprocessor. The API, power management, and Flash are already integrated, allowing direct connection to the application host controller using a simple SPI bus using clear software partitioning between network processor and host microcontroller.

The Bluetooth 4.1 specification further increases energy efficiency and supports dual-mode topologies containing devices operating as both master and slave. Low-Duty-Cycle Directed Advertising minimises energy consumed when connecting to known devices. Bluetooth 4.1 introduces Logical Link Control and Adaptation Protocol (L2CAP), which enables flexible data exchanges making use of multi-channel communications, and quality of service features.

ST's BlueNRG-MS network processor can power devices such as a hub capable of collecting sensor data and subsequently acting as a peripheral to transfer the data to a smart phone. It can also allow very large sensor networks with unlimited communication range, controlled by a single smartphone. BlueNRG-MS supports the latest moves towards IP-based connectivity added to Bluetooth 4.1.

BlueNRG-MS is available in a 5 x 5 x 1 mm QFN32 package, priced from $1.50 (1000). A CSP option with the 2.6 x 2.6 mm footprint and the height as low as 0.56 mm will be available after April 2015.