Developing Bluetooth Low

Energy Products

PUBLIC
June 2016
ARGENOX

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Who Am I?
• Gustavo Litovsky
@agusnox

• 10 years of wireless designs
• Formerly at TI’s Connectivity group – Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS
supporting companies (Nike FuelBand, Motorola, GE, Recon)
• Left to develop products at other companies
• Consulting
• 2013 – Started Argenox for Wireless development

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Argenox
Helping Customers add connectivity to products

Faster Time to Market

Turnkey Designs

Connected Product Development

Full Product
Development

Low Power

User
Experience

• Hardware, RF, Antenna Design and
Optimization, Plastics
• Extensive Embedded Firmware
• Mobile Apps – iOS, Android
• Manufacturing
Complete IoT Solutions
• Complete Reference Designs

• Proven and Fully Customizable
CONFIDENTIAL

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Presentation Today

Idea

Product

• Development of BLE devices - challenges and solutions to
make better decisions
• Take you from the start to finish
• Understand ecosystem, vendors

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Wirelessly Connecting Devices
Benefits

Challenges

• Control something remotely,
from anywhere
• Get alerted when something
happens
• Get data to the cloud
• Place devices anywhere
• Location
• Reliability – no mechanical limit
• Add new features, bug fixes
• Smartphone as Interface

• Increased Cost
• Increased Complexity Design and Manufacturing
• Regulatory Certifications
• Limited Range

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What Happened to Bluetooth Classic?
Still Here!

• Headsets / Speakers
• High Speed Data (2Mb/s, 3Mb/s)
• High Power consumption, High latency
• More complicated Development, Testing
• MFI required for Data on iPhone
Not ideal for low power devices
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Introducing BLE
Ideal Technology for Connecting Low Power Devices

• Low Energy (LE) added to Bluetooth v4.0 Spec
• Mass adoption after Apple adds to iPhone (2011)
• Direct connection to Smartphones
• Easy to Use
• Low Power
• Cheap
• People Know Bluetooth Brand
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Who uses BLE?
Wearables

Beacons

Locks

Location

August Lock

Environmental
Tile Tracker

Fitness

Polar Heart Rate Sensor

Kohler Numi Toilet
Weatherflow Meter
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Trago
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Comparing BLE
~2000mAh

~220mAh
400uA avg Current
Physical
Medium

Power Consumption

Data Rate

AA Battery

Range

Bluetooth Low
Energy

2.4GHz
AFH
40 Channels

10mA Running
1.5uA Sleep

1Mbps raw
~100kbps

30m to 800m (open
space) with PA

Bluetooth Classic

2.4GHz
80 Channels

30mA Running

2-3Mbps raw
1-2Mbps

30m to 70m

Wi-Fi

2.4GHz

100mA – 200mA Running
10uA-50uA Sleep

~10Mbps Embedded
Wi-Fi

400m+ with PA

Thread/Zigbee

2.4GHz

Sub-1GHz

433MHz
915MHz

250kbps
A few mA to 100mA+
depending on output power

9.6kbps to 3-4Mbps

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Many km possible
with PA
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Device Example
BLE Enabled Accelerometer

Coin Cell Battery

Accelerometer

I2C

BLE
SOC

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Is BLE Good for Me?
• Uses 2.4GHz Band – Worldwide
• Range can be extended to 400m+
• Highly resilient to interference – Adaptive Frequency Hopping
(AFH)
• Simplifies building products on top
• Very low power – Coin cell
• Direct connection to Smartphones and gateways

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BLE Evolution
2010

2013

2015

Bluetooth v4.0

Bluetooth v4.1

Bluetooth v4.2

• Original Spec

• Adds ability to act multirole

• Packet Length Extensions
• Secure Connections
• Improved power and privacy

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Product Architecture
BLE as Core

BLE as Network Processor

Sensors
Sensors

Power

BLE
SoC

Power

Main Processor

SPI
I2C
UART

Buttons /
LEDs

• BLE SoC Handles Bluetooth and All Processing

• System Already Exists

• Lowest Cost

• BLE SoCs CPU not enough
• Features in other devices
• More development
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BLE
SoC

BLE Chipsets
Power

• Power optimized

Flash Memory
128kB / 256kB / 512kB
RAM
16kB / 32kB / 48kB /
64kB

BLE Radio

• Minimal external components
• Capabilities and design varies

CPU
Cortex
M0/M3/M4

32kHz
High Speed
Oscillator

Timers

GPIO

ADC

I2C / SPI / UART

• Trend to provide complete SoCs
• Most use Cortex-M3, Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors
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BLE Chipset Vendors

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Trends in Chipsets
• Manufacturers moving to Bluetooth v4.2
• More advanced CPUs – Cortex-M4 and M3 replacing M0, 8051
and 16-bit
• Larger RAM and Flash to run more advanced applications
• RF fully integrated in the device
• Advanced peripherals requiring less CPU intervention
• Multiple protocols in the same device
Some companies use BLE SoCs instead of microcontrollers
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Nordic Semiconductor
• nRF8001, nRF51822, nRF52832
• Very popular devices
nRF52832
• 64MHz ARM Cortex™ M4F
• Bluetooth Smart v4.2 / ANT
• 5.5mA / 5.5mA TX/RX at 0dBm
• 1.7V to 3.6V
• 512 kB flash memory + 64 kB RAM memory
• -96dBm, +4dBm Output Integrated Balun
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 12-bit ADC
• PDM and I2S for Audio
• NFC for Out-of-Band pairing

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Dialog Semiconductor
• DA14580, DA14680
• Found in Wearables, Low cost devices
DA14580
• 16MHz ARM Cortex™ M0
• Bluetooth Smart v4.1
• 3.4mA / 3.7mA TX/RX at 0dBm
• 1.7V to 3.6V
• 512 kB flash memory + 64 kB RAM memory
• -93dBm, +0dBm Output
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 12-bit ADC
• PDM and I2S for Audio
• NFC for Out-of-Band pairing

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NXP Semiconductor
• KW40Z, KW41Z
• Acquired Freescale in 2015

KW41Z
• 48MHz ARM Cortex™ M0
• Bluetooth Smart v4.2 / 802.15.4 Thread
• 1.7V to 3.6V, 0.9V to 1.795V
• 512 kB flash memory + 128 kB RAM memory
• -96dBm, +4dBm Output Integrated Balun
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 16-bit ADC and 12-bit DAC

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Cypress Semi
• PSoC 4 BLE, PROC 4 BLE
• Recently acquired Broadcom
• Modules
PSoC 4 BLE
• 48MHz ARM Cortex™ M0
• Bluetooth Smart v4.2
• 1.8V to 5.5V
• 16.5mA / 18.7mA TX/RX at 0dBm
• 256 kB flash memory + 32 kB RAM memory
• -92dBm, +3dBm Output
• Unique PSoC Programmable Digital and Analog
• Capacitive Touch, Op Amps, LCD,
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 12-bit ADC and DAC

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Silicon Labs
• Acquired Bluegiga
• Module vendor
Blue Gecko
• 40MHz ARM Cortex™ M4F
• Bluetooth Smart v4.2
• 1.8V to 5.5V
• 8.8mA / 18.7mA TX/RX at 0dBm
• 256 kB flash memory + 32 kB RAM memory
• -94dBm, +3dBm Output or 8dBm
• Fully Certiofie
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 12-bit ADC and DAC

Integrated Bluetooth Smart and MCU
• ARM Cortex™ M4 with FPU up to 40 MHz
• 256 kB flash memory /32 kB RAM memory
• Integrated high-efficiency chip antenna
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 12-bit ADC and DAC
• Crypto accelerator, 32-bit RTCC, Watchdog timer

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Texas Instruments
• CC2540, CC2541, CC2630/40/50

CC26xx
• 48MHz ARM Cortex™ M0
• Bluetooth Smart v4.2
• 1.8V to 3.8V
• 6.1mA / 5.9mA TX/RX at 0dBm
• 128 kB flash memory + 20 kB RAM memory
• -97dBm, +5dBm Output
• Unique PSoC Programmable Digital and Analog
• Sensor Control Engine
• UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIO 12-bit ADC

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BLE Chipset Generations
KW40Z

KW41Z

CC2540

CC2541

CC26xx

nRF8001

nRF51822

nRF52832

PSoC 4 BLE

1st Generation
2015-2016

2011

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Picking a Device
• Depends on your product requirements
• Hardware, Stack, Features, Support
• Some devices have unique features (PSoC, Peripherals)

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Chip or Module?
Discrete

Module

• Best performance – if done right

• Quickest Time to Market

• Customized – may fit better

• Good performance

• Lowest cost in high volume

• Higher cost in high volume

• Engineering time and Cost – need RF expertise

• Engineering time and cost

• Design must be certified

• Modules certified and ready to go

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BLE Product Design Lifecycle
Development

Mobile App

Certification

Manufacturing

System Design

UX / Graphics

Antenna
Tuning

Manufacturing

Hardware

Bluetooth

FCC / IC
Certification

Testing / QA

Mechanical

iOS

BT SIG
Certification

Firmware

Android

Other
Certifications

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Certifications - FCC
FCC Part 15 - Intentional Radiator
• Required for any wireless transmitter
• Document preparation
• Lab measures radio and produces a report
• Results submitted to TCB to obtain FCC ID
• Modules already have FCC ID which is reused by integrator
• Products using modules need Unintentional Radiator certification

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Certifications - BTSIG
Bluetooth SIG
• Required to use Bluetooth trademarks and IP
• Small companies (< 1MM and first declaration ) $2500, others $8000
• Lab testing needed for discrete designs

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Firmware / Software
Bluetooth SIG
• Required to use Bluetooth trademarks and IP
• Small companies (< 1MM and first declaration ) $2500, others $8000
• Lab testing needed for discrete designs
User Application

Drivers

API

Bluetooth LE Stack

Peripherals

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RF PHY

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BLE System Architecture
GATT Client
Profile
Service

Central

Peripheral

GATT Server

GATT Server

Peripheral

Service

Characteristic

Characteristic

Properties

Properties

Value

Value

Descriptor

Descriptor

Characteristic

Characteristic

Properties

Properties

Value

Value

Descriptor

Descriptor

GATT Table

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GATT Table
• Product designer defines the table – Services, Characteristics
• Bluetooth SIG defined standard set of services
Device Information Service

Characteristic

Manufacturer Name String

“Argenox”

Model Number String

“K221”

Hardware Revision String

“1.1”

Properties
Value
Descriptor

• When standard services don’t fit, define your own

Characteristic
Properties
Value
Descriptor

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UUIDs
• Unique Identifiers used to identify any characteristic or service
• Bluetooth SIG uses 16-bit for their own services, which assume
rest of 96-bits are fixed
• For custom services, you use 128-bit numbers
Device Information Service

0x180A

Manufacturer Name String

0x2A29

Model Number String

0x2A24

Custom Service

5b0aba62-354e-4743-8fd3-18f754f6f30d

Manufacturer Name String

0x2A29

Model Number String

0x2A24

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Getting the GATT Data
1.
2.
3.
4.

Central device discovers peripheral
Central device connects to Peripheral
Central Device enumerates services and characteristics
Central devices reads/writes characteristics

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Discovering Peripherals
• Peripheral devices must be advertising to be found and
connected
• Advertisement packets are
defined by the product
developer and can contain
many things:
• Device Name
• UUIDs of Services Available
• Custom Data

• Packet is defined by using
APIs from the BLE stack
developer
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Advertisements
• Packets go out on 3 special channels called advertising
channels
• Channels were selected to avoid Wi-Fi interference
• Packets sent at Advertising Interval

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Connecting and Enumerating
• Central device connects to a peripheral it discovers from
advertising packets, finds all services and characteristics
• Connection allows bidirectional data transfer between devices

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BLE Security
Connections can be encrypted and secured against
eavesdropping and data manipulation
Is BLE Secure?

YES and NO
• Bluetooth v4.0 and v4.1 devices are insecure if initial
connection and pairing are sniffed
• Bluetooth v4.2 is much more secure - both devices must
support LE Secure Connections
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BLE Mesh
• BLE is typically point to point, point to multipoint
• Mesh allows data to get data across distance using devices
• Mesh expected to be ratified by Bluetooth Sig in September

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Drivers and Application
• Buttons, Sensors, and Devices use standard interfaces such as
SPI, I2C, UART, 1-Wire, PWM, etc
• Each vendor provides different drivers for their devices

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Low Energy
Low Energy - It’s in the name

• Processor and Radio consume significant power
• Low power requires system to sleep as much as possible
• Use smart peripherals as much as possible
• Measure, Measure and Measure

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Mobile Apps
• Main user interaction point with devices
• Bluetooth Development

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Gateways
• BLE can connect to most BLE devices
• Routers starting to support BLE out of the Box
• Build your own

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Apple HomeKit / MFI

• Homekit allows communication with accessories in the home




Discovery
Configuration
Control
Actions
Siri

• Specifications and Info under NDA
• Join Apple MFI program
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References

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