Mesh network enables long-range and semantic interoperability between Bluetooth low energy devices and multiple RF protocol devices
Vitir’s ‘MergeRF’ technology employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF51822 SoC to provide Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity and roaming in mesh network of multiprotocol bridges
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Norway-based wireless network solutions company, Vitir, has selected Nordic’s multiple award-winning nRF51822 Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘MergeRF®’ system. MergeRF is a sub-1GHz self-forming and -healing mesh network enabling long-range communication between Bluetooth low energy devices. The MergeRF system can, for example, operate as a long-range mesh network of manageable two-way beacons for proximity marketing.
Each Vitir ‘bridge’ includes an nRF51822 SoC providing Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity between other bridges, Bluetooth low energy devices, and Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets, connecting all devices to a long-range mesh network. The MergeRF bridges also support the KNX RF protocol (an open system for wireless building control) and Wireless M-Bus protocol (for remote gas- and water meter reading). The bridges act as routers for any payload, irrespective of origin in the network, and regardless of the original RF protocol. Together with a Central Unit (CU), semantic interoperation between devices using any RF protocol is enabled. This means, for example, a KNX RF wall switch can control a Bluetooth low energy power outlet.
The CU acts as a ‘gateway’ to the Cloud with a single RF connection point to the mesh, allowing new bridges or new protocols to be added to the mesh without the need to recertify the CU. Such an arrangement significantly reduces RF interference problems. The MergeRF system supports Bluetooth low energy roaming, important in mHealth applications where, for instance, Continua-certified wristbands can move in the network and be seamlessly connected to Cloud services.
When used in smart buildings, welfare technology and environmental control can be combined using the MergeRF solution. Monitoring of roaming Bluetooth low energy wearable health devices is combined with environmental control (lighting, heating, and door locks) along with positioning and beacons in the very same system.
MergeRF is powered by the proven Tinymesh protocol, already deployed in more than one million devices worldwide. Using a sub-1GHz RF mesh radio, the MergeRF system has an indoor range per hop approximately 10 times greater than traditional Bluetooth low energy 4.2 mesh implementations. The MergeRF system provides multihop (up to 255 hops) capability for point-to-point protocols, and enables access and control both via the Cloud and direct access from a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet to the CU, using, for instance, Bluetooth low energy enabled by the Nordic SoC.
Nordic’s nRF51822 is a powerful and flexible multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth low energy and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU with 256kB/128kB flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The embedded 2.4GHz transceiver is fully compliant with Bluetooth 4.2.
“We chose the nRF51822 for its RF performance, the S130 SoftDevice Bluetooth protocol ‘stack’, and the high performance ARM processor,” says Hallvard Moholdt, Vitir Founder, Co-owner, and Chief Technology Officer. “Nordic also supplies good development tools, on top of which it is a market leader in Bluetooth low energy.”
“We see the MergeRF solution as a powerful combination with our nRF51 Series SoCs, and long-range Bluetooth low energy connectivity, roaming of connections, and manageable beacons are widely asked for in the market,” says Thomas Holmberg, Nordic Semiconductor, Regional Sales Manager Europe.