Bluetooth LE-compatible mesh network optimizes wireless management of commercial smart-lighting installations

Silvair Mesh Stack

The ‘Silvair Mesh Stack’ and ‘Silvair Platform’ employ Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC with embedded ARM Cortex M4F microprocessor to meet demanding computational requirements.

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that San Francisco, CA-based Silvair has designed a multiservice smart lighting platform and a Bluetooth® Low Energy-compatible mesh networking software (“stack”) for professional lighting applications, employing Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to support the demanding processor and memory requirements of the application.

The Silvair Platform is a smart-lighting “ecosystem” consisting of a complete set of hardware and software tools that allows installers and property managers to configure, control, and manage commercial lighting systems wirelessly. At its core, the nRF52832 SoC-powered platform consists of an Internet gateway for routing sensor and fixture data to the Cloud; a secure Cloud service for storing sensor and fixture data as well as configuration back-up data; an intuitive smartphone app for performing ad hoc network configuration adjustments; and a browser-based interface for setting up advanced lighting scenarios and monitoring lighting system performance in real-time.

The Silvair Platform is a fully scalable architecture based on the company’s proprietary Bluetooth LE-compatible ‘Silvair Mesh Stack’, enabling low-latency wireless mesh connectivity in high-density lighting networks typically found in commercial spaces. The stack also allows smart-lighting manufacturers to incorporate Bluetooth LE-compatible mesh connectivity into their products, enhancing range and supporting flexible integration options (for example, PWM/0-10V/UART/DALI) for a variety of lighting products, including LEDs, drivers, switches, and sensors.
A mesh networking stack for connected lighting is much more complex than what’s typically needed for other IoT applications and performance requirements are extremely challenging.
Rafal Hun, Silvair

“A mesh networking stack for connected lighting is much more complex than what’s typically needed for other IoT applications and performance requirements are extremely challenging,” says Rafal Hun, CEO of Silvair. “We’ve chosen Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC because it is the most powerful and robust Bluetooth LE solution for Silvair Mesh Stack target applications.

“Our mesh stack demands a SoC with a powerful embedded processor and large Flash and RAM resources and Nordic’s chip fully meets our requirements. It handles complex algorithms and processes while minimizing power consumption, which is crucial for battery-powered wireless sensors and switches. In addition, the large Flash capacity allows for rapid over-the-air firmware updates, which will be particularly important after the formal adoption of the Bluetooth Mesh specification. When that happens, the Silvair Mesh Stack can be updated to become fully compliant with this global standard, guaranteeing interoperability with devices using other implementations of the core Bluetooth Mesh stack,” adds Han.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines a 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions.

The nRF52832 SoC has also been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs. The result is a Bluetooth LE solution which offers 58 CoreMark/mA, up to twice as power efficient as competing devices. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to eight connections, and enables concurrent role operation.