Bluetooth LE/LoRaWAN module enables long-range wireless connectivity for IoT applications

Oslo, Norway
Braveridge, LAN, WAN

Multiprotocol module from Braveridge employs nRF52832 SoC Bluetooth Low Energy solution to host LoRaWAN protocol and bridge between LAN and WAN networks

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Fukuoka, Japan-based Braveridge has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its combination Bluetooth® Low Energy and LoRaWAN module. The ‘BVMLRS923N52S’ module provides developers of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with long-range wireless connectivity between Bluetooth LE devices in a Local Area Network (LAN) and Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) operating under the LoRaWAN specification.

The module employs the nRF52832 SoC with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice (RF protocol software or “stack”) to both provide Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity, and to run Braveridge’s proprietary LoRaWAN application software. The module also features an integrated LoRaWAN RF chip―supervised by the nRF52832 SoC’s embedded ARM® Cortex® M4F processor―for IoT wireless communication across LPWANs.

As well as providing a bridge between Bluetooth LE LANs and LoRaWAN networks, the module makes use of the nRF52832 SoC and S132 SoftDevice’s support of concurrent Bluetooth LE Peripheral and Central modes. The device can communicate simultaneously over the 2.4GHz (Bluetooth LE) and 920MHz (LoRaWAN) unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands. In addition, because the LoRaWAN application software is stored in the nRF52832 SoC’s 512kB Flash memory, it can be updated using the chip’s over-the-air Device Firmware Update (OTA-DFU) functionality, unlike with conventional LoRaWAN modules.

“For our application, the best feature of the S132 SoftDevice is its support for concurrent Peripheral/Central modes,” says Yasunari Kohashi, CTO and Vice-President, Braveridge. “This allows the module to dynamically change modes to facilitate the module’s function as a Bluetooth LE/LoRaWAN bridge.

“The SoC’s OTA-DFU functionality is also a key advantage because conventional LoRaWAN modules do not permit firmware updates after product shipment. With this module customers can update firmware in the field,” adds Kohashi. “Nordic’s SoC is designed by a team looking two generations ahead. Nordic have anticipated an engineer’s every need for firmware and hardware development in the future and offered a solution that meets those needs today.”

“The Internet of Things [IoT] will be built on complementary LAN and LPWAN wireless technologies,” says Geir Langeland, Director of Sales & Marketing with Nordic Semiconductor. “Braveridge’s module demonstrates how such technologies can work together in a single module with an nRF52832 SoC, providing the software, processor and memory resources, at its heart.”
For our application, the best feature of the S132 SoftDevice is its support for concurrent Peripheral/Central modes. This allows the module to dynamically change modes to facilitate the module’s function as a Bluetooth Low Energy/LoRaWAN bridge.
Yasunari Kohashi, Braveridge

LoRaWAN is a protocol specification built on top of LoRa technology developed by the LoRa Alliance. It uses ISM bands to enable low power, wide area communication between remote sensors and gateways connected to the network. LoRa technology offers a mix of long-range (tens of kilometers), low power consumption (twenty-year battery life) and secure data transmission, according to the alliance.

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. The SoC has 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 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.

The nRF52832 SoC features a novel software architecture featuring a unique and powerful separation between the Nordic stack and user application code. The precompiled, thread-safe stack is not included in the developer’s application compilations - significantly easing application development, verification and testing. According to Kohashi, Braveridge was able to speed up development of the LoRaWAN application code five-fold by using the nRF52832’s software architecture. Braveridge’s propriety LoRaWAN protocol is available to other developers working with Nordic nRF52 Series SoCs.