Bluetooth Low Energy modules provide OEMs with extended link budget for developing long range asset tracking and wide-area IoT applications

Fanstel, module

Fanstel’s ‘BT832X’ and ‘BT832XE’ employ Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to configure, control, and monitor commercial and agricultural systems over long distances via smartphone

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Fanstel Corp., a Scottsdale, AZ-based module manufacturer, has selected Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘BT832X’ and ‘BT832XE’ long range modules, designed for wide-area Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The company is also employing Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC in its ‘BWG 832F’ Gateway module, designed to work as a proxy node in Bluetooth mesh applications.

The BT832X module is said to be the longest range Bluetooth 5 compatible module available thanks in part to the nRF52832 SoC’s high link budget 2.4GHz radio that offers a maximum receive (RX) sensitivity of -96-dB and a maximum transmit (TX) output of +4-dBm. The addition of a Skyworks SKY66112 power amplifier (PA) and integrated high gain PCB antenna on the module extends TX output to +20-dBm and the link budget to 125 dBm, extending line-of-sight Bluetooth range up to a claimed 1300 meters in open field agricultural applications, or enabling transmission through multiple walls in industrial of commercial buildings. The nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets, allowing end users to configure, control, and monitor sensor data and alerts in a range of applications, for example asset tracking.

The BT832XE module offers the same functionality as the BT832X module, with the addition of a u.Fl connector for mounting an external antenna. Both modules come in a 15 by 28 by 1.9mm form factor, are qualified over the full industrial –40º to +85º C operating temperature range, and provide up to 29 general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs), enabled by the Nordic SoC.
In the nRF52832 SoC, the Arm M4F processor delivers the processing power performance required for our application, at a low cost
Dr Yuan Fan, Fanstel 

The modules are accompanied by Fanstel evaluation boards pre-loaded with ‘BlueNor’ mesh testing firmware, enabling users with limited RF design expertise to program and evaluate the modules. Development is further simplified because Nordic’s unique software architecture separates the RF software protocol stack from the developer’s application code eliminating the possibility of code development and compilation corrupting the stack.

Fanstel’s BWG 832F Gateway module is a low cost Bluetooth 5 Wi-Fi module for point-to-point or small mesh network applications where security is either not required or limited decryption and authentication can be implemented in the firmware. The platform comes in a 60 by 60 by 22mm form factor and incorporates an nRF52832 SoC-powered Bluetooth LE module, a Wi-Fi module, and a USB to UART bridge. It relays bidirectional messages between a Cloud server and any node in a mesh network, providing a low cost solution for the mass deployment of IoT products in home, small office, as well as commercial applications.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC combines a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software), featuring 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which also offers mesh capability, enabling scalable networking of the modules.

“We have used Nordic SoCs for our modules for a few years because they offer excellent performance good application examples, and an easy-to-use development environment,” says Dr Yuan Fan, Fanstel Founder and CEO.

“In the nRF52832 SoC, the Arm M4F processor delivers the processing power performance required for our application, at a low cost.”