MCUs, Modules, and Add-On Boards Lend Bluetooth Support

January 13, 2024 by Jake Hertz

Three Bluetooth offerings from STMicroelectronics, Mikroe, Atmosic, and GlobalScale aim to simplify the development of connected devices.

Although Bluetooth is one of the most well-established wireless technologies, it still requires updated support to bolster its performance and uphold its security. Just last week, news broke of a Bluetooth spam attack affecting iOS 17—a testament that even the world's largest tech companies must also roll out better Bluetooth-focused hardware and software solutions.

Several companies, including STMicroelectronics, Mikroe, Atmosic, and GlobalScale late last year announced new products—from add-on boards to microcontrollers (MCUs)—to fortify the Bluetooth environment. 


ST Expands Bluetooth MCU Portfolio

STMicroelectronics introduced the STM32WB09 wireless microcontroller and the STM32WB1MMC wireless module, both aimed at improving the design and longevity of smart Bluetooth devices.

The STM32WB09 microcontroller integrates the necessary processing power and RF technology in a single chip, simplifying the design process for product developers. It supports Bluetooth 5.3 and is tailored for applications requiring wireless sensing, connected wearables, and remote controls. Built around an Arm Cortex-M0+ architecture, the device is optimized for applications where power consumption and cost are critical considerations. With on-chip memory and the capability to fine-tune RF output power, the STM32WB09 stands out for its power control options and application-specific features​.


Block diagram of the STM32WB1MMC

Block diagram of the STM32WB1MMC. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics

The STM32WB1MMC module is a small, ultra-low power, certified 2.4 GHz wireless module that supports Bluetooth Low Energy 5.3 and is built around the STM32WB15CCY wireless microcontroller. The module's low-power features extend battery life in devices powered by small coin-cell batteries or energy-harvesting sources. With integrated chip antenna options, a frequency band of 2,400 to 2,483.5 MHz, and a dedicated Arm Cortex-M0+ for radio and security tasks, the STM32WB1MMC module can help developers with minimal RF expertise​ looking to rapidly deploy wireless connectivity.


Atmosic and GlobalScale Collaborate on BLE 5.3 Module

Atmosic and GlobalScale have teamed up to develop a new Bluetooth Low Energy 5.3 module based on Atmosic's ATM3330e SoC. The companies claim the GTI-ATM3330e caters to the growing demand for energy-efficient, long-life IoT devices. Equipped with a 64 MHz Arm Cortex-M33F microcontroller, Atmosic’s SoC provides a balance of processing power and energy efficiency. It supports computing systems with 128 KB of RAM, 512 KB of non-volatile memory, and 64 KB ROM.


Block diagram of the ATM33e series

Block diagram of the ATM33e series. Image used courtesy of Atmosic

The SoC features an ultra-low-power radio receiver and transmitter, consuming just 0.7 mA and 2.1 mA, respectively, and significantly extending the battery life of devices. The GTI-ATM3330e module supports a low-duty cycle operation mode, which drastically reduces energy usage during periods of low activity. The ATM3330e also harvests energy from photovoltaic sources, thermal gradients, and even RF waves. 


Mikroe Introduces BT/BLE Add-On Board

Mikroe has announced its new ANNA-B412 Click: an advanced add-on board designed to provide BLE connectivity for an array of embedded applications.

Built off the ANNA-B412, a standalone BLE module from U-blox, the Click provides embedded applications support for the Bluetooth 5.1 standard. The heart of the ANNA-B412, however, is the nRF52833 chip from Nordic Semiconductor, which includes an Arm Cortex-M4 processor and integrated 2.4 GHz transceiver, boasting a substantial +8 dBm output power.


Diagram of the ANNA-B412 Click

Diagram of the ANNA-B412 Click. Image used courtesy of Mikroe

This module is particularly suitable for industrial automation, smart buildings, and low-power sensor applications, given its robust communication capabilities and low power consumption. It supports a data rate of up to 2 Mbps in LE mode and is equipped with 512 KB flash memory and 128 KB RAM, sufficient for complex tasks and data handling in IoT devices.

With a focus on location services, the ANNA-B412 Click offers angle-of-arrival and angle-of-departure functionalities, enhancing its utility in indoor positioning and asset tracking. The board is also NFC capable, with a dedicated u.Fl connector for NFC functionality, which operates at a standard 13.56 MHz frequency.

The ANNA-B412 Click is also supported by mikroSDK and comes with a fully tested library to simplify software development. 



Featured image (modified) used under Adobe Stock license.