News

Silicon Labs Reveals New SoCs and MCUs for Tomorrow’s IoT Standards

April 19, 2024 by Jake Hertz

The three new devices are future-proofed for embedded applications and protocols across the board: unconnected devices, Bluetooth, Matter, and beyond.

Silicon Labs took center stage at Embedded World with the release of a new family of wireless SoCs and MCUs.

 

Matt Maupin

Silicon Labs’ Matt Maupin, Senior Product Marketing Manager, with the G26 SoC in hand at Embedded World. 
 

The new family includes three products: the MG26 multiprotocol SoC, the BG26 Bluetooth LE SoC, and the PG26 MCU. In this piece, we’ll examine the technical details of each new product to see how it targets multiprotocol wireless device performance. 

 

BG26 Wireless SoC

Silicon Labs designed the EFR32BG26 Wireless Gecko SoC (datasheet linked) for low-power wireless applications, especially within the IoT domain. The BG26 product is based on a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M33 processor, which can operate at a frequency of up to 78 MHz. This compute power is supported by up to 2,048 kB of Flash memory and 256 kB of RAM for complex and demanding applications.

 

Block diagram of the BG26 SoC

Block diagram of the BG26 SoC. Image used courtesy of Silicon Labs
 

A notable feature of this SoC is its radio capability. It boasts an adjustable output power that peaks at +19.5 dBm and a receiver sensitivity down to -105.7 dBm, enabling robust wireless connections even over extended ranges and in challenging environments. The radio supports Bluetooth Low Energy and mesh networking, making it useful for applications in smart homes, lighting, and building automation, where multiple devices frequently interact.

The SoC is also highly energy-efficient, featuring a comprehensive set of power management tools. These tools include multiple energy modes, ranging from EM0 (run) to EM4 (shutoff), allowing developers to optimize power consumption according to the application's needs. The SoC's energy consumption is finely tuned across these modes, with currents as low as 1.4 μA in EM2 deep sleep mode. 

Finally, the device supports AI/ML applications with a dedicated hardware accelerator. This integration enables smarter, context-aware applications directly at the edge, reducing latency and increasing responsiveness.

 

MG26 Multiprotocol Wireless SoC

The EFR32MG26 multiprotocol wireless SoC (datasheet linked) is particularly well-suited for developing smart home devices, building automation, and AI/ML applications. 

At the heart of the EFR32MG26 is a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M33 processor that operates up to 78 MHz. This gives the device powerful computational capabilities with DSP extensions and a floating-point unit. The SoC is further supported by up to 3,200 kB of Flash memory and 512 kB of RAM.

 

Block diagram of the MG26 SoC

Block diagram of the MG26 SoC. Image used courtesy of Silicon Labs
 

The SoC includes a dedicated transceiver, integrated power amplifiers, and an M0+ radio controller. The transceiver operates at 2.4 GHz and supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Zigbee, OpenThread, and proprietary protocols. The radio's sensitivity ranges from -105.4 dBm to -94.8 dBm depending on the modulation and data rate, and it can transmit at up to 19.5 dBm.  

Similar to the BG26 family, the EFR32MG26 focuses on energy efficiency. Silicon Labs optimized the device's current consumption for various modes—5.4 mA in RX at 1 Mbps and down to 1.4 μA in deep sleep mode, supporting IoT applications that require long battery lives.

 

PG26 Microcontroller

Silicon Labs’ final release at Embedded World was the EFM32PG26 MCU (datasheet linked), a microcontroller tailored for energy-efficient embedded applications in consumer and industrial sectors. 

This device operates with an 80-MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex-M33 core that integrates DSP instructions and a floating-point unit. It includes 2,048 kB of Flash memory, 256 kB of RAM, and a dedicated matrix-vector processor specifically designed to accelerate AI and machine learning algorithms.

 

Block diagram of the PG26 MCU

Block diagram of the PG26 MCU. Image used courtesy of Silicon Labs
 

The EFM32PG26 has very low power consumption rates, with 44.6 μA/MHz active mode current at 80 MHz and a deep sleep current of only 1.4 μA. 

The MCU is also rich in peripheral support, including multiple timers and comparators. It has a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter scalable up to 16 bits for high accuracy and extensive serial communication capabilities through USART, EUSART, and I2C interfaces. Additionally, the EFM32PG26 is designed to operate across a broad voltage range (1.71 V to 3.8 V) and temperature spectrum (-40°C to 125°C), making it highly suitable for harsh environments. With package options including QFN68 and BGA136, this microcontroller can be deployed in a wide range of application configurations, offering flexibility in design and implementation. 

 

Pushing IoT Forward

With these new IoT-focused devices, Silicon Labs hopes to meet the emerging needs of connected solutions. Each of these three is built to accommodate emerging IoT protocols, like Matter, with double the Flash and RAM of Silicon Labs' other multiprotocol devices. 

Each of these devices puts energy efficiency at the forefront of their respective target applications: MG26 for Matter, the BG26 for Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth Mesh, and the PG26 for unconnected devices like children's toys, CCTV cameras, and remotes.

 


 

Featured image (modified) used courtesy of Silicon Labs.