u-blox Expands Its Bluetooth Portfolio with Three New BLE Modules
New members of the BMD product series encompass both indoor and long-range Bluetooth solutions.
u-blox has augmented its commitment to BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology through the expansion of the BMD product series, originally acquired from Rigado. The BMD-341, BMD-345, and the BMD-360 Bluetooth modules round out u-blox’s offerings, presenting customers with a wide range of solutions for their specific application criteria.
Image from u-blox
The BMD-341 and BMD-360 will be available for sampling in October. The BMD-345 will follow later this year.
The BMD-360 is an open CPU device that is footprint compatible with the BMD 300, BMD 301, and BMD-330 modules. The module supports Bluetooth’s direction-finding feature and is fully compliant with the current Bluetooth v5.1 specification.
It is built around the nRF52811 SoC from Nordic Semiconductor, which itself deploys a 32-bit, 64 MHz Arm Cortex-M4 processor, as well as a built-in antenna element.
The unit is well suited for high precision, indoor location-based services such as:
- BLE beacon applications
- Asset tags for smart building and smart manufacturing systems
- IoT infrastructure
- Warehouse logistics
The BMD-345 and the BMD-341
Similarly to the BMD-360, these modules are also based on the nRF52840 and are open CPU devices. The BMD-341 and BMD-345 are both pin and footprint compatible with all other BDM-34x products.
Both the BMD-341 and the BMD-345 include a U.FL connector to support an external antenna. The BMD-345 also includes a PA/LNA (power amplifier and a low noise receiver.) These features enhance long-range applications and deployments with devices built into metal enclosures.
They are recommended for use cases in:
- Asset tracking systems
- Bluetooth-based mesh networks repeaters
- Any situation where the signal must deal with obstacles to radio transmission
It is expected that, by virtue of its PA/LNA, the BMD-345 will be an important option for designers whose use cases include operation in difficult environments or over long distances.
Len Albertsson, Principal Product Manager of the Product Center for Short Range Radio at u-blox states, “Offering ever-greater coverage and new high-precision indoor positioning capabilities, it’s exciting to see Bluetooth grow out of its niche as a short-range communication technology.”
Specifications for the BMD-341 and BMD-345
All three Modules support UART, SPI, and I2C interfaces. Bluetooth qualification is v5.0. Throughput is 1.4 Mbits/second.
|Dimensions||10.2 x 15.0 x 1.9 mm||10.2 x 15.0 x 1.9 mm||9.8 x 14.0 x 1.9 mm|
|Bluetooth output power EIRP [dBm]||16||13||3|
|RAM||256 kB||256 kB||24 kB|
|Flash||1024 kB||1024 kB||192 kB|
|Maximum range||1000 m||750 m||200 m|
|Maximum Bluetooth connections||20||20||4|
The BMD portfolio will be showcased by u-blox at this month’s Mobile World Conference 2019.
Around the Industry
The MBN52832 from Murata is a BLE 5.0 module optimized for the IoT. It is also based on the Nordic (nRF52832) chipset. The processor is the ARM Cortex-M4.
The BL654 Series from Laird support Bluetooth and Thread (802.15.4) is also based on the Nordic nRF5280. There are versions with internal antenna and IPEX MHF4 connectors.