Bluetooth is ubiquitous and it has moved well past the personal area network (PAN) model for headsets and keyboards. Bluetooth 5 is the latest standard and vendors are working to deliver support for this standard—for example, Texas Instruments’ (TI) new SimpleLink CC2640R2F.
The new standard ups wireless throughput to 2 Mbit/s and uses Forward Error Correction (FEC) code. That is five times the speed of Bluetooth 4.0. It also has an improved coding system that provides longer range using the same amount of power. In theory this range is enough to cover the average house without the need for repeaters. The CC2640R2F also supports a proprietary protocol that runs up to 5 Mbits/s. Its long-range mode goes up to 1.5 km using less than 10 mA.
The chip is designed to operate for many years off a standard coin cell. It uses only 15 µA in shutdown mode. The Cortex-M3 uses only 61 µA/MHz. The EEMBC ULP Benchmark rating is 143.
The TI Bluetooth stack handles HomeKit, voice over BLE, and full-beacon iBeacon/Eddystone support. The Bluetooth 5 advertisement extension, ADV_EXT_IND, allows up to a 248 byte ADV payload by offloading payload to data channels. This reduced traffic on ADV channels. The standard uses a random frequency hopping approach that provides a more robust connection.
The LAUNCHXL-CC2640R2 Launchpad provides developers with an evaluation platform for TI’s latest Bluetooth 5 chip.
The system has 275 Kbytes of Non Volative Memory and up to 28 Kbytes of RAM. It has part of the Bluetooth stack support in ROM along with TI RTOS. There is sufficient headroom to support applications in addition to the Bluetooth support. The chip has a range of peripherals including 32 DMA channels, AES hardware encryption support, a 200 Ksamples/s 12-bit ADC as well as serial, parallel, and timer interfaces. The chip can act as host in standalone mode or it can be linked to a host via a serial or SPI port.
The CC2640R2F is available in a number of package options from QFN to a 2.7-mm2 WCSP. The CC2640R2F-Q1 is automotive qualified.