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Enabling Scalable Wireless Connectivity with HopeRF's Bluetooth Mesh Solutions

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

The Need for Flexible Wireless Connectivity

In our increasingly connected world, there is a growing demand for flexible and reliable wireless connectivity in electronic devices. Whether it's smart home products, industrial sensors, or asset tracking, the ability to wirelessly network large numbers of devices is critical.

Bluetooth mesh networking provides an ideal wireless solution, allowing for many-to-many communication between thousands of devices over an extended range. In this article, we’ll explore the capabilities of Bluetooth mesh and how HopeRF’s innovative Bluetooth SoC and module portfolio enables powerful mesh networking for your connected products.

Image illustrating the concept of the Bluetooth Mesh Network

Bluetooth mesh is a new topology introduced in Bluetooth 5 that enables scalable device networks using managed flooding. It allows Bluetooth devices to communicate in a many-to-many pattern, going beyond the traditional star topology where all devices connect directly to a central hub.

Key features of Bluetooth mesh include:

  • Relay nodes that can relay messages to extend the range of the mesh network.

  • Low power nodes that periodically sleep/wake to conserve power. They poll friend nodes to receive cached messages.

  • Friend nodes that implement additional caching to support low power nodes.

  • Proxy nodes that bridge between Bluetooth mesh and classic Bluetooth/BLE devices.

This architecture enables mesh networks to efficiently route data between thousands of nodes over an extended range by hopping messages between nodes until they reach the destination. Bluetooth mesh is ideal for large-scale device networks with tens to hundreds of nodes where a star topology would be limiting.

Applications like building automation, sensor networks, lighting control, asset tracking and more can benefit from the flexible connectivity of Bluetooth mesh. With robust support in modern smartphones, it also enables convenient smart home control and automation.

Key capabilities of Bluetooth mesh include:

  • Up to 32,000 nodes per network

  • 20ms latency for time-sensitive control

  • Message relaying to extend range

  • Low power operation with periodic sleep in battery devices

  • Secure networking with encryption

  • Reliable networking with mesh redundancy

Bluetooth 5 Enhancements for Mesh

Bluetooth 5 introduced key enhancements to enable extended range and large scale mesh networks.

First, the LE Coded PHY extends the range of connectivity. It uses forward error correction to provide 6-8dB of coding gain even at the same 1Mbps data rate. This allows longer range connections between nodes. Second, advertising extensions allow more data to be exchanged between nodes to support efficient flooding and routing in large mesh networks.

With these enhancements, Bluetooth 5 enables mesh networks that meet the needs of demanding industrial and smart home applications.

Image of Smart Home network deploying bluetooth mesh

HopeRF’s Innovative Bluetooth SoC Portfolio

HopeRF offers a range of Bluetooth SoC and module solutions optimized for Bluetooth 5 and mesh networking.

Advanced Bluetooth Mesh Software

To accelerate development, HopeRF provides advanced Bluetooth mesh software stacks for their SoCs. This includes application code, network provisioning tools, and documentation. Key features include:

  • Support for Node, Relay, Friend, Low Power, and Proxy roles

  • GATT-based configuration and management

  • Models for common use cases like lighting and sensors

  • Interoperability with major mobile platforms

  • Reference applications and sample code

By leveraging HopeRF’s software, products can leverage the benefits of Bluetooth mesh faster and with lower risk. The software scales from simple networks to complex deployments with thousands of nodes.

HopeRF Bluetooth Mesh Modules

For fast development, HopeRF offers a range of certified Bluetooth mesh modules based on their SoC portfolio:

HM-BT452

This module based on the CMT4522 SoC provides a certified Bluetooth 5.2 solution with LE Coded PHY support. With 99dBm sensitivity and Long Range operation, it suits home automation and industrial applications.

HM-BT2204

Based on the EFR32BG22 SoC, this module optimized for mesh networks offers leading RF performance and ultra low power consumption. With -104.9dBm sensitivity and 20dBm transmit power, it provides reliable long range mesh networks.

HM-BT5601A

This module based on the ASR5601 SoC provides extreme range Bluetooth connectivity leveraging the LE Coded PHY. With -107dBm sensitivity, 10dBm transmit power, and Long Range support, it enables challenging long range use cases.


HM-BT2101/2102

These modules based on the EFR32BG21 SoC provide high transmit power up to 20dBm for long range mesh networks. HM-BT2102 offers excellent RF performance with -104.9dBm sensitivity.


CMT Series

The CMT series are cost-effective Bluetooth 5 compliant SoCs powered by an Arm Cortex-M0 core. Key options include:

  • CMT4502 – Bluetooth 5 SoC with 1MB flash memory and 512KB RAM

  • CMT4522 – Bluetooth 5.2 SoC with Long Range support

  • CMT4531 – BLE 5.1 SoC with 2MB flash memory and 512KB RAM

These SoCs provide excellent RF performance, low power consumption, and support for mesh networking.

Image of a HopeRF CMT4531 module

By using HopeRF’s certified modules, products can leverage advanced Bluetooth mesh networking faster. HopeRF also provides detailed documentation, software, tools, and support to accelerate your design.

Conclusion

Bluetooth mesh networking provides the flexible, scalable wireless connectivity needed in today's smart products. HopeRF offers a range of innovative Bluetooth SoCs and modules optimized for reliable and long range mesh networks.

Whether you need entry-level Bluetooth 5 connectivity, long range performance, or ultra low power consumption, HopeRF has the wireless solution. With their mature software stacks and modules, you can build leading edge mesh-connected products faster.

To learn more about how HopeRF can accelerate your wireless design, contact us for prices and samples.



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