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STM MCU and module enable short-range wireless
- November 15, 2023
- Steve Rogerson
Swiss electronics company ST Microelectronics has released a microcontroller and module to enable smaller and longer lasting smart short-range wireless connectivity devices.
The latest Bluetooth specification creates opportunities for these to become even smarter, allowing designers to create items such as wireless beacons and devices that can calculate their location indoors with centimetre accuracy.
STM’s Bluetooth offerings can cut the time for designers to understand the specifications and put product ideas into action.
The STM32WB09 wireless microcontroller puts all the processing power and Bluetooth radio-frequency technology needed in one chip that designers can put directly on their board ready to connect any other components. It comes with Bluetooth 5.3 software and lets designers take advantage of the development ecosystem STM has built to support its STM32 microcontroller family. This includes PC-based design tools, software and sample code to accelerate application development.
For those that do not have access to extensive engineering skills and resources, STM offers the STM32WB1MMC wireless module. It makes wireless connectivity simple as it contains a certified wireless microcontroller pre-integrated with external components needed for the radio system, as well as the Bluetooth software, and so bypasses many of the engineering problems encountered when designing with chips.
The module helps product developers reduce project risks and build high-performing wireless products with only basic radio-frequency engineering skills. By doing so, users can focus on developing their own firmware to add value as the wireless functionality will be easy to use.
To make its Bluetooth module easier to use, STM has introduced the B-WB1M-WPAN1 evaluation board that is ready to power-up and start development. This board also contains movement, temperature and barometric-pressure sensors that can be incorporated into the system, and other features such as an industry-standard connector for attaching an external antenna.
Proemion, a specialist in telematics, was one of the first to use the B-WB1M-WPAN1 board for Bluetooth Low Energy application development.
Michael Otterbein, group head of embedded hardware development at Proemion, said: “Using the B-WB1M-WPAN1 development board allowed us to easily discover and develop using the WB1M module and seamlessly add BLE connectivity to our applications so we can deliver next-generation applications to our customers.”
The STM32WB09 wireless microcontroller, STM32WB1MMC turnkey wireless module and B-WB1M-WPAN1 module evaluation board are all in production now and ready for design starts.
The STM32WB09’s memory and peripherals suit applications such as wireless sensing, connected wearables and remote control. It supports Bluetooth 5.3 capabilities including direction and distance finding for accurate position detection, thereby enabling applications such as real-time locating, indoor positioning, item finding and asset tracking.
The SoC also enhances the performance and affordability of warehouse inventory management systems, smart meters, medical devices including disposable sensors, and access controls.
The product is built around an Arm Cortex-M0+ single-core architecture that hosts the application while STM’s radio manages the Bluetooth wireless connection.
While providing generous on-chip memory, STM has prioritised features that make the biggest difference in the targeted applications. These include support for power-control options in the Bluetooth radio and the ability for users to fine-tune the RF output power in 1dBm steps. This tuning optimises battery life and system reliability and ensures coexistence with other nearby wireless devices.
The STM32WB09 is available now for high-volume OEM applications in the QFN32 package.
Built around the STM32WB15 MCU with 320kbyte flash and 48kbyte RAM, the STM32WB1MMC all-in-one module can alleviate supply-chain headaches and lead-time issues and help avoid certification costs and delays. Bluetooth Low Energy 5.4 certified and with worldwide radio-equipment approvals, it provides a full reference design in an LGA package.
The entire module is made in-house, which simplifies supply and support for users, and STM’s ten-year rolling longevity plan ensures long-term availability.
For application development, the B-WB1M-WPAN1 accelerates the design of Bluetooth connectivity for integration with other system components and can be used as a reference design to ease hardware engineering workload. Leveraging the STM32Cube ecosystem, the board eases both power-consumption testing using the STM32Cube MX calculator and RF testing with the STM32Cube MonRF software tool.
The B-WB1M-WPAN1 is available from www.st.com and distributors. STM32WB1MMC modules are in production now.