STM adds Zigbee 3.0 to wireless microcontroller

  • July 20, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Swiss firm ST Microelectronics has added Zigbee 3.0 to its STM 32WB55 wireless microcontrollers so developers can use the interoperability and power-saving features of Zigbee networking for home automation, smart-lighting, smart-building and broader IoT connectivity.
Zigbee 3.0 unifies the features of Zigbee specifications for consumer and industrial applications, a move that has driven major consumer and internet brands to choose Zigbee connectivity for smart-home products. STM is a member of the Zigbee Alliance board of directors, a council member of the Zigbee Alliance Member Group China (ZMGC), and supportive of the Zigbee Alliance Connected Home over IP (Chip) project.
The Zigbee 3.0 software for STM32WB55 includes the Exegin Zigbee Pro protocol stack, provided free of charge, and delivered and supported by STM. This stack is used in Exegin products certified as Zigbee Golden Units and is approved as a reference stack for use by test laboratories. To ease development, the offer supports 46 Zigbee 3.0 clusters that help users establish device capabilities. A further 21 clusters support legacy products.
“This is a milestone for the Zigbee Alliance,” said Leslie Mulder, Exegin’s president. “With the advent of STM’s Zigbee 3.0 offering, Zigbee is reaching a new level of maturity, one that has the potential to cement its and STM’s leadership roles in the IoT market.”
The microcontrollers also support Thread and Bluetooth 5.0, with over-the-air update capability. There are ten variants, offering a choice of package styles and flash density from 256kbyte to 1Mbyte. Further variants scheduled to be introduced in the next quarter will give developers extra flexibility to meet application performance and cost targets.
The devices use the Arm Cortex-M4 with floating point unit, DSP instructions and a memory protection unit that enhances application security. An Arm Cortex-M0+ coprocessor manages the integrated IEEE 805.15.4 radio and the MCU’s cyber-protection features to ensure real-time low-layer operations run smoothly without compromising application execution. The RF transceiver has a link budget of 106dB, to ensure reliable connections over distance.
STM’s patented low-power microcontroller technologies and high feature integration, which include the radio balun circuitry, ensure devices help designers meet tight power and size constraints in a wide range of IoT and wearable devices. There are analogue and system peripherals, as well as cyber-protection and ID features including secure firmware installation, customer key storage, hardware public key authority and cryptographic accelerators. Capacitive touch and LCD controllers also simplify user-interface integration.
The Zigbee 3.0 software is included in the STM 32Cube WB MCU package, which provides embedded software including low-layer APIs and hardware-abstraction layer drivers for STM32 WB microcontrollers, as well as Bluetooth 5.0, Mesh v1.0 and Thread libraries, Free RTOS kernel, Fat FS file system and the STM Touch capacitive-sensing library.
The STM 32Cube ecosystem, through 32Cube Monitor-RF for RF testing and 32Cube MX for device configuration and code generation, can ensure more comfortable and easy development.