Silicon Labs recently announced two hardware modules based on its BG22 Secure Bluetooth 5.2 SoC: 6x6mm BGM220S system bundled (SiP) and slightly optimized for wireless performance with a better link budget. BGM220P introduced, large PCB variant, wider range.

Both modules can be integrated into products with a battery life of up to 10 years using a single coin cell battery. All variants of BGM220S/P can support Bluetooth directional discovery, and some components can also support Bluetooth mesh low power protocol.

Main features

  • Silicon Labs EFR32BG22 Arm Cortex-M33 with DSP instructions and floating-point unit, up to 512 kB Flash, 32 kB RAM, 2.4 GHz radio with TX power up to 8 dBm, and Embedded Trace Macrocell (ETM) for advanced debugging
  • Supported Protocols
    • Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 5.2)
    • Direction-finding
    • Bluetooth mesh Low Power Node

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/09/14/silicon-labs-bluetooth-5-2-bgm220s-sip-and-bgm220p-pcb-module/

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 and Bluetooth technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32

ESP-MESH is a network protocol based on the Wi-Fi protocol. ESP-MESH enables the connection of a large number of devices (hereinafter nodes) covering a large physical area (both inside and outside) over a single WLAN (wireless local area network). ESP-MESH self-organizes and self-heals, allowing you to build and maintain networks autonomously.

Traditional Wi-Fi Network Architecture. Source: espressif.com

Traditional Infrastructure of Wi-Fi network is a point-to-multipoint network in which a single central node called an Access Point (AP) is directly connected to all other nodes called stations. The AP is responsible for arbitrating and forwarding transmissions between stations. Some access points relay transmissions to and from external IP networks through routers.

Traditional Infrastructure Wi-Fi networks have the downside of having a limited coverage area as all stations need to be in range to connect directly to the access point. In addition, the maximum number of stations allowed in the network is limited by the bandwidth of the access point, making traditional Wi-Fi networks prone to overload.

ESP-MESH vs traditional Wi-Fi infrastucture

ESP-MESH differs from traditional Wi-Fi infrastructure networks in that the nodes do not have to connect to a central node. Instead, the node can connect with its neighbors. Nodes are responsible for relaying transmissions to each other. This allows for achieving interconnections without the need for nodes to be within the range of the central node, which significantly extends the coverage area of the ESP-MESH network. Likewise, ESP-MESH is less prone to congestion as the number of allowed nodes in the network is no longer limited by a single central node.

ESP-MESH Network Architecture. Source: espressif.com

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32
ZigBee Mesh used in end-point IoT devices

ZigBee mesh‚s usefulness for IoT is partly due to the fact that it is an open standard. The same products can be used all over the world, which gives customers a large selection of available option. The high competition between products and producers means that the created solutions are innovative, characterized by high quality and give customers a considerable choice. Many suppliers of cooperating elements of this ecosystem mean that they are not limited to any specific brands or specific semiconductor manufacturers.

ZigBee Mesh. Source: ZigBee Alliance
ZigBee Mesh. Source: ZigBee Alliance

Compatibility is also promoted, as ZigBee Mesh 3.0 brings all the various ZigBee environments to a single, unified standard. Over the years, ZigBee has covered applications ranging from industrial to business to home, which has led to the development of separate service standards. ZigBee 3.0 collects all these various applications under one umbrella. This eliminates the need for mediation bridges between different sets of ZigBee supporting devices. All of them will be able to communicate directly, regardless of type.

Competitiveness of ZigBee based solutions

With a maximum data bandwidth of 250 kbps at 2.4 GHz, ZigBee is slower than other popular wireless standards such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but it doesn’t matter in typical sensor applications. ZigBee Mesh is designed to send small data packets at relatively long intervals, which is usually sufficient to collect data from temperature sensors, safety sensors, air quality monitoring systems and similar subsystems. In the meantime, the low bandwidth affects the low power needed for the system to work, so that ZigBee nodes can usually work for many years on a single AAA battery.

ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance
ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance

With low power consumption, ZigBee supporting products typically have a short transmission range – typically from 10 to 15 meters, and the signal they emit is easily disturbed by obstacles on the route, or changes in the environment. However, the beauty of ZigBee devices lies in their work as part of a lattice topology network, where each of them transmits signals between themselves over a total of longer distances. The grid topology also means that damage to a single device will not stop the entire network, as communication can simply be redirected.

Data security via ZigBee wireless technology

ZigBee 3.0 has introduced an advanced set of tools that allows designers to introduce reliable networks with a balanced security policy and ease of installation. Available features will be constantly updated to respond to emerging threats. The security solution used is based on the ZigBee PRO grating protocol, which was originally created for the ZigBee Smart Energy profile. It is currently used by hundreds of millions of media consumption meters around the world, without detecting any security holes.

New features include device-unique authentication, when connecting to the mesh network, updating of keys used during work, secure software update via wireless network and data encryption at the logical layer of the link.

Industrial use of ZigBee Mesh

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting ZigBee Mesh technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE, including ZigBee modem.

Arduino or Raspberry Pi? Pros and cons in IoT use.

Some people consider the Arduino platform to be the best for beginners, however, the novice will handle both Arduino and Raspberry Pi board. The choice between platforms should mainly depend on the characteristics of the project.

The origin of both platfoms

The founder of Arduino is Massimo Banzi, a lecturer at the now-defunct Italian Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, who developed a microcontroller in cooperation with students from this university. The Arduino programming language, based on the Wiring environment and basically on the C/C++ language, was designed by Hernando Barragán, a student of Banzi. The site prepared by Hernando Barragán presents exactly all the work on the project, which clearly shows that this success has more than one father.

In the case of Rasberry Pi, the project also had its source at the university. More specifically, at the University of Cambridge. Three lecturers: Jack Lang, Alan Mycroft and Robert Mullins came up with the idea of ​​developing a simple and above all cheap computer for learning programming. The first prototypes were created between 2006 and 2008. In the next step, seeing the potential of their solution, the men established cooperation with Pete Lamas, an integrated circuit designer at BroadCom, and David Braben, one of the developers of the Elite game, and together they founded the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

As a result, both platforms, which were originally intended to be used for learning by students, due to their low price and simplicity of use, became extremely popular among amateur users of consumer electronics and control, and appeared in mass sales.

So what should you choose – Arduino or Raspberry Pi?

The answer is basically simple – Arduino is ideal for simpler projects. Raspberry Pi will be useful for solutions that require more computing power. Arduino has only 2 kilobytes of RAM. Raspberry Pi has a RAM size of 1 GB. So Arduino is a simple microcontroller, meanwhile Raspberry is actually a small computer. Not without significance is the fact that the Arduino IDE is easier to use than Linux. So if you need a simple control of watering your garden, Arduino will work perfectly. Several sensors and a few lines of code will do the trick. For Raspberry Pi, to achieve the same effect, you will first need to install the system and the necessary libraries. There will be a lot more work and the effect will be the same – watering the garden at a specific time.

So choose Arduino when you need to use a simple solution for frequently repeated activities, e.g. controlling the watering of the garden, switching on and off the external lighting at a specific time, opening the gate, etc. However, because Raspberry can run many tasks at the same time, it is a computer, work simultaneously as a home printer server and operate the monitoring system. Home weather stations are popular and Raspberry will be perfect for this application because of the need to collect information from several sensors (temperature, wind strength, humidity). Raspberry Pi will therefore be a good choice for anyone interested in IoT, i.e. the Internet of Things at home. Examples of ready projects can be found here: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

Why not both?

Nothing prevents you from starting with Arduino and continuing with Raspberry Pi. By using Arduino or ESP32-based solutions you will learn the basics and you will get the effect quickly and relatively easily. But only Rasbperry Pi will allow you to make much more difficult projects. And both platforms can be combined with each other. Arduino/ESP32 can be used to read information from sensors and control e.g. motors (for example a garage door). Raspberry Pi will control all devices and send the collected data, e.g. to a mobile phone. You can do more together.

Bulgarian open equipment specialist, Olimex, has started stocking compact modules to add Low-Power NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) connectivity (LPWAN) to the project: the NB-IoT-BC66 family.

NB-IoT is low power wide area networking technology which uses existing GSM LTE technology and has many advantages versa LoRa,” the company explains. „GSM network quality of service; single GSM cell can talk to up to 100,000 devices; high; communication speed 25.5kbps up and downlink; secure communication using LTE encryption; better range than LoRa both in urban and rural area (* depend on cell operating frequency – best range is on 850MHz.)

Source: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/new-nb-iot-bc66-modules-with-size-only-26×26-mm-contain-everything-you-need-to-add-nb-iot-functionality-in-your-next-project/

Olimex has launched four NB-IoT breakout boards. They are all based on the Quectel BC-66 module. NB-IoT-BC66 is the basic model, NB-IoT-BC66-ANT includes an attached GSM antenna, NB-IoT-BC66H contains a pre-soldered header, NB-IoT-BC66 and NB-IoT-BC66H-ANT combines both a soldered header and an attached antenna.

Olimex BC66 breakout board’s features and specifications:

  • NB-IoT Connectivity
    • Quectel BC-66 with worldwide GSM bands coverage
    • 25.5 kbps uplink and downlink
    • nano SIM card slot
    • u.FL antenna connector + optional antenna
  • I/O Expansion – 3x 10-pin header either unpopulated or fitted with male headers; Level shifters for 5x GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART
  • Misc – Status LEDs
  • Power Supply –
  • Dimensions – 26×26 mm

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/08/olimex-quectel-bc66-breakout-board/

eModGATE with ESP32

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

Technology must transfer data to the central system in real time, otherwise it may have negative consequences. If the sensor battery power runs out, a machine failure may stop production for one day or lead to direct danger. If battery life is unbelievable and short, IoT applications will become useless, causing more interference rather than making life easier for its intended purpose. Therefore battery powered IoT devices come as a standard in up-to-date IoT installations

Wireless sensors and sensor networks are one of the elements of the Internet of Things systems and intelligent factories. Replacing the standard sensors and data collection devices with versions that communicate wirelessly gives many benefits, but also enforces a highly thought-out system design that will minimize energy consumption. This is important because these systems must work for many years without servicing. In the article we present the issues regarding the design of systems and forecasting of energy consumption in IoT systems.

Wireless communication vs Battery power

The idea of wireless sensor networks has been around for at least two decades, while the IEEE subgroup working on personal wireless networks defined the 802.15.4 standard in 2003, a year later the first versions of ZigBee appeared. Since then, many varieties of wireless communication have been developed, such as LoRa & NarrowBand-IoT and additional functions introduced, as a result of which designers now have a choice of various open or proprietary protocols. What significantly affects the way the entire project is implemented is energy consumption.

Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

The basic elements of these systems are sensors that measure physical quantities. Some signal and data processing capabilities are also important. After all, the communication interface is important, which will allow you to pass the measured data on. Such a sensor node should wake up from time to time, make contact with its superordinate controller, transfer data and fall back to sleep again. Battery life depends on the total charge collected. Minimizing this consumption in the long run means that you need to minimize energy consumption during each work cycle. In many cases, the sensor will only work for a small fraction of the time. A measurement that lasts a few milliseconds can be triggered once per second, once per minute, or even less frequently. Therefore, the energy consumed in sleep mode may dominate the total energy consumption.

Battery powered sensors market growth

The lifetime of IoT sensors varies greatly: some last a year years, others 10, the first being the most realistic. When organizations need to deploy engineers to install new batteries in sensors and employ staff to monitor them, the benefits of technology itself are beginning to run out.

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

It is estimated that in 2020 nearly 31 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things. Such forecasts provide ample opportunities, especially for producers associated with the products that make up it, and they are intensified by the developing IoT technology.

Source: https://globenergia.pl/co-laczy-internet-rzeczy-i-perowskity-fotowoltaika-do-zastosowan-wewnetrznych/

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

The creators of the Pi-oT module returned to Kickstarter and launched a new module based on ESP32. Thanks to this, users familiar with Arduino programming or preferring lighter architecture can enjoy all the advantages of the IoT module for enterprises.

Pi-oT ESP module key features and specification:

  • Board – ESP32-DevKitC-D32 based on ESP32-WROOM-D32 module with ESP32 dual-core processor, 32Mbit SPI flash
  • Relays – 4x Panasonic SPDT relays controlled via GPIO pins
  • Screws terminals for
    • Relay outputs
    • 6x analog inputs configurable as GPIO if needed
    • 2x analog outputs configurable as GPIO if needed
    • 2x GPIO
    • 5V input, 3.3V, and GND
  • Power Supply – 5V input via terminal or Micro USB port?; 5V circuitry protection
  • Dimensions – DIN rail enclosure

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/05/04/pi-ot-esp-module-leverages-esp32-screw-terminals-iot-automation/

The ESP Module is a microcontroller based IoT Module which offers the same great features as our Pi-oT Module, but based off on an ESP32 platform. The ESP Module is powered by an ESP32 DEVKITC-32D microcontroller which is included in each reward.

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pi-ot/esp-module

Additionally 10 GPIO pins are routed to the housing terminals to utilize the power of ESP32 in a wide range of applications. The flexibility of the ESP32s system allows easy configuration of 6 of these pins as analogue inputs and 2 as analogue outputs.

Industrial use of LoRa & ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting LoRa wireless technology is ESP32 based eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information and also Raspberry Pi based solutions check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32

Some time ago, we wrote about the premiere of Espressif’s ESP32-S2 chip. Check out the summary from Adafruit team on the ESP32-32 features.

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://moduino.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

Coming up ESP32-S2 to fill the ESP32 and ESP8266 gap

In March 2019, photos of the new Espressif‚s chip „7 2-2-A” leaked. Since then, speculation has come up. It includes BLE5, USB, 5 GHz Wi-Fi and so on. Speculation ended last month when Espressif announced the new ESP32-S2. There is still some confusion about the ESP32-S2, but the specification has become clearer.

With state-of-the-art power management and RF performance, IO capabilities and security features, ESP32-S2 is an ideal choice for a wide variety of IoT or connectivity-based applications, including smart home and wearables.

Source: https://www.espressif.com/en/news/espressif-announces-%E2%80%A8esp32-s2-secure-wi-fi-mcu
First look of ESP32-S2

CPU and Memory

  • Xtensa® single-core 32-bit LX7 microcontroller
  • 7-stage pipeline
  • Clock frequency of up to 240 MHz
  • Ultra-low-power co-processor
  • 320 kB SRAM, 128 kB ROM, 16 KB RTC memory
  • Up to 1GB of external flash and SRAM support
  • Separate instruction and data cache

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 1×1 transmit and receive
  • HT40 support with data rate up to 150 Mbps
  • Support for TCP/IP networking, ESP-MESH networking, TLS 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 and other networking protocols over Wi-Fi
  • Support Time-of-Flight (TOF) measurements with normal Wi-Fi packets

IO Peripherals

  • 43 programmable GPIOs
  • 14 capacitive touch sensing IOs
  • Standard peripherals including SPI, I2C, I2S, UART, ADC/DAC and PWM
  • LCD (8-bit parallel RGB/8080/6800) interface and also support for 16/24-bit parallel
  • Camera interface supports 8 or 16-bit DVP image sensor, with clock frequency of up to 40 MHz
  • Full speed USB OTG support

Security

  • RSA-3072-based trusted application boot
  • AES256-XTS-based flash encryption to protect sensitive data at rest
  • 4096-bit eFUSE memory with 2048 bits available for application
  • Digital signature peripheral for secure storage of private keys and generation of RSA signatures

Optimal Power Consumption

ESP32-S2 supports fine-resolution power-control through a selection of clock frequency, duty cycle, Wi-Fi operating modes and individual power control of its internal components. 

  • When Wi-Fi is enabled, the chip automatically powers on or off the RF transceiver only when needed, thereby reducing the overall power consumption of the system. 
  • ULP co-processor with less than 5 uA idle mode and 24 uA at 1% duty-cycle current consumption. Improved Wi-Fi-connected and MCU-idle-mode power consumption.

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://moduino.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

Oximeter hacked using ESP32 chip to help fight coronavirus

Many developement boards can be used in home and industrial applications to control and manage data. A small ESP32 chip was used to hack customer oximeter – a useful tip to help in current COVID-19 related treatments.

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information and also Raspberry Pi based solutions check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

Obrazek posiada pusty atrybut alt; plik o nazwie emod1.png
eModGATE with ESP32