Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

U-Blox strengthens Bluetooth portfolio

Steve Rogerson
October 23, 2019



Swiss company U-Blox has strengthened its Bluetooth portfolio to encompass more use cases from ultra-long range to indoor location.
 
The three additions to the BMD series enable a host of applications, from high precision indoor positioning to medical and industrial applications in difficult signal environments.
 
The company recently acquired the BMD product series from Rigado. It is now introducing the BMD-341, BMD-345 and BMD-360 modules.
 
Compliant with Bluetooth v5.1 specification, the BMD-360 module is the company’s first to support Bluetooth’s direction finding feature. It is optimised for cost sensitive, long-range beacon applications, asset tags for smart building and smart manufacturing systems, IoT infrastructure, warehouse logistics, and other precision, indoor location-based services.
 
Central to its functional capabilities is the nRF52811 system-on-chip (SoC) from Nordic Semiconductor. This incorporates a 32bit Arm Cortex-M4 processor running at 64MHz, and a built-in antenna.
 
The BMD-345 and BMD-341 Bluetooth 5.0 modules, are built around Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC. Both have a U.FL connector for applications requiring an external antenna. This makes them suitable for deployments in difficult use cases, such as medical and industrial devices built into metal enclosures.
 
Pushing the long-range performance further with its embedded power amplifier and a low noise amplifier, the BMD-345 could play a role in use cases requiring best-in-class link budget for extended coverage and enhanced signal quality. These use cases can include agriculture, asset tracking and Bluetooth-based mesh networks repeaters, enhancing their operational range and their ability to deal with obstacles.
 
“Through the introduction of these modules we add important new features and capabilities for our customers, allowing us to attend to a diverse cross section of client needs,” said Len Albertsson, principal product manager at U-Blox. “Offering ever-greater coverage and new high precision indoor positioning capabilities, it’s exciting to see Bluetooth grow out of its niche as a short range communication technology.”
 
The BMD-341 and BMD-345 are pin and footprint compatible with other BDM-34x products, thereby facilitating design upgrades or the design of product variants with different antenna types and ranges. The BMD-360 is compatible with the BMD-330, BMD-300 and BMD-301.
 
Samples of BMD-341 and of BMD-360 are available this month, and samples of BMD-345 will follow later this year.