Anyone besides me looking into long-range Bluetooth for their wireless nodes?

  • Hero Member

    "Soon" to be released (this quarter?), and at least on paper it looks like it might very well be a game changer:
    and Documents/RegisteredDocs/EFR32BG1-DataSheet.pdf

    It's a fully integrated (radio, arm mcu, crystals, oscillators, RTC, balun, antenna, etc) module solution, supporting up to 19.5dBm Tx power (around 400m line-of-sight range). The entire module is a really tiny 10mmx15mm.

    For around $8-$12 on Digikey or Mouser you can already buy normal range, similarly integrated BLE modules with Tx powers of around 8-10dBm or so, which is still a significant jump over what ordinary NRF24L01+ can do.

    Has anyone here tried it? In the past I've always been disappointed with Bluetooth, but maybe this time they finally nailed it?

  • Admin

    Have you seen any prices yet?

  • Hero Member

    I haven't. However, the new 3db highly integrated BLE modules you can buy today for $12:
    seem very comparable, except for their lower Tx power.

    and here's a similarly integrated sub-ghz module (only just recently released) for $18.20:
    It's not Bluetooth, but it's similarly highly integrated, and strikes me as also pretty impressive, being such a highly integrated 915Mhz module with 11.6dBmTx power

    So, with those as comparables, I'm guessing the price for the LR Bluetooth modules will be less than $30, and maybe less than $20. Perhaps being standards based, multiple vendors and higher volumes might drive the price lower, but not lower than $12 in the near term. If anyone has a more reasoned argument for a different price, I'd love to hear it.

    So, at least in the very near term, your material costs might be lower with the current homemade solutions (i.e. AVR chip plus NRF24L01, RFM69HW, etc on some kind of PCB), but that's at least partially offset by the high degree of integration (= labor savings) these new modules appear to offer. The small size is an added bonus that may or may not matter to people, depending on their application. Generally speaking, though, smaller = better.

    It's not as breakthrough as the ESP8266 was for WiFi, but for ultra low-energy, battery operated (or energy harvested) stuff, it has definitely grabbed my attention.

  • Hero Member

    Hmmm.. 50 views and no comments.

    I'm going to press ahead. Any thoughts as to which would be the better choice: Silicon Labs' BlueGecko or Cypress Semiconductor Bluetooth PSOC/PROC? Any reason for preferring one over the other?

  • Hardware Contributor

    on my side, waiting for esp 32:

    • integrated too
    • lot of memory and features
    • maybe not as low power as pico things like cc1310 or other pico mcu. but there should be some optimizations possible with deep sleep. Add to it energy harvesting if you want more..
    • add to it a LORA module, and you easily get a tri radio module, with extra long rang and bluetooth.
    • price should be very competitive 🙂
    • and not the smallest thing, it's arduino, and faster/easier to use.
    • there is already an awesome team working on esp8266/esp32 for arduino. not the same for ti's, or other exotic chips...then that need mbed, keil etc..

    Enough for me on my side for BLE. For my other things I prefer sub ghz+gw..

  • Hero Member

    Eval boards with the extended range module already installed are available now for $20: