The Q&As are based on the webinar, Getting the Most Out of Bluetooth 5, which was held on 17th May 2017. If you were not able to attend the webinar, you can watch a recording of the webinar:
Q: Approximately when will 5.0 be incorporated in iOS and Android phones? I.e. when will the 4x range of 5.0 be achievable with my product that links to smartphones?
Galaxy S8 is the first phone to support Bluetooth 5. Currently, it only supports 2M PHY. iPhone 7 also accepts 2M PHY connections, but officially it claims to be a 4.2 phone. We are not sure when LE Long Range and/or advertisement changes will be adopted but will be monitoring it.
Q: Do you provide consumption simulator?
Yes, we do. Simplicity Studio has a tool called energy profiler, which measures current consumption in real time
Q: Which curves does the ECC module support?
You can see all the supported modes from this document: https://www.silabs.com/documents/public/reference-manuals/efr32xg12-rm.pdf
Q: In current API we can use automatic ADV data generation or prepare UserAdv data. Is there plan to add API for simplified build ADV data? For example, I want to prepare Manufacturer specific data (code FF) myself, but that stack take care about other data, like TX power, flags and so on.
Currently, you need to pretty much build the ADV data yourself, but our support team could help you can make an example that makes it easier to use.
The Bluetooth Developer Studio allows you to graphically build the advertisement data and you could develop a simple plug-in for the Bluetooth Developer Studio, which generates the C code to build the advertisement data.
Q: Is Keil uVision supported in the future for the development with blue gecko devices?
At the moment we support GCC and IAR and unfortunately, there are no plans to add Keil support in the near term future.
Q: Does Silicon Labs Bluetooth stack support RTOS?
Today we work on supporting Micrium Kernel with the Bluetooth stack and the target release in the Q3’17 SDK.
Q: Does Silicon Labs plan to provide a certified stack for Apple HomeKit?
Yes. Silicon Labs provides Apple HomeKit over Bluetooth. Our current HomeKit SDK v1.2.0 implementation is Apple HomeKit R9 compliant already and we are already working for the upcoming R10 changes.
Q: Do BGMxxx modules support for Bluetooth 5?
BGMxxx modules have already support for Bluetooth 5 advertisement sets and scan event reporting. In Q4’17 there will be modules with full Bluetooth 5 support including LE long range and 2M PHY.
Q: Does Mighty Gecko family also support Bluetooth 5?
Yes, the EFR32MG12 supports Bluetooth 5 (2M PHY) and EFR32MG13 supports both Bluetooth 5 2M PHY and Bluetooth 5 LE Long Range.
Q: Can EFR32BG12 / 13 support be a Bluetooth LE slave and master at the same time?
Yes. We can support any combination of master and slave connections up to 8 simultaneous connections at least.
Q: What qualifies a Bluetooth end product for licensing?
All end devices using Bluetooth trademarks and IP must be end product listed. There are a few different schemes how to qualify the end product depending on your situation, but in most cases, any testing can be omitted by using our qualified SW and RF-PHY.
Q: What are the requirements for certification when using a certified module with our own firmware using the SDK?
The firmware doesn't affect the certification requirements. Our modules are modular approved where available, which allows you to integrate the HW to your design and just reference to our grants (for example FCC). Then in some regions, you can use some parts of our certification test results in your self-declaration, but need to do some tests to your end product (CE). The best approach is to take a test house to navigate through the different regional requirements. You can find our materials what we offer from our website.
Q: Are there licensing costs when distributing a product using Bluetooth? If there is, is it an annual or one-time fee?
If you make an end product using Bluetooth, you need to do a Bluetooth End Product listing, which will cost from $2500-8000 depending on your company size and revenue. We make pre-certified modules, which help you to minimize the costs of implementing Bluetooth and radio in end products. Licensing fee is one-time fee per product or product line.
Q: Are modules planned to certificate with SRRC?
This is not in the plan today, we are investigating this but have not reached a conclusion. If you see a strong demand for this don't hesitate to let us know.
Q: Can the 1438 kbps throughput at 2Mbps be divided between multiple nodes in the network? Or does bandwidth not divide evenly?
It will be divided if you have multiple nodes and the TX/RX is time division multiplexed. How it's divided among the nodes, depends typically on the implementation.
Q: How many simultaneous connections do a Blueooth 5 device support?
This is implementation specific and typically comes down to the amount of RAM you have. We officially support 8 connections today and have tested that we can get it up to 12 slave connections at least.
Q: How is the power usage of Bluetooth 5 compared to Bluetooth 4?
It depends on the features used. The TX/RX peak figures are typically the same as with Bluetooth 4. With 2M PHY the TX/RX times are half of what they are with 1M PHY, so your average power consumption can be 50% lower. If you use LE Long Range the TX and RX times will be quite a bit longer which also increases power consumption.
Q: Is Bluetooth 5 backwards compatible with Bluetooth 4?
Yes, it is. Bluetooth 5 devices are fully backward compatible, but of course, the new features like 2M PHY and LE Long Range will not be available.
Q: Is it possible to handle connections with 2M PHY and old BT4 PHY at the same time?
It is possible. In BT5 Different connections and/or even individual packets can use different PHYs.
Q: Does Bluetooth 5 add any features to Bluetooth Classic?
Not really, as it is mostly focused on new features of the BLE
Q: Will we be able to remotely change Tx power?
Yes, you can implement a GATT service and characteristic, which you can write remotely and change the TX power.
Q: Can we switch ADV speed from 1M tо 125kbps?
Yes you can. You can advertise with 1M and LE long range on the primary channels and the secondary channels can use any PHY.
Q: Will there be Bluetooth 5 modules with multiple antennas?
Possibly, especially when the indoor positioning specifications are released with Bluetooth 5.1.
Q: Can we use Bluetooth 5 solution from SiLabs with PA/LNA?
You can, but we have variants with built-in PAs that go up to 19dBm. You can still use an external PA/LNA if you like and our software can automatically control the PA/LNA with a GPIO pin.
Q: What is the acquisition time for two new devices connecting (e.g. a Bluetooth device say a tag being taken passed say a mobile phone with its BT open to connect)?
This related to the scanning and advertising intervals heavily, so the longer the periods the longer it takes to connect. In the best-case scenario, we are talking about some hundreds of milliseconds but it can be some seconds in the worst case.
Q: Can Bluetooth 4 and Bluetooth 5 be used in access control system (PACS) without paring process?
You could encrypt the application data, and achieve application level security without going through the pairing process and encrypting the link. in this case the link would be plain text.
Q: How we can get your roadmaps about Bluetooth stack development?
You will get this via your local sales person under NDA.
Q: Are you planning also to offer a Bluetooth USB Dongle variant for Bluetooth 5, like the Silicon Labs Bluegiga BLED112 Bluetooth 4 Dongle?
We are thinking about this, but the plan is not fully confirmed. If you are interested in such a product, please contact our sales or field marketing and we'd be happy to discuss the details with you.