One of the challenges faced with supporting multiple protocols has been the requirement to have multiple chips or SoCs, one for each protocol. Time slicing multiple protocols on a single chip is a viable option for protocols that use the same frequency bands.
Benefits of Supporting Multiple Protocols Include:
- Provide direct phone-based configuration and control of connected devices
- Simplify wireless-subsystem design through reduction of RF components
- Include diagnostic capabilities to check device health with a smartphone
- Leverage multiprotocol IC for mobile engagement applications
- Add a mechanism for high-speed OTA firmware updates
Bluetooth and proprietary sub-GHz wireless technologies operate at different frequency bands. Each protocol has its own requirements for latency and bandwidth, and the effective scheduling of communication is a key element to successfully making use of dynamic multiprotocol connectivity. Depending on the specific application, the amount of time allocated to each protocol may vary, requiring a configurable connection interval. System testing is also necessary to ensure that application timing requirements are met. By designing with one SoC, the wireless sub-system BoM can be reduced by up to 40%, and PCB design can be simplified, eliminating the need to address possible interference between multiple radios.
|Performance||Bandwidth shared across multiple protocols; potential increased latency and missed packets||No compromises|
Commercial, home, and public utility IoT applications can be enhanced or improved through multiprotocol support. Sub-GHz wireless technologies are ideal for smart metering applications since they propagate over wide areas. By adding simultaneous sub-GHz and Bluetooth communication to metering IoT devices, technicians can utilize mobile apps for local setup, information gathering, and maintenance. These new capabilities simplify daily tasks and have the potential to deliver cost savings to public utility companies.
In commercial or retail settings, there is a desire to leverage connected infrastructure to implement Bluetooth beacons for location based advertisements, asset tracking, and indoor navigation. By integrating Bluetooth beacons into a large-scale smart lighting networks, dense regions with beacon coverage can be created. Instead of having to deploy both connected lights and beacons, a connected light or luminaire can also serve as the mechanism to broadcast Bluetooth beacons. This can provide a more cost-effective means to dense a dense beacon network for location based services.