Silicon Labs's expanded Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio has added the EFR32xG12 SoCs, which support a broader range of multiprotocol, multiband use cases for home automation, connected lighting, wearables and industrial IoT.

The Wireless Gecko SoCs support Zigbee and Thread mesh networking, Bluetooth 5 and proprietary wireless protocols. Silicon Labs has optimised its wireless protocol stack architecture to enable efficient switching between different network protocols. For example, device makers can now use a single chip to commission and configure devices over Bluetooth with a smartphone, and then join a Zigbee or Thread mesh network to connect to dozens or even hundreds of end nodes.

The SoCs offer up to 19dBm output power, reducing system size, cost and complexity by eliminating the need for an external power amplifier. EFR32xG12 SoCs also offer sensitivity in the 2.4GHz band (-102.7dBm for Zigbee and Thread and -95dBm for Bluetooth low energy) as well as improved sub-GHz performance for applications using proprietary protocols.

EFR32BG12 Blue Gecko SoCs feature a 2Mbps Bluetooth PHY, providing ample throughput for applications running a Bluetooth 5-compliant stack. The Bluetooth 5 standard enables four times the range, twice the speed, 800% greater broadcasting capacity and improved co-existence with other wireless IoT protocols, according to the company.

To help secure the IoT, the EFR32xG12 SoCs include a second on-chip security accelerator dedicated to the multiprotocol radio and a NIST-certified true random number generator (TRNG). This additional hardware cryptography block runs the latest security algorithms with higher performance and lower power than conventional software implementations, according to the company.

EFR32xG12 SoCs offer four times more flash memory (up to 1024kB with a dual-bank architecture) and eight times more RAM (up to 256kB) than previous-generation Wireless Gecko devices. This significant memory expansion makes it easier to develop complex IoT applications supporting multiple protocol stacks, real-time operating systems such as Micrium OS, backup images for devices and over-the-air (OTA) updates for field upgrades to extend the life of IoT products.

EFR32xG12 Wireless Gecko SoC samples and production quantities are available now in 7mm x 7mm QFN48 packages, as well as 65-GPIO 7mm x 7mm BGA options for applications requiring a large number of I/Os. Pricing for EFR32xG12 SoCs in volume quantities begins below $3.00.

The full-featured SLWSTK6000B Mighty Gecko Mesh Development Kit, supporting all protocols, is priced at $499. Additional radio boards for Mighty Gecko, Blue Gecko and Flex Gecko are available priced at $49. The Wireless Gecko portfolio is supported by Silicon Labs’ full suite of Simplicity Studio development tools, available to developers free of charge.