Silicon Labs Wireless Geckos: Get Bluetooth, Zigbee & Thread IoT Capabilities in Energy-Friendly SoCs

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Silicon Labs is the industry leader in Internet of Things (IoT) related products like microcontrollers and application-processing System on Chips (SoCs). Silicon Labs emphasizes their proprietary wireless protocols with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Zigbee and Thread connectivity options. The new family of Wireless Gecko SoCs from Silicon Labs tailor specifically their proprietary wireless protocols with the Flex Gecko, the Blue Gecko and the Mighty Gecko. Each of the new chips feature an energy-efficient, 32-bit processor called the Silicon Labs’ EFM32, which is based around the ARM Cortex-M4. The Wireless Gecko family also touts a powerful RF transceiver for the devices’ respective protocols and a handful of integrated passives to reduce total board componentry.

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The Flex Gecko is designed exclusively for Silicon Labs’ two proprietary radio protocols, one at 2.4 GHz and the other, sub-GHz. This dual-band connectivity, combined with the energy-efficient EFN32 MCU, allows for high performance in devices that communicate solely through radio frequencies. Featuring a compact QFN package with 32- and 48-pin connection options, the Flex Gecko sports 128 to 1024 kB of flash memory, 16 to 256 kB of RAM, a variety of output power ranges, digital I/O pins and internal timers. Flex Gecko easily fits into solutions ranging from industrial control and automotive sensors to battery-operated connection devices.

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SLWSTK6020A

Silicon Labs RF/Wireless Development Boards and Kits View

Blue Gecko is the Bluetooth-enabling SoC of the Wireless Gecko family that also offers support of Silicon Labs’ proprietary wireless connection possibilities. The Blue Gecko provides top-of-the-line BLE performance, thanks to the integrated power amp and balun, and can even receive signals with a -103.3 dBm sensitivity at 125 kbps in select models of the series. This same excellent performance carries over to Blue Gecko’s coverage of Silicon Labs’ proprietary 2.4 GHz and Sub-GHz radios. The Blue Gecko line comes in the same compact QFN package as the Flex Gecko, with 32- and 48-pin connections, and equally sports several configuration choices to best suit your system in regard to memory, output power, I/O and timing options.

The Silicon Labs Mighty Gecko also offers BLE and proprietary protocols, but is designed to be mainly used for Zigbee and Thread connectivity. Zigbee and Thread are similar wireless languages that use mesh networks to create smart homes or office spaces. Zigbee is more focused on sensor networks and remote control while Thread is based around IP data transfer and security. When used In combination, the two protocols can weave together your IoT, giving you amazing control over your interconnected devices. The Mighty Gecko does just that, with 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4-certified communications and a diverse antenna function that also aids in proprietary protocols. Just like the Flex Gecko and Blue Gecko, the Mighty Gecko offers the same 32- and 48-pin configuration in a QFN package with identical memory, frequency output, interfacing, etc.

To aid you in incorporating the new Wireless Geckos into your system, Silicon Labs has also released a set of accompanying development boards and starter kits. Each kit comes with a development board associated with the Flex Gecko, Blue Gecko or Mighty Gecko, and even comes with a Gecko SoC, configured with the feature options of your choice. The development board gives you the option for complete expansion of the Gecko you choose, with extension headers and battery slots/holders to autonomize your Gecko.

Whether your IoT system is RF, BLE, Zigbee or Thread, Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko SoCs are sure to provide your solution with powerful, robust wireless communications in a compact, energy-efficient manner. 

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