Silicon Labs releases IoT hardware and sofware for Wirepas Massive mesh networks
Austin-based chip-maker Silicon Labs has released a hardware and software solution for large-scale mesh networks based on the Wirepas Massive protocol. It has partnered with Finnish IoT connectivity company Wirepas on the release, which covers an expansion of its existing EFR32BG21 (BG21) and EFR32BG22 (BG22) modules and SoCs.
The low-power Wirepas Massive (formerly Wirepas Mesh) technology has found decent support in the smart buildings space, notably for lighting-as-a-platform systems. Silicon Labs’ low-power BG21 and BG22 units support Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth mesh applications, including connected lighting, smart plugs, gateways and voice assistants.
Wirepas Massive is a proprietary local-area mesh protocol, based on the same IEEE 802.15.4 standard the for physical and media access control layers. It is being positioned as a challenger IoT tech for connecting sensors, tags, and luminaires. Its author company claims advantages over rival short-range technologies, and even over indoor wider-area networks, on the grounds of scalability, reliability, energy efficiency, and cost.
A statement on the arrangement with Silicon Labs said: “The power of the collaboration [is] most apparent in the deployment of Wirepas Massive for end-to-end logistics, as the ultra-low power and affordability of [the] BG22 offers logistics players a unique system for pallet and goods tracking throughout the supply chain. The solution also makes it possible to connect access control, smart lighting and sensors to a single network – all to power smart buildings.”
Teppo Hemiä, chief executive at Wirepas, commented: “When you fuse the scalability of WIrepas Massive with the ultra-low power of Silicon Labs’ BG21 and BG22 solutions, the possibilities become endless. The unparalleled combination opens the door for a variety of use cases that transcend asset tracking and extend to connected lighting, smart energy and – consequently – sustainability.”
Ross Sabolcik, vice president and general manager for industrial and commercial IoT at Silicon Labs, said: “Silicon Labs portfolio of wireless products is designed to meet the most demanding IoT applications with industry-leading security and field-proven reliable wireless performance, all delivered in an optimized SoC.
“We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Wirepas to help them deliver large scale mesh networks for demanding professional installations. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Wirepas and that they have chosen our BG21 and BG22 family of high-performance, wireless SoCs for their Wirepas Massive solution.”
Wirepas is readying a new mesh-based industrial IoT technology in the license-free 1.9 GHz spectrum band to go up against cellular-based private 5G systems. Its new product, called Wirepas Private 5G, is based on the new DECT-2020 NR standard, set to be absorbed as the first non-cellular technology into the International Telecommunication Union’s 5G family of technologies.
The DECT-2020 NR standard was developed to support “broad and diverse” wireless IoT applications, including both massive machine-type (mMTC) and ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) communications, as also defined in cellular 5G. It was signed off by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in October 2020, with major input from Wirepas.