Renesase brings software defined radio to microcontrollers for Bluetooth 5.3

Renesas Electronics has developed a family of 32-bit ARM-based microcontrollers for early next year that will support the Bluetooth 5.3 standard, released earlier this year using software-defined radio (SDR).

Bluetooth 5.3 LE includes important new features, such as allowing receivers to filter messages without including a host stack to improve the receiver’s lifecycle. It also allows peripherals to provide preferred channels to a central device to improve throughput and reliability.

The standard also adds sub-rated connections, which improve the switching time between low-load and high-load connections for applications that sometimes need to switch to fast traffic.

The directional functionality introduced in Bluetooth 5.1 and the isochronous channels added in Bluetooth 5.2 for stereo audio transmission will also be supported in the new RA MCUs.

SDR capabilities will allow customers to later migrate to new versions of specifications along with ARM Cortex-M-class cores. The RA4W1 Bluetooth 5.0 LE, introduced last year, uses a 48MHz ARM Cortex-M4 core with 512kB Flash memory and 96kB SRAM and 8kB Data Flash to store EEPROM data in a 7x7mm QFN 56-pin package.

The new RA products will be supported by the flexible software package (FSP) of the RA family for application development and the Renesas QE add-on for Bluetooth LE, a special Bluetooth profile and application development support tool, as well as TrustZone security support.

“We are committed to providing the best performance, ease of use and latest features on the market,” said Roger Wendelken, Senior Vice President, Renesas IoT and Business Infrastructure. “By offering early, stable support for the Bluetooth 5.3 LE specification, we will allow our RA customers to be the first on the market with their next-generation products.

Renesas is preparing to offer a number of reference designs using the Bluetooth 5.3 LE MCU along with additional analog, power and sync devices. Samples of microcontrollers are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2022.