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Silicon Labs Debuts IoT Dev Platforms, SoCs with Focus on Matter 1.0

Sept. 15, 2022
Complete development support for Matter and Amazon Sidewalk, coupled with SoCs for Wi-SUN and Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth LE, broaden SiLabs’ IoT portfolio.

The Overview

At its annual Works With Developer Conference, Silicon Labs unveiled:

  • A set of complete Matter development solutions with support for Matter over Wi-Fi, Matter over Thread, Bluetooth LE commissioning, and Matter bridges to Zigbee and Z-Wave
  • An end-to-end development platform for Amazon Sidewalk
  • A flagship SoC and power amplifier for Wi-SUN for dense urban environments
  • The company’s first Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth LE SoC family

Who Needs It & Why?

According to Silicon Labs CEO Matt Johnson, it’s estimated that “by 2025, there will be 27 billion connected IoT devices, roughly three or four devices per person on the planet." Many of those devices will connect through the forthcoming Matter 1.0 standard, which promises, through a unifying application layer, to provide the interoperability bridge between multiple smart-home ecosystems.

SiLabs’s Series 2 SoC family, which debuted in 2019, was developed under the premise that as the IoT matured, instead of looking for point solutions, the market would seek IoT platforms that combine hardware, software, security, tools, and support. That turned out to have been prescient, and the Series 2 family, with these latest additions, provides a wealth of resources for developers of IoT-enabled devices.

Under the Hood

At the heart of SiLabs’s Matter portfolio is its 2.4-GHz wireless MG24 SoC for Bluetooth and multiple-protocol operations. The SoC also supports Matter over Thread as a single-chip solution, while providing an effective indoor range of up to 200 meters for OpenThread and enabling Bluetooth commissioning of new devices on the same chip. When the MG24 is combined with the company’s ultra-low-power RS9116 Wi-Fi product, it enables development of Matter over Wi-Fi 4 with an easy transition to Silicon Labs's Wi-Fi 6 single-chip Matter SoC in 2023.

The company’s Unify SDK, touted as the only multi-protocol software-development platform for Matter Border Routers, provides the tools to bridge Matter to other IoT platforms, including Zigbee and Z-Wave. Its Simplicity Studio and GSDK provide developers with a single development environment for enabling Matter on wireless devices and seamlessly connecting them to their desired ecosystem.

Development for Amazon Sidewalk

In its Pro Kit for Amazon Sidewalk, SiLabs delivers an end-to-end development platform for Amazon’s community network. The Silicon Labs Pro Kit for Amazon Sidewalk comprises low-power, high-performance wireless hardware for all Amazon Sidewalk protocols, including Bluetooth Low Energy, sub-GHz FSK and CSS, software SDKs, and security.

The Silicon Labs Pro Kit for Amazon Sidewalk comes with a pre-flashed software image and AWS pre-registration. This provides developers with a quick start to Amazon Sidewalk development, saving them days in setup. Simplicity Studio, the integrated development environment (IDE) for all Silicon Labs technologies, guides developers through the entire Amazon Sidewalk development journey from start to certifying finalized code into a guided, end-to-end process.

While anyone can develop an Amazon Sidewalk device, Amazon Sidewalk connectivity is currently only available to end consumers and endpoint devices in the U.S. The Silicon Labs Pro Kit for Amazon Sidewalk is sampling today, with general availability planned for 2H 2023.

A Secure, Long-Range Smart-City Combo

In 2023 and beyond, we’ll see a big push toward intelligent, connected devices in cities and other municipal environments. To support those efforts, SiLabs’s new FG25 SoC and its complementary EFF01 RF power amplifier serve low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) like Wi-SUN and other proprietary sub-GHz protocols. The FG25 SoC combines a powerful Arm Cortex-M33 processor with the most internal memory of any SoC in Silicon Labs' portfolio. This large pool of internal memory, combined with Silicon Labs' scalable Wi-SUN Field Area Network (FAN) Border Router 1.1, enables FG25 deployments to scale to hundreds of thousands of nodes.

Ideal for smart cities, this ability to scale will allow city planners and municipal engineers to connect streetlights, cameras, weather stations, smart metering, utility transmission systems, and more together. In turn, it will enable data sharing and optimization between city services to improve their efficiency, save costs, and offer more ways for citizens to interact with, and get more value from, municipal services.

To complement the FG25 SoC, the EFF01 RF front-end module doubles the effective range of the FG25, allowing it to operate with minimal data loss at a range of up to 3 km in dense urban environments. The FG25 and EFF01, currently sampling with customers, are anticipated to become generally available in Q4 2022 and Q2 2023, respectively.

Secure, Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi 6

According to Deloitte's “2022 Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey,” the average U.S. household has up to 22 connected devices, a number that’s expected to grow. But with this greater density comes additional challenges that Wi-Fi 6 is designed to address, offering the features that provide the capacity, efficiency, coverage, and performance required by users in demanding Wi-Fi environments.

To meet those challenges, the new secure ultra-low-power SiWx917 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth LE combination SoC is the first Wi-Fi 6 solution in Silicon Labs's portfolio. The SiWx917 is a single-chip solution that is Matter-ready, includes an integrated applications processor, and offers industry-leading energy efficiency, making it ideal for battery-powered or energy-efficient IoT devices with always-on cloud connectivity.

In addition to SiWx917's Wi-Fi 6 support for high-performance in dense wireless environments, it includes a dual-core architecture, a quad-thread ThreadArch processor for wireless connectivity, and an Arm Cortex M4F for user application processing. It also integrates embedded SRAM, flash, an AI/ML accelerator, an enhanced PSA Level 2 certifiable security engine, and a power-management subsystem in a single 7x7 package.

The SiWx917 is a fully integrated SoC designed to deliver exceptional compute power, faster machine-learning processing, best-in-class security, enough memory to run wireless stacks and applications, and ultra-low current consumption for long battery life.  Such features can help users reduce development costs and device footprint, future-proof their applications, and accelerate time-to-market.

The SiWx917 is currently sampling, with general availability anticipated in early Q3 2023.

About the Author

David Maliniak | Executive Editor, Microwaves & RF

I am Executive Editor of Microwaves & RF, an all-digital publication that broadly covers all aspects of wireless communications. More particularly, we're keeping a close eye on technologies in the consumer-oriented 5G, 6G, IoT, M2M, and V2X markets, in which much of the wireless market's growth will occur in this decade and beyond. I work with a great team of editors to provide engineers, developers, and technical managers with interesting and useful articles and videos on a regular basis. Check out our free newsletters to see the latest content.

You can send press releases for new products for possible coverage on the website. I am also interested in receiving contributed articles for publishing on our website. Use our contributor's packet, in which you'll find an article template and lots more useful information on how to properly prepare content for us, and send to me along with a signed release form. 

About me:

In his long career in the B2B electronics-industry media, David Maliniak has held editorial roles as both generalist and specialist. As Components Editor and, later, as Editor in Chief of EE Product News, David gained breadth of experience in covering the industry at large. In serving as EDA/Test and Measurement Technology Editor at Electronic Design, he developed deep insight into those complex areas of technology. Most recently, David worked in technical marketing communications at Teledyne LeCroy, leaving to rejoin the EOEM B2B publishing world in January 2020. David earned a B.A. in journalism at New York University.

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