Renesas to soon bring BLE 5.3 specification MCUs

Renesas to soon bring BLE 5.3 specification MCUs

The Timeline

2009: Bluetooth 4.0 focused on Low Energy as its selling point and was targetting low power/battery-operated devices, especially in the IoT and mobile sector.  

2019: Added finding functionality. Calculating the Angle of Arrival or a received packet or providing Angle of Departure in the packet, proved to be a big leap in the asset tracking and management sector, especially again in the low power division.  

2020: Bluetooth 5.2 specification focused on Isochronous Channels and the idea of stereo audio transmission over a Bluetooth LE link became a reality. Being mainly driven by hearing aid and headphone use cases, this new feature finally addressed one big gap between Bluetooth LE and BR/EDR: audio transmission. 

On July 13, 2021, the Bluetooth SIG announced its latest core specification update, the 5.3 version. Compared to the previous releases, this one seems to be more of an evolution than a revolution. However, the included enhancements are very important building blocks for better device performance, including:  

  • Updates to the periodic advertising process now allow receivers to filter out messages earlier (i.e. in the Controller stack without involving the Host stack) and thus improve the receiver duty cycling 
  • Peripheral devices can now also provide their list of preferred channels to a central device to improve throughput and reliability where previously the channel classification was only controllable from the central device 
  • The addition of so called sub-rated connections improves the switching time between low and high duty cycle connections for applications that mostly use minimal communication but sometimes need to switch to burst traffic 

While the Bluetooth 5.3 specification may not seem like a huge leap, these enhancements are important additions to improve device performance, user experience, and, of course, power consumption. In order to let product developers – and finally users – benefit from all the Bluetooth SIG’s enhancements, Renesas is providing full feature set implementations of Bluetooth 5.0 now and will soon also offer support for all new features added up to Bluetooth 5.3 in the next generation of its products. 

Renesas expects to have the first samples of the new MCUs in the first quarter of 2022. The new products will be supported by the RA family’s Flexible Software Package (FSP) for easy development of applications and the Renesas QE for Bluetooth LE plug-in, a dedicated Bluetooth profile and application development support tool.