Engineering 101

Delivering Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity with zero programming


The Wireless Xpress solution recently released by Silicon Labs has been designed to help developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary. The Wireless Xpress provides a configuration-based development experience and includes certified Bluetooth 5 Low Energy (LE) and WiFi modules, integrated protocol stacks and tools.

“By using Bluetooth and WiFi Wireless Xpress, developers can move from product concept to prototyping in a matter of hours instead of weeks,” said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs.

“Wireless Xpress greatly reduces the design learning curve without compromising sophisticated Bluetooth or WiFi functionality. Developers will spend less time learning how to add wireless connectivity to their IoT devices and more time designing innovative, distinctive products and getting them to market ahead of the competition.”

With on-board wireless stacks controlled through a high level Xpress Command API for setup and control, Wireless Xpress devices require only modest resources from a host processor, enabling developers to add wireless connectivity to any microcontroller (MCU).

Bluetooth and WiFi IoT products based on Wireless Xpress can be remotely managed and updated Over The Air (OTA) using native device management features. With Silicon Labs’ Zentri Device Management Service (DMS), end users can easily install and update firmware, view real time device health metrics and adjust product settings through mobile apps.

To ease the complexity of adding Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity to mobile applications, Wireless Xpress includes a mobile app SDK for Android and iOS. The mobile app framework comprises examples and libraries and offers simple communications and OTA APIs to accelerate app development and simplify wireless design for mobile platforms.

Wireless Xpress takes advantage of Silicon Labs’ Gecko OS, an IoT operating system. Silicon Labs plans to offer additional Gecko OS-based products and solutions in the future, which can create market-ready connected products with a configuration-based IoT OS. It can also simplify setup, control and OTA updates through the Xpress Command API, and communicate with host MCUs, external peripherals and sensors.

Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs, commented: “This solution really brings IoT to the masses – to quickly prototype something and get it up and running. It really extracts complexity to unlock the value of IoT to designers. We believe that this approach of driving simplicity is the way forward in the future.”

Bluetooth LE Xpress solution highlights

  • Bluetooth 5 BGX13 module requiring no firmware development.
  • Zero-overhead serial-to-Bluetooth cable replacement solution.
  • Smartphone app for Bluetooth LE command, control and sensing.
  • Secure connections with encrypted communication, bonding and passkey pairing.
  • Suitable solution for smart home products requiring Bluetooth control with a mobile app and adding a point-to-point wireless interface to industrial applications.

WiFi Xpress solution highlights

  • Streamlines cloud connectivity with low power WiFi modules and software.
  • Supports cloud vendors including Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
  • Integrated web app enabling browser-based user interfaces.
  • Suitable for applications such as home appliances, wireless sensing, thermostats, IP cameras and health monitoring requiring direct Internet access and remote provisioning and updates.

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