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Linux-driven Bluetooth gateway has WiFi, dual LAN, and optional LTE

Apr 14, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 1258 views

Laird’s “Sentrius IG60-BL654 Wireless IoT Gateway” for Bluetooth sensor applications runs Laird Linux or AWS IoT Greengrass on Laird’s SAMA5D36-based “60 Series SOM” and provides 802.11ac, BT 5.0, 2x LAN, and optional LTE Cat 1.

We last reported on Laird Connectivity in regard to its Open Platform automotive telematics and connectivity computer back in 2017, but we often see the company mentioned as the source of wireless modules available on various Linux-based systems. A few weeks ago, Laird announced a Bluetooth-oriented Sentrius IG60-BL654 Wireless IoT Gateway, a variant of an earlier IG60-Serial gateway that we’ll summarize below.



Sentrius IG60-BL654 Wireless IoT Gateway (left) and upcoming LTE model
(click images to enlarge)

The gateway is currently available only in a $486 starter kit that adds 3x Sentrius BT510 Bluetooth 5 sensors. Laird will soon launch IG60-BL654-LTE and IG60-Serial-LTE variants that add to these gateways with global 4G LTE Cat 1 radios.

The Sentrius IG60-BL654 is designed for connecting Bluetooth sensors to the cloud in applications such as temperature, vibration, proximity and door open/close sensing and reporting. Cited applications include refrigeration and cold chain transportation monitoring. The combination of Bluetooth and WiFi “allows customers to capture data from Bluetooth 5 sensors, add edge intelligence, and send that data to the cloud over high-performance 802.11ac,” says Laird.

The IG60-BL654, which we saw on EENews Embedded, is built around Laird’s 60 Series SOM, a 30 x 30mm compute module equipped with a Microchip SAMA5D36 processor. This high-end member of the SAMA5 family has appeared in products such as DAB-Embedded’s DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 router SBC. The SAMA5D36 has a Cortex-A5 core that was clocked to 536MHz on the DAB board.

The SAMA5D36 integrates crypto features that are leveraged on the IG60-BL654 by Laird’s Linux Buildroot platform, which features hardware root of trust and development tools. Based on Linux 4.19 and Buildroot LTS, Laird Linux has a BSP with precompiled SDK and toolchain, Eclipse IDE support, host communications API, secure boot, and Laird’s “smartBasic” Bluetooth programming language.

The Laird Linux firmware is available in pre-compiled images or as source code. Over-the-air (OTA) security upates are standard, and Tier 2 and FAE support services are optional.

Alternatively, you can load a Linux-based, Amazon AWS IoT Greengrass stack, which allows coordination between local and cloud processing. AWS Greengrass adds IoT management features including just-in-time maintenance and sensor data capture features. Laird will provide OTA application updates over AWS for three years.



Sentrius IG60-BL654 Wireless IoT Starter Kit (left) and 60 Series SOM
(click images to enlarge)

The 60 Series SOM and IG60-BL654 are further equipped with a Marvell 88W8997 WiFi chipset with 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO. The IG60-BL654 gateway adds a Nordic nRF52840 Bluetooth 5.0 module with a FreeRTOS-ready Cortex-M4 MCU and long-range capabilities.

The IG60-BL654 is loaded with 512MB NAND flash and 256MB LPDDR RAM, as well as Fast (10/100) and Gigabit Ethernet ports. There’s also a microSD slot, USB 2.0 host port, and 2x SMA antenna connectors.

The 100 x 85 x 22mm gateway has 8x LEDs and can be mounted on a DIN-rail or wall. There’s a 9-30V DC input and a -30 to 85°C operating range.

— ADVERTISEMENT —


The IG60-BL654 is available in a starter kit version with 3x Sentrius BT510 Bluetooth 5 sensors, and a choice of global AC and DC power supplies. The kit comes standard with Laird’s free AWS-based IoT monitoring platform and an iOS/Android mobile app “for fast, in-field provisioning.”

 
IG60-Serial and LTE variants

The IG60-BL654 is based on an earlier Sentrius IG60-Serial IoT Gateway that features a 1.5V-isolated RS-232/422/485 port. (One page says there are two serial ports, but the photos show only one.)



Sentrius IG60-Serial Wireless IoT Gateway (left) and LTE variant
(click images to enlarge)

The IG60-Serial lacks the Nordic Bluetooth 5.0 chipset but supports the BT 4.2 radio on the Marvell 88W8997 WiFi chipset. Aside from having one less antenna, other features appear to be the same as the IG60-BL654.

As noted, both the IG60-BL654 and IG60-Serial will soon be available in IG60-BL654-LTE and IG60-Serial-LTE variants that add global 4G LTE Cat 1 radios with 2G/3G fallback. Based on Gemalto PLS62-W radios, the LTE models add two more antennas. They drop down to a -30 to 60°C operating range and lack DIN-rail mounting support.

 
Further information

The Sentrius IG60-BL654 Wireless IoT gateway does not yet appear to be available individually. However, the Sentrius IG60-BL654 Wireless IoT Starter Kit with BT510 sensors sells for $486 at Avnet, and will soon be available from other sources. More information may be found in Laird Connectivity’s Sentrius IG60-BL654 announcement and product page.

The earlier Sentrius IG60-Serial Wireless IoT Gateway sells for $299 at venues such as Digi-Key. More information may be found on Laird’s Sentrius IG60-Serial product page.
 

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