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Yocto-driven IoT gateway does Thread and BLE

Dec 16, 2016 — by Eric Brown 2,529 views

Rigado unveiled a highly customizable IoT Gateway that runs Linux on an i.MX6 UL SoC, and features its “R41Z” Thread/ Bluetooth Low Energy wireless module.

Portland, Oregon-based Rigado, which makes a variety of Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Thread modules, is prepping a line of customizable, Yocto Linux-driven IoT Gateways to showcase them. Due to arrive in early 2017, the gateways ship with brandable enclosures and customizable feature sets. The default feature, however, is a combination Thread (802.15.4) and BLE 4.2 module called the R41Z.

IoT Gateway enclosure (left) and mainboard
(click images to enlarge)

The R41Z module is built around NXP’s Kinetis KW41Z SoC. The KW41Z has a 48MHz Cortex-M0+ core with 128KB SRAM and 512KB flash and a built-in, 2.4GHz Thread/BLE transceiver.

IoT Gateway board (left) and block diagram of NXP KW41Z SoC inside the R41Z module
(click images to enlarge)

The KW41Z SoC and R41Z module enable concurrent, multi-mode Thread and BLE communications on the IoT Gateway. Typically, Thread would be used for introducing data from a meshed remote control monitoring network while BLE would be tapped for accessing the gateway from a mobile device. The IoT Gateway also provides a BLE to WiFi (2.4/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n) router and a Linux-powered WiFi bridge supporting local data storage and control over a low power device network.

R41Z Thread/BLE module (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The IoT Gateway can be augmented with other connectivity options including Power over Ethernet (10/100Mbps), cellular, and LoRa modules. It appears you can also replace the R41Z module with individual BLE or Thread modules.

The IoT Gateway itself runs Yocto Linux on an NXP i.MX6 UltraLight (UL), a low-power 528MHz Cortex-A7 SoC that has found its way onto a number of IoT gateways including NXP’s Volansys-built, Modular IoT Gateway reference design. The i.MX6 UL is supported with 128MB to 512MB DDR3 RAM and 32MB to 64MB quad-SPI NOR flash. A microSD slot or up to 4GB eMMC are optional.

Rigado IoT Gateway block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The base IoT Gateway configuration offers internal antennas, a 5VDC input jack, user and reset buttons, and an LED. In addition to the options listed farther above, you can customize the system with a USB 2.0 port, external BT and WiFi antennas, serial buses, and an expansion bus for additional interfaces like UART, I2C, and SPI.

DeviceOps conceptual diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Yocto Linux SDK includes Thread and BLE drivers and Rigado’s Remote Router Management firmware. Rigado’s wireless modules can also be programmed and configured by Rigado’s DeviceOps platform. DeviceOps includes an OTA bootloader, iOS/Android BLE library, and iBeacon and UART bridge. The platform also includes mobile updater, compression, and cloud management tools.


Further information

The Rigado Iot Gateway will be available in early 2017. More information may be found in Rigado’s Iot Gateway and R41Z module product pages.

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3 responses to “Yocto-driven IoT gateway does Thread and BLE”

  1. macemoneta says:

    All the commercial / home-made IoT devices I have use WiFi. There are 15 billion WiFi devices; it’s not going away anytime soon. I can’t say the same for the rest of the wireless protocols.

  2. No Name says:

    There is no Yocto Linux, there is Poky and Yocto Project. When will you learn :-/

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