Bluetooth Finally Lives up to its Reputation of Being a Cable Replacement

10/22/2002 - CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) launched a ready-engineered example of a BluetoothTM serial port cable replacement system. This fully specified design will make it quicker and easier for companies to produce their own low cost RS232 cable replacement devices using CSR's BlueCoreTM technology and is being made available through CSR's website.

Whilst providing all the advantages of a wireless connection, the application of Bluetooth is transparent to the user. In appearance, the chip looks like a standard serial interface. The host device does not need to know that it is communicating over a Bluetooth link, there is no host processing overhead and the user is not required to write additional software or to purchase Bluetooth stack software.

The BlueLab software development kit, available separately from CSR, is used to write software to run on the RISC processor inside Bluecore2-External. Using software supplied with BlueLab the processor can simultaneously run the Bluetooth communications stack and Bluetooth Serial Port Profile. Crucially, for applications where a high data rate (>100kb/s) is not required, no host processor is needed. This reduces the overall cost of implementation (complete BOM) to less than $10.

This innovation is ideal for industrial and automotive use. Bluetooth devices have long been touted as the answer to the mass of cables currently required for such applications.

There are clear cut advantages to a wireless solution for these applications. A combination of wiring and moving parts often makes it difficult and expensive to fit wired nodes. Wiring design is sometimes a key limiting factor in the design of machines, and wire installation can add significantly to manufacturing and maintenance costs.

Luke D'Arcy, product manager CSR commented, "The CSR cable replacement example design will provide our partners with a competitive edge. They will be able to develop products more quickly and at substantially lower cost than their competitors". D'Arcy continued, "The design enables the OEMs eliminate inconvenient data cables inexpensively without having to become Bluetooth experts themselves."

A wireless solution is simple to fit and forget, even for nodes on moving equipment. Bluetooth is the ideal technology for this application because it is low-cost and resistant to interference.

With BlueCore2-External and BlueLab, CSR is offering an easy to use solution which allows customers to realise the benefits of wireless technology without making huge changes to designs which already work well.

About CSR
CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) specializes in providing single-chip radio devices to the global market for short-range wireless communications, including BluetoothTM. The company’s mission is to create the most highly integrated radio devices available, fabricated using standard CMOS technology, to provide its customers with the lowest cost of ownership of high quality digital radio.

CSR was the first company in the world to offer a true single-chip Bluetooth solution with BlueCore, a fully integrated 2.4 GHz radio, baseband and microcontroller. In Q4 2001, CSR released BlueCore2, its second-generation family, and offers developed hardware/software bundles for each of the fastest growing Bluetooth applications markets. Users can combine the chips with the CSR Bluetooth software stack to provide a fully compliant solution for data and voice communications or, used with an upper layer host software stack, CSR is able to offer a complete Bluetooth end-to-end solution.

CSR has a growing list of major international companies including Microsoft Corp., Samsung, Sony, Compaq, IBM, Fujitsu, LG, ALPS, TDK, 3Com, Mitsumi, Siemens and Motorola, who have already used CSR’s BlueCore in the development of a range of Bluetooth products. In fact, up to the end of 2001, 70% of available pre-qualified modules, as listed on the qualified products page of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) web site, feature BlueCore and it is in 57% of all qualified Bluetooth v 1.1 enabled end product designs.

CSR is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with offices in Richardson, Texas; Tokyo, Japan; Singapore and Aalborg, Denmark.

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