Leverage Central Mode BLE with Laird's BL620 Module

October 27, 2014, 8:00 am

BL620 BLE Module for Central Mode

Easily learn how to leverage central mode Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with Laird's new BL620 module to make connections to any peripheral device. Laird's BL620 module uses the same module hardware as the BL600 but has a new firmware load supporting Central mode connectivity. The BL620 makes it easy to add single-mode Bluetooth Low Energy, also known as Bluetooth Smart™, to small, portable, power-conscious devices, including those powered by AAA or coin cell batteries. The fully approved, programmable modules feature Laird's innovative event-driven smartBASIC programming language, which significantly simplifies BLE integration.

In addition to the new BL620 firmware for the BL600 hardware series, Laird has launched a new packaged USB dongle (part # BL620-US) that leverages central mode BLE connectivity to any laptop or PC that supports a USB port from Windows 2000 to the latest Windows 8.1. This OS agnostic implementation presents a virtual COM port to the OS and then a sample smartBASIC application to provide multiple simultaneous BLE connections to peripheral devices.

Central Mode vs Peripheral Mode for BLE 

There are two main roles for BLE enabled devices: Peripheral and Central. A peripheral role is considered to be the slave device (such as a sensor) that requires the lowest power consumption rates and wirelessly provides the status or information of its connected sensor. The Peripheral devices send this data periodically to a Central mode device.

BL600 Single-Mode BLE Module for Peripheral mode BL600 Single-Mode BLE Module for Peripheral mode

As an example, the BL600 modules support BLE connectivity for peripheral devices such as a BLE enabled blood pressure cuff that sends data periodically to a doctor or nurse’s smartphone (the Central or gateway device) which then can send this data up to the cloud server.

A Central role device generally has more processing power and acts as the gateway device to the cloud or internet. In current BLE applications, this central mode device is a gateway, smartphone, or tablet. This enables the user to benefit from applications running on the central devices that can alert, update, or trigger web services, such as open a URL. The new BL620 modules can enable central mode BLE capability to a host of embedded devices and so supports a larger ecosystem of applications and devices outside of the traditional phone to tablet. The introduction of the BL620-US expands this to include legacy PCs and OS backed devices that do not support BLE or even cable replacement like applications using BLE for the peripheral target device.

Learn more about the new Laird BL620 module.