Bluetooth SoCs support Bluetooth Mesh enhancements and NLC standard

The Networked Lighting Control (NLC) standard seeks to provide a single standard for commercial and industrial lighting using Bluetooth Mesh. Both the NLC standard and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s (SIG) enhancements to Bluetooth Mesh are supported by Silicon Labs’ Series 2 Bluetooth SoCs. 

“The new enhancements and profiles released today by the SIG will be supported by Silicon Labs devices and we look forward to applying the optimisations, cost-savings, and security enhancements in the new release for our customers,” said Ross Sabolcik, senior vice president of the industrial and commercial business unit at Silicon Labs. The company’s devices have supported Bluetooth Mesh since it launched in 2017 and has helped “a countless number” of customers adopt the standard for use cases like building automation, predictive maintenance, and commercial lighting, contined Sabolcik. 

The Bluetooth Mesh feature enhancements are a device firmware update. Mesh deployments often have hundreds of nodes and rely on firmware to keep them operating at their peak, to protect against threats, and leverage the latest features of the network. The device firmware update simplifies this process, and allows operators to update one device, which will then push the update to the rest of the network. 

There is also remote provisioning. The original Bluetooth Mesh meant network operators had to provision each device individually. This could be a costly, time-consuming, and depending on the environment, sometimes dangerous task. With remote provisioning, the network can help provision devices without needing an operator to be in direct range of the new device.

Another enhancement is certificate-based provisioning, to prevent counterfeit devices from infiltrating a network. Unique certificates can be injected into devices during the manufacturing process to help network operators authenticate new additions to a network. 

To enhance network security, private beacons will use encryption to eliminate static information in beacons that is shared outside of the network. This means that devices on the network and their users can no longer be tracked by malicious actors.

These four features are supported on the BG21, BG22, BG24, and BG27 SoCs and modules.

The Bluetooth SIG has also released the Network Lighting Control (NLC) bundle of device profiles. These standardised profiles will improve interoperability, scalability, simplify integration in the field and grow the Bluetooth ecosystem, said Silicon Labs. The same Bluetooth SoCs and modules that support the new feature enhancements can also support the ambient light sensor, basic scene selector, dimming control, basic lightness controller and occupancy sensor profiles.

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