Nordic Semiconductor – Bluetooth 4.1 and Over-the-Air Firmware Upgrade for nRF51 Series

The S110 SoftDevice v7.0 offers a broad range of new features: The Over-The-Air Device Firmware Upgrade (OTA-DFU), together with the nRF51 Series SoC’s flash-based architecture, support a flexibility to firmware upgrades that is not possible on alternative static ROM/OTP-based ULP wireless SoCs. Thus, the nRF51822 and nRF51422 SoC’s stacks and application firmware can be upgraded quickly and easily using the devices’ own wireless link. The OTA-DFU feature allows complete application and protocol stack upgrades and is not limited to partial updates and patching. Concurrent Peripheral/ Broadcaster roles is another feature of the latest S110 SoftDevice, that allows the nRF51 series SoC to broadcast data whilst in a connected state.

With the new support for concurrent multiprotocol Bluetooth low energy and 2.4GHz RF proprietary operation, Bluetooth low energy operates from the S110 SoftDevice itself while the 2.4GHz proprietary protocol runs from the application space. The new S110 v7.0 SoftDevice manages all radio scheduling through application programming interfaces (API). It also provides compliance with the latest version of Bluetooth wireless technology (Bluetooth 4.1) allowing end products using the S110 SoftDevice to be qualified to the Bluetooth standard.

The architecture of the SoftDevice cleanly separates the Bluetooth low energy, ANT or 2.4GHz proprietary SoftDevice from the developer’s application code removing the need for the engineer to struggle with integration of their code as part of a vendor-imposed application development framework. This separation ensures that stack and application operate independently, but communicate when necessary via event-driven APIs.

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