Nordic Semiconductor IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart protocol stack for nRF51 Series SoCs

Now available for download, the nRF51 IoT Software Development Kit (SDK) is a complete IPv6-ready Internet Protocol Suite for Nordic’s market-leading nRF51 Series Bluetooth Smart SoCs. The SDK enables native and interoperable IP-based connectivity between a Bluetooth Smart ‘thing’ and a cloud service. It also enables Bluetooth Smart to be used in large, distributed, cloud-connected, heterogeneous networks such as home, industrial, and enterprise automation.

Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces the launch of its nRF51 IoT (Internet of Things) Software Development Kit (SDK), an IPv6-ready complete Internet Protocol Suite for Nordic’s market-leading nRF51 Series of Systems-on-Chip (SoCs). Leveraging the newly adopted Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP) from the Bluetooth SIG and 6LoWPAN technology from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), this SDK takes Bluetooth® Smart with Nordic’s nRF51 Series and IoT to the next level by enabling end-to-end IP based communication.

This includes large-scale, distributed, cloud-connected, heterogeneous network deployments relevant to smart home, industrial, and enterprise automation applications, logistics, access control, and cloud services that can be completely agnostic to the fact the ‘last mile’ technology is enabled by Bluetooth Smart wireless technology, enabling a direct communication between the service and the ‘thing’.

Native IP means that Bluetooth Smart ‘things’ can communicate with each other via ‘headless’ routers and the Internet. It also means that a Bluetooth Smart ‘thing’ can communicate with things using other IPv6-enabled wired or wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, ZigBee IP, and Thread, to form a heterogeneous network.

In contrast to other IoT solutions based on proxies or proprietary Internet gateway bridges, the nRF51 IoT SDK is based entirely on open standards and extends IP addressing all the way to the ‘thing’ and thus enabling ‘headless routers’. The first release of the protocol stack includes: Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP), 6LoWPAN adaption layer, IPv6 internet routing layer, User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) transport layers, Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) application layers, plus a range of application examples. A compact memory footprint also means that the complete protocol stack can run on the nRF51 Series SoC in a single-chip configuration, enabling developers to minimize power, size, and cost of end products.

Complementing the SDK, Nordic is also providing a software set-up for emulating a ‘headless’ router with support for IPv6 Bluetooth Smart using a Raspberry Pi (Model B), a Bluetooth Smart Ready USB dongle, Raspbian GNU/Linux Kernel 3.17.4, and a radvd deamon. The combination of this ‘headless’ router set-up, the new nRF51-DK, and the nRF51 IoT SDK provide developers with a powerful and complete platform for developing Bluetooth Smart based Internet of Things applications with Nordic nRF51 Series SoCs.

“With the emergence and massive growth of wearables, Bluetooth Smart is already an established and key technology for connecting ‘my things’ to the internet,” says Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Director of Product Management with Nordic Semiconductor. “The nRF51 IoT SDK unleashes the potential of Bluetooth Smart for connecting ‘things around us’. This SDK solution enables developers to take advantage of Bluetooth Smart in a completely new range of IoT segments and applications. We believe that IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart is a key enabling technology for power, size, and cost-constrained IoT applications. We are both proud and excited to be the first company to introduce a complete and fully integrated solution.”

“Bluetooth continues to offer OEMs, developers, and consumers new possibilities in wireless connectivity. Now, with a new profile – IPSP – announced with 4.2, sensors can access the Internet directly via IPv6 and 6LoWPAN,” says Errett Kroeter, senior marketing director for the Bluetooth SIG. “Bluetooth Smart is the only wireless technology that provides the flexibility to innovate, ability to scale to the market, and trust of a globally recognized standard. All of which are essential to delivering the promise of the Internet of Things. We are excited to see companies moving so quickly to take advantage of the IP connectivity capabilities now available for Bluetooth Smart.”

The nRF51 IoT SDK is available for download now from This first alpha release complements the nRF51 SDK and is compatible with the new Nordic nRF51 Development Kit (nRF51-DK).

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