The Blebricks family consists of various sensor models, such as the environmental, touch, orientation, and presence detection’s ones, communication and power modules, infrared receivers, and mounting bases.
For Blebricks of the Expert series, it is also recommended to avoid putting pressure on the individual components at sight, to use electrostatic protection and to carefully disassemble them using an electrical insulator as a lever.
The BLE-B is the basic brick delegated to the operational management of the system and communications via Bluetooth Low Energy BLE communication distance in the air up to 20-30 meters. On request version with a range of about 300 mt.
The BLE-B is equipped with:
Bluetooth® Low Energy (v.42 or 5.x under request)
NFC Tag Emulation
Three-state button detecting short and long presses
RGB LED with configurable colour and brightness level, used also for status indication by blinking
4 GPIOs configurable as digital inputs, digital outputs with optional PWM feature and analogue input (only for two GPIOs)
Battery voltage sensor
Dimensions (naked): 22.5 mm x 22.5 mm
Dimensions (packaged): 27 mm x 27 mm
2.4 GHz transceiver
96 dBm sensitivity
1 Mbps, 2 Mbps supported data rates
TX power -20 to +4 dBm in 4 dB steps
RSSI (1 dB resolution)
512 kB flash memory
64 kB RAM
The BLE-B can operate both and simultaneously in advertising mode (default operating mode with minimum power consumption) and observing mode (scanning for advertising packets from other BLE devices).
The main advertising data are encoded and transmitted using a registered Manufacturer ID (0x0668, Bleb Technology s.r.l.).
A special case of the observing mode is the sentry mode: the BLE-B measures the RSSI from a specific BLE device allowing to estimate their mutual distance.
Another possibility for the BLE-B is to transfer data to/from central BLE devices in connection mode.
Additionally, the BLE-B can operate in Quuppa mode, emulating a Quuppa tag for enhanced RTLS applications.
The low power mode is intended for applications with small data throughput and ultra-low power consumption, therefore it is not recommended for enhanced demonstration experience.
The BLE-B can be configured in programming mode, where commands are received upon BLE connection, are executed and saved in BLE-B’s flash memory for execution after power-cycling.
Serial programming mode is identical to programming mode, with the only exception that commands are received through I2C.
Finally, the BLE-B’s firmware can be updated wirelessly via Over The Air Device Firmware Update.
The BLE-B can be used with all additional Blebrick family devices, sensors, actuators, power supplies and communication devices. It is therefore suitable for a wide range of applications requiring the monitoring of various environmental parameters, mechanical stress and local or remote data transmission, as well as the activation of actuators upon the occurrence of particular events. In the applications section you will find some examples in various operational areas.
The Blebrick ESP is a communication and data processing brick that integrates an ESP32 module. It can be used to provide the following additional functionality:
- Wi-Fi communication (with Smartconfig)
- BLE/Wi-Fi Gateway (together with BLE-B)
- Edge Computing (pre-processing) programmable with Arduino IDE
- Green Pass reader, with Shield ESP-BCR (BarCodeReader)
- CAM Module, with ESP-CAM Shield
- SD Memory Module, with ESP-SD Shield
- Other advanced functions under request
The Blebrick ESP can forward the data collected by the local Blebricks to the Wi-Fi network, according to a configurable interval.
The user can set the data sending interval, the network credentials (name and password) and the broker’s address (the data is sent through the MQTT protocol) via SmartConfig.
Dimensions (Expert): 22.5 mm x 50.5 mm
Dimensions (Elite): 27 mm x 52.5
When the Blebrick ESP is connected to your BLE-B, the MakeApp shows the connection status to the Wi-Fi network and to the MQTT broker, and allows you to start the SmartConfig procedure.
Being a data processing Blebrick, the ESP can be programmed by the expert user to perform Edge Processing. It can also provides additional features simply by connecting the following shields:
- ESP-BCR: Shiled that integrates a Barcode reader for GreenPass validation and other Barcode/QR-Code based applications
- ESP-CAM: shield that integrates a 2 MP camera and a high intensity LED (flash)
- ESP-SD: shield that integrates a support for microSD.
Programming the ESP Brick and the BLE-B with appropriate firmware, it is possible to realize a BLE/Wi-Fi Gateway able to forward to a server the data of the BLE devices in the vicinity and to send commands to them. For example by connecting the BLE-B to the ESP we can realize a compact BlebGW-ESP Gateway. Moreover, by adding other bricks with sensor function, we can realize Gateways that transmit in Internet not only the wireless data received from other Blebricks family devices in the vicinity, but also the data of the sensors directly connected to them.
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The ESP32 module integrated in the Blebrick ESP can be used with the supplied firmware, or it can be programmed through development environments such as Arduino IDE or ESP-IDF.
Dedicated libraries will soon be released to allow programming the device by interfacing even more easily with the BLE-B and all the other Blebricks.
The ETP Blebrick is a communication and power supply Blebrick that integrates an Ethernet communication module and a power-supply solution to work as IEEE® 802.3af compliant Class 1/Class 2 Powered Devices (PDs) in a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) system. It shall be used with the ESP Brick to provide Ethernet connectivity or to build a Wi-Fi/Ethernet gateway.
When used with the ESP Brick, the ETP Blebrick can forward, with configurable interval, the data collected by the local Blebricks to the Ethernet network.
Dimensions (Expert): 76.8 mm x 22.5 mm
Dimensions (Elite, GW ESP/EP housing): 88 x 36 x 24.5 mm
The ETP Blebrick shall be used with the ESP Brick and does not directly appear in the MakeApp. However the MakeApp, through the ESP Brick, shows the connection status to the network and to the MQTT broker, the IP address of the device and provides a guide to set up the main parameters.
By programming the Brick ESP and the BLE-B with an appropriate firmware and adding a ETP Brick, it is possible to realize a BLE/Wi-Fi/Ethernet Gateway capable of forwarding data from nearby BLE devices to a server and sending them commands. For example by connecting the BLE-B to the ESP and the ETP we can realize a compact BlebGW-ESP/ET Gateway. In addition, by adding other sensor-functioning bricks, we can realize Gateways that transmit over the Internet not only wireless data received from other nearby Blebricks family devices, but also data from sensors directly connected to them.
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The Blebrick SFX is a module LP-WAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) able to communicate with the Sigfox network, in a predominantly unidirectional, with local coverage radii up to 30 km and deep indoor propagation of the signal. It is characterized by low power consumption and low cost. The existing network infrastructure provides a good national and global coverage of 75 countries, thanks to which it is often possible to build communication networks without using additional gateways. Up to 140 messages of 12 bytes can be transmitted per day, on average one message every 10 minutes. The fees towards the national network operator are quite low (about 1 euro/month).
It represents the ideal solution for low cost devices with low consumption as well as for those applications in rural or “noisy” (EM), which require the transfer of little data (eg smart-metering) or sporadic communications to the need (eg alarms).
N.B. It is necessary to connect the supplied antenna to the Blebrick SFX to allow communication.
Sigfox is an LPWAN network operator that offers an end-to-end IoT connectivity solution based on its patented technologies. Sigfox deploys its proprietary base stations equipped with software-defined cognitive radios and connects them to back-end servers using an IP-based network. End devices connect to these base stations using binary phase-shift keying (BPSK) modulation in an ultra-narrow (100 Hz) sub-GHZ ISM band and uses unlicensed ISM bands, e.g., 868 MHz in Europe, 915 MHz in North America, and 433 MHz in Asia. The use of the ultra-narrow band allows for very low noise levels and power consumption, high receiver sensitivity, and a low-cost antenna design at the expense of the maximum throughput of only 100 bps. Downlink communication, which can only occur after uplink communication, is very limited. The number of uplink messages is limited to 140 messages per day. The maximum payload length for each uplink message is 12 bytes. However, the number of downlink messages is limited to four messages of 8 bytes per day. Each message is transmitted multiple times (three by default) on different frequency channels. For this purpose, in Europe for example, the band between 868.180 MHz and 868.220 MHz is divided into 400 orthogonal 100 Hz channels (among which 40 channels are reserved and unused). Since base stations can receive messages simultaneously on all channels, the end device can randomly choose a frequency channel to transmit its messages. This simplifies the design of the end device and reduces its cost.
Sigfox is a global IoT network built to listen to billions of objects transmitting data, without the need to establish and manage network connections. The complexity of the network and processing is managed in the cloud, rather than on the devices, to significantly reduce the power consumption and cost of connected devices.
Highlights of Sigfox network are:
– High quality of service
A device is not attached to a specific base station. Its broadcasted messages are received by any base station in the range, which is 3 on average, and there is no need for message acknowledgement. Spatial diversity coupled with time and frequency diversity of radio frame repetitions lead to high quality of service of the Sigfox network.
– High resilience to interferences
Ultra Narrow Band intrinsic ruggedness coupled with spatial diversity of the base stations offer great anti-jamming capabilities. UNB is extremely robust in an environment with spread spectrum signals. UNB is the best choice to operate on the public ISM band.
– Very long range
Low bit rate and simple radio modulation enable a 163.3 dB budget link for long range communications.
– High energy efficiency
Sigfox radio protocol cuts the radio frame size down and no synchronization with the network is required. Combining a low power emission level and short emission duration (less than one minute per day) allows maximum autonomy to devices.
– High network capacity
The small footprint of UNB enables more simultaneous signals within the operation band, in addition Sigfox protocol cuts down the radio frames size. Those two features combined with the use of cognitive radio technology enables the Sigfox network to reach a very a high capacity. Sigfox payloads are small: an uplink message has up to 12-bytes payload and it takes an average of 2 s over the air to reach the base stations, while the payload allowance in downlink messages is 8 bytes. The regulation of ETSI limits the emission in the public band to 6 messages per hour.
Dimensioni (Expert): 22.5 mm x 38 mm
Dimensioni (Elite): 27 mm x 40 mm
Tx 868.130 MHz
Rx 869.525 MHz
Tx output power programmabile a step da 12.5 13.5 14.5 15.5 dBm
Tensione di alimentazione: 3V +/- 10%
Consumo medio di corrente in trasmissione: 20 mA
Range di temperatura operativo: – 40 + 85°C
The SFX Blebrick can forward data coming from local Blebricks to the Sigfox network at a configurable regular interval.
The SFX Blebrick does not have an embedded LED, but it influences the behaviour of the LED of the BLE-B it is attached to:
– When a Sigfox packet is being forwarded, the BLE-B’s LED blinks/breathes cyan
– When a Sigfox packet is successfully forwarded, the LED blinks green
– When a Sigfox packet forwarding fails, the LED blinks red
The SFX Blebrick can be used to forward data coming from local Blebricks (i.e. Blebricks attached to the same BLE-B the SFX is attached to) at a regular interval or on demand, but not only: by putting the BLE-B in scan mode, the SFX will act as a Sigfox gateway, forwarding occasional alarms coming from surrounding Blebricks to the Sigfox network.
Such feature allows to create a local Bluetooth sensors network with remote connectivity thanks to the Sigfox gateway.
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When the SFX is connected to your BLE-B, it immediately starts forwarding data collected from the attached Blebricks to the Sigfox network every 10 minutes.
You can also forward the GPS location of your Blebricks by tapping over the pin icon, or a short text message by tapping on the message icon, writing the message and pushing “send”.
By tapping over the SFX icon, you will get access to the following two buttons:
The “Get device ID” button will ask the SFX to show its identification data (Device ID and PAC).
The “Activate Gateway” will put the BLE-B in scan mode to enable the SFX to act as a gateway collecting data from surrounding Blebricks and forwarding them to the Sigfox network.
GBT Brick is a multifunctional LP-WAN module that supports both NB-IoT and LTE CAT-M1 (eMTC) over 4G network and GSM/GPRS (SMS) over 2G network. It is also equipped with a GNSS module (GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou/Compass, Galileo, QZSS) for use in outdoor location applications.
Network coverage is extensive and guaranteed almost everywhere in the country and globally by the presence of 4G network infrastructure and, as such, also supports deep indoor signal propagation. It operates on licensed bandwidth with higher bitrates than other LP-WAN technologies, reaching peaks of 66kbps in the uplink and 34 kbps in the downlink, and transmission limits depend only on the contract established with the operator. Rates depend on consumption and vary from about 1 to 3 euros per month.
It is suitable for applications that require localization, bidirectionality, low latency, higher volume of data to be transmitted, transmission speed, high quality of service and security.
Note: you need to connect the supplied antenna to the GBT Blebrick to enable communication and GNSS reception
NB-IoT is a narrowband IoT technology specified in 3GPP Release 13 in June 2016, it is based on a cellular network architecture and uses the existing LTE infrastructure so the reach is equal to commercial LTE network coverage.
The technology achieves a significant improvement in performance compared to those of the GSM/GPRS network, with an increase in the MCL (Maximum Coupling Loss) parameter of about 20 dB and a resulting target value of 164 dB; this allows to support the propagation of the signal from/to indoor and deep indoor meters. NBIoT foresees the use of licensed radio bands (e.g. in Italy 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz).
NB-IoT occupies a frequency bandwidth of 200 KHz, which corresponds to a resource block in GSM and LTE transmission. With this frequency band selection, the following modes of operation are possible:
– Stand-alone operation: one possible scenario is to use the currently used GSM frequency bands.
– Guard band operation: using the unused resource blocks within the guard band of an LTE carrier.
– In-band operation: using the resource blocks within an LTE carrier. NB-IoT is supported as an upgrade to existing LTE infrastructure given that The NB-IoT communication protocol can be seen as a reduced-functionality LTE protocol to accommodate the need to transmit smaller amounts of data and save energy as required by IoT applications.
NBIoT supports bidirectional (half duplex) data transmission, with minimum bit rates of 160 bps per sensor and bit rates on the order of 1 kbps at the cell edge. It uses single-carrier frequency division multiple access (FDMA) on the uplink and orthogonal FDMA (OFDMA) on the downlink, and employs quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK) modulation. Data rates are limited to 200 kbps for the downlink and 20 kbps for the uplink. The maximum payload size per message is 1600 bytes.
Low latency ensures real-time availability of consumer data. NBIoT supports terminal device nomadicity via cell reselection, without handover management.
The network manages a large number of sensors, at least 50,000 per mobile site sector: capacity is scalable by adding more NB-IoT carriers.
Source: 3GPP and GSMA
- Smart metering (i.e. electronic meters)
- asset tracking
- remote monitoring
- mobile pos terminals
- car/bike sharing
- Industry 4.0
- General Features
Tri-Band FDD-LTE B3/B8/B20/B28
GNSS (GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou/Compass, Galileo, QZSS)
- Data transfer specifications
LTE CAT-M1 (eMTC)
Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps
- Mechanical and environmental features
Dimensions (Expert): 63x29x4 mm
Dual u.FC Connector for external NB-IoT and passive/active GNSS antenna
Operating Temperature: -40℃ to +85℃
The LRW Blebrick is LP-WAN communication module which supports LoRa technology in a bidirectional way with a radius of about 15 Km (line of sight) and deep indoor propagation to concentrators (or gateways) that route packets to a Network Server through an IP link. The latter use the LoRaWAN stack to manage and optimize communications with LoRa devices. LoRa technology is in fact characterized by a high configurability and by algorithms that take full advantage of it, such as ADR (Adaptive Data Rate) by setting the payload, the bit rate on each channel and the output power to increase the reliability of the connection in case of critical applications or to allow greater energy savings. In Europe, it currently uses the 868 MHz band without a license and is therefore subject to specific transmission constraints. In addition, in LoRaWAN public community networks, there is a fair channel access regulation that limits uplink transmission to 30 seconds per day and downlink messages to 10 messages per day, and the size of the application payload varies between 51 bytes for the slowest transmission rate and 222 bytes for the fastest. This translates into an average traffic of about 5,000 bytes per day. The network is free (LoRaWAN Alliance) and there are no operators to pay.
It is suitable for applications that require low power consumption, transfer of medium amounts of data, use in rural or “noisy” (EM) environments, location services and if you want to develop a private network is the only option.
Note: you need to connect the supplied antenna to the LRW Blebrick to enable communication
LoRa defines proprietary physical and link layers; A LoRa-based communication protocol called LoRaWAN has been standardized byLoRa-Alliance (first version in 2015).
LoRa is a “Physical Layer” technology that modulates signals in the sub-GHZ ISM band using a proprietary spread spectrum technique. Like Sigfox, LoRa uses unlicensed ISM bands, namely 868 MHz in Europe, 915 MHz in North America, and 433 MHz in Asia. Two-way communication is provided by chirp spread spectrum (CSS) modulation, which spreads a narrowband signal over a wider bandwidth. The resulting signal has low noise levels and high interference resistance. It uses six “spread factors” (SF7 to SF12) to find a compromise between data rate and range. In fact, a higher spread factor allows for a greater range at the expense of a lower data rate, and vice versa. LoRa “data rates” range from 300 bps to 50 kbps depending on the spreading factor and channel bandwidth. In addition, messages transmitted using different “spread factors” can be received simultaneously by LoRa base stations.
The maximum “payload” length for each message is 243 bytes. Using LoRaWAN, each message transmitted by an end device is received by all base stations in the range in order to improve the ratio of successfully received messages. However, this requires multiple base stations in the vicinity complicating the network implementation and the associated cost. The resulting duplicate receptions are filtered in the backend system (network server) which also controls security and manages communications between devices, optimizing them through an adaptive data rate (ADR) system. Multiple receptions of the same message from different stations also allow LoRaWAN to locate devices. For this purpose, the Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) based localization technique supported by a very accurate time synchronization between multiple base stations is used.
LoRa, with an MCL equal to 156 dB, guarantees long range coverage (about 15 km outdoors, in line of sight) with gateways in high outdoor position; deep indoor signal propagation is also allowed.
LoRaWAN provides a “star-of-stars” network topology, with devices connected via singol-hop to concentrators or gateways, which in turn are connected to network servers (NetServer) via IP protocol. Data transmitted from a node is typically received by multiple gateways, each of which operates as a bridge, transparently forwarding traffic from the end device to the associated NetServer on a cloud platform; data forwarding is via a backhaul network (cellular, Ethernet, satellite or WiFi).
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) symmetric encryption is employed. In order to ensure interoperability between LPWANs, the LoRa Alliance has created a certification and compliance program for the LoRaWAN specification; LoRaWAN-certified devices can be deployed across multiple networks and move from one network to another, regardless of network infrastructure or operator.
LoRaWAN provides various classes of end devices to find the tradeoffs of use in a wide range of IoT applications
Class A: Bidirectional Devices. For these devices, each uplink transmission is followed by two short random downlink receive windows. This decreases power consumption in applications that require only short downlink communications following an uplink message.
Class B: Bidirectional devices with scheduled reception. In addition to Class A random receive windows, Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times synchronized through the base station.
Class C: Bidirectional devices with maximum receive slots. These have almost continuously open receive windows, and close only when power consumption increases too much.
- Intelligent lighting.
- Indoor air quality.
- Fire Detection
- Home Security
- Waste Management
- Smart Parking
- Dimensions (Expert): 22.5×22.5 x 4 mm
- u.FL connector for external passive/active antenna
- Low power consumption
- – Transceiver:
- — RX = 12.64 mA (typical)
- –RFO_HF = 41.54 mA (typical)
- –PA_BOOST = 114.68 mA (typical) – –PA_BOOST = 114.68 mA (typical)
- – MCU:
- — Standby and Backup Sleep modes
- RF/Analogue Features
- – Integrated transceiver with LoRa technology:
- – Dual-band coverage from 863 MHz to 928 MHz
- – Maximum power of +18.59 dBm (VCC > 2.4 VDC)
- – High sensitivity: -136 dBm (LoRaWAN® protocol compliant modes)
- – Up to 154.59 dB maximum link budget
- – Robust front end: IIp3 = -11 dBm
- – Excellent noise immunity
- – LoRa technology and (G)FSK modulations
- – Preamble detection
- – Dynamic range of 127 dB RSSI
- – Automatic RF Sense and Channel Activity Detection (CAD) with ultra-fast Automatic Frequency Control (AFC)
- – Packets up to 256 bytes with cyclic redundancy check (CRC)
- Operating temperature: -40℃ to +85℃