Over The Air: Bluetooth 5, Lime Suite Updates, CBRS, and an SDR Tuning Knob

Bluetooth 5 Engineer (Courtesy Bluetooth SIG)

Over The Air is our fortnightly round-up bringing you the latest on topics of interest to the software defined radio community, as curated by technology journalist Gareth Halfacree.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has formally launched the Bluetooth 5 standard, with the promise that the first products featuring updated radios will hit the market within the next two to six months.

“Bluetooth is revolutionising how people experience the IoT,” claimed Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, of his group’s creation. “Bluetooth 5 continues to drive this revolution by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilising the adoption of beacons, which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience.”

The Internet of Things-focused update brings doubled throughput to 2Mb/s at no additional power draw, quadrupled range, and an eight-fold increase in the broadcast messaging capacity. Full details are available from the Bluetooth SIG website.

Work continues apace on the Lime Suite software, which gives users of the Myriad-RF as well as other Lime Microsystems FPRF transceivers drivers, software defined radio (SDR) application support, and APIs, with a number of improvements committed to its GitHub repository.

The latest revision of the software includes a number of improvements and bug fixes, including improved RSSI calibration reading, updated MCU Tx/Rx DC/IQ calibration, external loopback controls for PCI Express boards, and an updated Windows binary.

The project’s latest source code can be found on the project’s GitHub page, licensed under the permissive Apache Licence Version 2.0. Those using our Ubuntu Personal Package Archives (PPAs) will be able to update to the new versions directly thanks to the tireless efforts of our build maintainers.

The Wireless Innovation Forum has announced public availability of its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) signalling protocol and procedures publications, giving North American developers the ability to begin trialling devices for the CBRS band and the Spectrum Access System (SAS).

“We’re pleased to release standards and solutions that will enable the rapid development of a robust CBRS ecosystem, protect incumbent operations, and benefit all potential stakeholders in the band,” claimed Prakash Moorut, co-chair of the Protocols Specifications Working Group responsible for the publication. “These documents will also lay the foundation for all deployments in the CBRS band and possibly other shared bands in the future.”

The new publications are available alongside the older foundational documents on the Wireless Innovation Forum’s public access website.

Finally, radio ham Mile Kokotov has published a guide to building a frequency control knob for an SDR setup from a low-cost computer mouse and rotary encoder module, with the total project costing under $5.

“Simply replace the mouse scroll wheel with rotary encoder EC16 (with no detents), and you have your perfect SDR frequency controller,” Mile explains in his project documentation. “Put the ‘Mouse-Controller’ cable to the USB socket of your PC and you can control the frequency of your SDR.”

The guide can be seen in its entirety on Mile’s project log and in action on his YouTube channel, and was brought to our attention by our friends at RTL-SDR.

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