All Pages Tagged: ‘Wi-Fi’

CSRmesh™ FAQs

Since CSR launched CSRmesh™ a year ago, I have met with people from the world over who are all interested in learning more about it. As more and more developers look to bring easy to use and attractive IoT and smart home products to market, it means more and more questions about the solution head my way. I thought it would be useful to list the queries I hear most often about CSRmesh and answer them here in this post. If the responses here don’t answer some of the questions you have about CSRmesh, don’t hesitate to post in the comments, refer to the wiki or post in the CSR Support forum – one of the team will get back to you. We’ll also post a version of these FAQs on the CSRmesh development kit product page and keep it regularly updated.



  • Has mesh been standardized by the Bluetooth SIG?

Not yet, but the Bluetooth SIG is working towards standardization. On February 24th 2015, the SIG issued a press release announcing the formation of the Bluetooth® Smart Mesh Working Group, which is dedicated towards building the architecture that will make mesh networking a standard capability on Bluetooth Smart technology. CSR’s own Head of Global Standards, Robin Heydon, is chairing the Working Group and leading the charge. CSR cannot comment on when standardized mesh will land, but according to the SIG release, the Working Group expects to have the specification ready for prototype testing later in 2015, and the SIG will look to officially adopt profiles in 2016.


  • What Bluetooth solutions does CSRmesh run on?

CSRmesh is a protocol that was built with the aim to run on Bluetooth 4.0 and later. Bluetooth Smart is the only prerequisite necessary for CSRmesh to work, and you can run it on our existing generation of Bluetooth 4.0 devices. See our CSR101X product family here –


  • I would have thought Bluetooth Smart isn’t the most appropriate technology for meshing – aren’t there issues with range and power consumption?

CSRmesh by its very nature addresses these two issues. Bluetooth Smart was designed to be the lowest power radio on the market, and mesh networks were conceived to resolve the issue of range. Some have raised the point that there is a need to be wary of the power consumption of routing nodes, which will be listening and receiving most of the time. However, there is no routing in this mesh and therefore no setup time, no concept of router, coordinator or end device, no extra memory or processing overhead. All nodes are a simple low cost Bluetooth Smart SoC.

CSR recently announced CSRmesh Home Automation which will be available in Q2 2015. This will include sensor and actuator models that specifically address power consumption, response time and latency. Sensors will only wake up when they have data to send. The actuators wake up more frequently to be responsive but they can still sleep a long time. CSRmesh is a flood mesh, and in such a mesh there are more nodes around that are capable of repeating messages, therefore there is a higher chance that messages will get through to receiving nodes. The more nodes you have, the more you can turn the scan rate down.

CSRmesh is much more than just range extension. The intelligence in the network is distributed across all its members. Your lightbulb can proxy for heating sensor values so they can remain asleep most of the time. Your nodes can help you find your misplaced car keys by BLE RSSI. Your porch light comes on when you approach your front door at night by proximity – no other sensors are required. As an example Wireless Cables have developed the AirCable solution using CSRmesh. Their CEO, Juergen Kienhoefer, claims that with a very low ad rate and only about 10ms listen time, the battery impact is pretty low. His measurements are 35uAs for an ad package and about 150uAs for the mesh listener. Based on these measurements, an ad rate of 10 seconds would mean your standard battery could run for months or years.


  • How secure is CSRmesh?

I’ve covered the security aspects of CSRmesh in a separate blog post which you can read here.


  • Is it easy to integrate CSRmesh with wall control panels and remote controllers?

Yes – CSR partners like Avi-on are doing just that with their home automation solutions for solutions like wireless light switches.


TV remote controls are turning towards using Bluetooth Smart. Although cheaper, IR remotes are no longer useful for Smart TVs. Bluetooth Smart is a great replacement technology because it doesn’t need line of sight, it handles accelerometer and gyros for mouse pointer and motion for gaming and can even support just waving the remote to issue a direct command or even a CSRmesh command. All of this runs on same low cost SOC which also includes CSRmesh.


  • How does CSRmesh cope with multiple smartphones/remote controls operating simultaneously? Shouldn’t it be the gateway’s responsibility to handle these complex aspects?

There is no problem with supporting multiple controllers in CSRmesh. The TV remote, light switches and multiple smartphones all have unique addresses on the mesh. CSR even has ways to share the controlling device database to other controllers in a multi controller mesh without a gateway, although this can probably be best done in the cloud. Routing and IPv6 stack running on Bluetooth Smart is an unnecessary and heavy burden, which is why this isn’t enabled in CSRmesh. The whole idea being that the mesh works locally without the need for a gateway or internet connection (which has security benefits too), with no single point of failure if the Internet goes down. When you do need to control, configure and monitor remotely, then for the IP terminates at the gateway and CSRmesh takes over with its own lightweight addressing scheme more suited to Bluetooth Smart devices. Being a broadcast mesh (with flood control and acknowledgements) there is no routing to be done either, no setup time latency and no tables to maintain.


  • Is it possible to implement voice communications over mesh?

Bluetooth Smart can support voice commands. The SoCs that make up the CSR101X product family use hardware to process the lower levels of the Bluetooth radio stack. This means that the radio can switch on and off quicker than if it was done via software. There is also more link budget available (on average – 64kb/s) for accurate voice interpretation.  Bluetooth Smart is not designed to support voice communications and audio streaming – the bandwidth is just not high enough. However it is high enough to support short voice commands. See our CSR µEnergy® Remote Control Development kit for more information.


  • Is CSRmesh hampered by a lot of interference on the 2.4Ghz frequency?

CSRmesh is designed to coexist with Wi-Fi. It only takes a millisecond to send information on the mesh and this is sent on three separate channels (Channels 37, 38 and 39) which are out of range of the most common Wi-Fi router channels. We use all three channels so if one is blocked, there is a good chance the other two will get through. This step is repeated three times, so in effect each message is relayed nine times. This means there is very little chance that a concurrent Wi-Fi network will interfere with the workings of CSRmesh. This is unlike Zigbee and RF4CE networks which have a track record of being trodden on by Wi-Fi interference. The coexistence of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi has been proven by the long history of Bluetooth/Wi-Fi combo chips in smartphones.


  • How simple is it to set up a CSRmesh network?

It is incredibly simple. The key point here is that CSRmesh does not need a hub or access point to keep running. All you need to start is one CSRmesh Bluetooth Smart light bulb or switch or smart plug and a smartphone. Download the associated app and away you go – you can start talking to the devices immediately. Then simply add as many more as you wish and you can use the app to group them together as you wish – you will automatically be creating a mesh network for them to relay messages through. Talk to them individually, as a group or all together. There are no expensive hubs to buy or configure and no complex setup. The only time you need a hub is if you want to monitor or control your home when you are away from it, so with CSRmesh Home Automation in Q2 2015 we will be providing low cost Bluetooth Smart to Wi-Fi, IP bridge and gateway solutions for that purpose.


  • Is the power consumption low enough for batteries to be practical?

If a device is acting as an active mesh member, then it needs to spend some of its time listening for messages to relay. A device such as a light switch can be a passive mesh member, i.e. it only ever sends a command (when someone presses it) into the mesh and never listens for messages. In this case it is an originator device, not a recipient or a relay device and can live happily off a coin cell battery for several years, but it cannot relay messages for other nodes. For power connected lights, battery life would pose no problem.

In the Home Automation release of CSRmesh developers will have the added capability to tune the scan rate of the node so that it is partially sleepy and can therefore benefit from extended battery life. This feature takes advantage of the flood mesh nature of CSRmesh. By how much you can reduce the scan rate wholly depends upon a couple of things: (i) how many nodes you have around you to relay the message and (ii) how hard (long) the originator tries to send the message. We will issue some guidelines and applications support around this at the time of release.


  • What is the maximum network size CSRmesh can support?

The maximum theoretical size that CSRmesh can support is determined by the 16-bit device ID and 16-bit group ID. Therefore up to 64,000 devices can be supported and 64,000 groups per network key.



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CSR SiRFusion™ webinar will reveal how to solve the indoor location challenge

Indoor location is a hot topic, carrying the promise of ubiquitous location and user context. Set to take social networking, analytics, content targeting and enterprise efficiency applications to a new level, the technology hails from a high pedestal.

SiRFusion™ from CSR is a new, innovative and technically disruptive solution, combining multiple sources of information including real-time Wi-Fi® signals, satellite positioning information and pedestrian dead reckoning to create high quality and accurate indoor positioning. It’s significant because it’s able to utilise these technologies and give incredibly accurate positioning performance without the need for expensive new infrastructure or site surveys.

In collaboration with GPS World magazine, myself and other experts from CSR’s SiRFusion team will be hosting a webinar on Thursday December 4th. If you are developer looking to integrate indoor positioning into an app or you would like to learn how this innovative technology can create new revenue streams for you through accurate understanding of your customers’ location indoors, please register and attend by following this link.

Register Now: Join us on December 4th at 10.00am PST / 1.00pm EST / 6.00pm GMT

In the meantime if you’re interested in finding out more about SiRFusion visit

And if you’re unable to join the webinar please get in touch with with any questions.

Webinar topics will include:

  • Commercial applications for indoor location
  • SiRFusion – solving the indoor challenge via fusion of multiple technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® Smart, GNSS & MEMS
  • Challenges and solutions for Pedestrian Dead Reckoning & Bluetooth Smart beaconing
  • SiRFusion performance results in real world situations



  • Dave Huntingford, Director of Product Management for Location, CSR
  • Dimitri Rubin, Sr. Director of Emerging Technologies, CSR
  • Nicolas Graube, Fellow, Advanced Algorithms, CSR



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Secure smart lighting: CSRmesh™ leading the way for secure home automation

Many readers may have come across this story regarding a brand of connected LED light bulbs which can be hacked to change the lighting, and worse, to reveal the homeowner’s Wi-Fi® Internet password. It’s a serious issue, and it has illuminated (pardon the pun) that security needs to be considered in depth when Internet of Things (IoT) devices are being developed.

On this note, I thought it would be worth allaying any fears that CSRmesh™, our game-changing protocol which allows for Bluetooth® Smart mesh networks, could be subject to similar breaches. We have considered security at every stage of the design and as such, it primarily prevents against eavesdroppers, man-in-the-middle attacks and replay attacks, and is considered highly robust.

To illustrate this, let’s consider how you add a new device into a CSRmesh network. The network is secured using an encrypted network key. This is derived from a password or phrase that the user is asked to input when they first download the app onto their smartphone. To make the process of adding devices into the CSRmesh network easier, it is possible to publish a ShortText code, barcode, or QR code with the device. This code may contain the device address (128-bit UUID), the 64-bit authentication code, and other short information that may be relevant. This is particularly useful for deployment of larger networks.

During device association, the smartphone app will exchange keys with the advertising device and an encrypted network key will be provided to the device upon completion of the association process

During device association, the smartphone app will exchange keys with the advertising device and an encrypted network key will be provided to the device upon completion of the association process


The next phase is about trusting the new device. Once each device has its peer’s public key, then they can start to generate a secret authorisation value using a complex algorithmic process. To test this authorisation value, both the configuring and new devices share a public key and then challenge the peer device’s knowledge of this authorisation value such that they can be assured that not only has the public key been distributed correctly, but that the peer device knows the authorisation value.

Once they have authenticated each other, only then will they distribute the network key, using AES-128 encryption. This mea

ns that nobody else can eavesdrop on this communication to determine the network key. All future messages sent over the network will be encrypted using the network key and only trusted members of the mesh network will know that key and be able to decrypt these messages. Messages containing a different structure or network key, such as those from neighbouring networks, cannot be decoded and are simply ignored and dropped. It is therefore not possible to control or listen-in to a neighbouring network, nor to derive the network key from it.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

An optional authentication procedure can be employed using the private key to verify the validity of new devices before adding them to the network. A QR code or similar, containing this authentication code or private key, can be used for out-of-band authentication of devices appearing on the network and requesting access or association to the network. The smartphone, or associating device can scan the QR code from the device’s original packaging and thus securely obtain the authentication code “out-of-band”. When this device later appears on the network requesting association to the network and therefore requesting the network key, it can be challenged to also provide this out-of-band information or private key. This is then compared with what the associating device already gleaned from the QR code. If the two match, then the device is authenticated and the network key is encrypted and securely passed to the device being associated.

This authentication process therefore prevents an unknown device from accidentally or intentionally gaining access  to the network, a process known as a “man-in-the-middle” attack.

The relaying of messages through the mesh network is also securely managed. To accomplish this, each device that relays messages must also know the encrypted network key. Only messages that can be authenticated against a known network key are relayed. This allows devices that are near other mesh networks, for example a device near to a neighbour’s property, to only relay messages for known networks and not for any foreign network messages.

csrmeshloopReplay Attacks

There is always the potential for someone to steal the network key from a trusted network device, either by recording the encrypted information it is sending over the airwaves and playing it back at a later time, or by physically removing a device and reading its non-volatile memory. For this reason we prevent against ‘replay attacks’, someone trying to mimic a good network device message at a later time to try to gain access. A sequence number identifier is incremented and transmitted with each mesh message. If messages are replayed out of sequence then they are simply dropped and ignored. The network key data is not stored in a logical location in non-volatile memory, but is distributed across the memory hash table, making it very difficult to locate and identify. We would also recommend that any external trusted network devices use a separate network key that does not, for example, provide access to buildings or other secure areas.

The current release of CSRmesh for lighting supports only one network key per device, but a future version will support multiple network keys. This facilitates a ‘class of service’ structure for sub-networks within a building e.g. hotels which may require the enabling of different security zones.


Within the CSRmesh protocol there are also other security and control features such as:

  • Time-to-Live (TTL) counter: which determines how many hops or relays a message is allowed to make within the mesh network. The TTL is decremented every time a message is relayed. When it reaches zero, the message can no longer be relayed. This limits the size of a network and sets a boundary
  • TID message identifier: each message carries a unique TID. Devices receiving a new message compare its TID with the last few previously heard messages’ TIDs. If they are the same, that message is dropped,  meaning that messages that have already been heard before are not repeated again. This limits the proliferation of messages and prevents echoes and infinite loops in the network
  • A Seq sequence number: this maintains the location of messages within network and time. If messages appear out of sequence they are ignored, preventing record and replay attacks upon the network


As you can see, security is not something that is simple. Nor is it something that should be an afterthought in terms of design. It must be integral to the design of both the architecture and implementation of a networking solution. CSRmesh has been designed from the ground up to be as difficult as possible to be compromised, but it still includes the flexibility to increase the level of security over time as security algorithms improve.

Read more about the new CSRmesh protocol here. For a full list of features and information about ordering a CSRmesh Development Kit, click here.

If you have any security-related questions please post them below or on our support forum and we’ll get back to you.


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CSR at CES 2014 – Joep van Beurden on Wireless Audio Trends

CES has always provided a great snapshot of the hot new trends for the year ahead and this year was no different. In this video CSR’s Chief Executive Officer Joep van Beurden reveals what’s next for the world of audio streaming and how the reality of wirelessly connecting the entire home maybe a little closer than you might think.

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CSR gears up for “connected car” showcase

CSR’s Automotive Infotainment team is gearing up to showcase its ground-breaking new connectivity products at the Telematics Detroit 2013 Conference & Exhibition over two days in June, the 5th and 6th. Held in Novi, Michigan in the heartland of the US automotive industry, this major industry event brings together the global telematics ecosystem to master the “connected car” user experience and build brand affinity. Here are some of the event highlights: over 100 expert speakers (from the likes of GM, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz) will deliver their visions for the connected car and the evolving automotive apps ecosystem that is set to revolutionise consumer interaction with the vehicle; a quintet of conference tracks including sessions on connectivity business models, end-to-end telematics platforms, V2X technologies, big data, and open app development.

CSR exhibits on booth 65.

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Tapping the potential of unlicensed spectrum

Wi-Fi industry leaders, journalists, investors, and regulators assembled on the Stanford campus Wednesday, July 11, to discuss and debate the future of unlicensed wireless technology in a program called “The Power and Potential of the Unlicensed Economy.”

The most significant technologies that use unlicensed spectrum are Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®; over 3 billion devices using these technologies are expected to be produced by 2015, and in a presentation by the University of Southampton, over 100 billion unlicensed devices are projected to be in use by 2020. In addition, many of these devices, such as smartphones (using Wi-Fi for data off-load), tablets, ultrabooks, laptops, and televisions will be used be used to watch videos online, creating a massive demand for bandwidth and backhaul to access points.

When added to the billions of “smart devices” that will be equipped with wireless technology such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the wireless industry and spectrum regulators face a daunting challenge – such staggering numbers of devices using the unlicensed bands and their need for spatial data capacity will increase congestion many times over what users experience today.

To meet these challenges, several panelists at the conference discussed an emerging concept in spectrum policy: dynamic spectrum access using “white spaces” – spectrum that is unused or underused in some locations.  Inherent in this exciting new way to manage spectrum more efficiently is knowledge of a user’s location, so that a regulatory database can determine if there will be interference.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States was the first regulatory authority in the world to announce regulations for use of white spaces in the upper UHF bands from 470-690MHz, which will be shared with TV broadcasters and wireless microphones.  The United Kingdom is expected to announce its own regulations in these bands later this year.  In future years, regulators are looking to use these location databases in other bands to free up spectrum for unlicensed or “lightly licensed” use.

Dr. Jim Lansford, a Fellow in CSR’s Global Standards group, gave a presentation on “Automotive Applications for Unlicensed Spectrum” where he described the uses of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in automotive applications, and the dramatic growth projected for these technologies in cars.  According to Strategy Analytics, by 2015 Bluetooth will be in 72% of cars, and Wi-Fi will be in 30%, enabling many exciting new usage models.  As regulators authorize use of new spectrum under these dynamic access rules, automobiles will be required to know their location within 100 meters in order to be able to determine what bands of spectrum are available, making use of GPS and related location technologies even more necessary in the automotive market.  As a leader in location technology, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi for automotive markets, CSR will continue to bring innovative platform solutions to our customers in these emerging areas of wireless technology.

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CSR at Telematics, Detroit

Telematics Detroit is one of the top automotive industry events. The conference attracts leading vehicle manufactures and tier one suppliers and enables them to discuss their visions for telematics technologies that will give consumers a better driving experience and which are more enjoyable, safer, and at lower personal and environmental cost.

As a recognised leader in location and connectivity technology, CSR is always keen to have a presence at such an important event. For the 2012 conference, we prepared a number of innovative solutions to wow our visitors at our booth. Demos of these were filmed at the event by our team and can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

To express our vision of a more enjoyable in-car experience, we prepared a ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth® Speaker and a Motorola RAZR android smartphone to demonstrate the superb audio streaming quality of aptX®. Both commercially available products are equipped with aptX® CODEC technology and deliver CD-quality sound over a Bluetooth connection. The sound coming out of the speaker was well defined and the bass was unmistakable. We were certainly noticed by Telematics visitors! With more and more consumers carrying their favourite music in their phone, those who experienced the sound quality expressed how much they were looking forward to having the technology also available in their car stereo. View the demo

aptX® capability is not limited to just delivering CD-quality audio via Bluetooth. Another market defining feature of aptX® is its low latency. We set up two BlueCore5-Multimedia boards to stream audio from a PC playing a video clip via A2DP over to a headset demonstrating the differences between aptX® and standard CODEC in the “lip-sync” audio visual quality. The difference is readily noticeable by those tried it out and aptX® was very well perceived. View the demo

On the safety side, we prepared a Bluetooth low energy (BTle) multifunction steering wheel. The advantages of using BTle to replace the wired control mechanism are cost and weight reduction. It is estimated that each single wire costs car manufacturer one US dollar to install. For this particular steering wheel, five wires were replaced with CSR1001™ development board which sent commands (e.g. audio volume up/down, answering phone, skip track etc.) to our SiRFprimaII™ SOC platform. This demonstration created a lot of buzz and visitors at our booth were very excited by by this first-of-its-kind demonstration. View the demo

We also demonstrated RealVNC connectivity software running on our SiRFprimaII™ SOC platform. The software projected the full user interface of a smart phone onto SiRFprimaII™. The idea is that consumers will be able to use the projection on SiRFprimaII™ to directly control the phone: to start a navigation application, for example. In effect, consumers can bring their favourite/latest/greatest application into their in-vehicle infotainment system. The true uniqueness about our demonstration is the wireless connection (via Wi-Fi®) instead of the wired connection between the phone and SiRFprimaII™. This was a really impressive demonstration. View the demo

CSR’s introduction of the automotive grade CSRG35ea – SiRFstarVTM Automotive, the first announced product based on the SiRFstarV ™ architecture, was also well received. With this new market leading automotive grade GNSS platform CSR is positioned to address global, as well as regional preferences and requirements such as Glonass for Russia, Galileo for Europe, and Compass for China. Furthermore, the additional satellites accessible by SiRFstarV™ improve position accuracy and availability and will enable CSR customers to develop best-in-class next generation products for the Infotainment and Telematics markets.

CSR had a great show that attracted new interest in our technologies and strengthened our existing customer relationships. I’d like to thank everyone who attended from CSR for helping to wow our audience. And a special thanks to those who made those demonstrations possible.


Jimmy Pai
Technical Marketing Manager

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We are CSR!

This is an important day for CSR! I’m writing this in a few quiet minutes after the shareholder votes which confirmed the merger of Zoran with CSR. This process began months ago and I want to reflect on why this transaction is happening and why I feel this is an exciting moment for all of us.


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I’m now a member of the Mile-High Club

As this is my first blog for CSR, I thought I would share finally achieving one of my ambitions.  Recently, during a business trip to the US I finally joined the mile high club.

As I got on the Southwest Airlines plane I could feel my heart pounding in anticipation.  Once the plane was in the air at 36,000 feet I started discussing the financial transaction with the cabin crew.  I paid my $5, got my dongle out, connected it to my laptop – and I was able to use Wi-Fi inside the plane – and connect to the internet.


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