I need add Bluetooth to my hardware. I never worked with Bluetooth before, so I was wondering which approach I should use. I some did quick research on internet and found some solutions using a Bluetooth IC like CC2540 and CC2541 from TI. I also found solutions using a module such as the RN41 and RN42 from Microchip as well as solutions using a dongle.
I need to add bluetooth functionality to my hardware, however, I want it inside the system with the hardware, and not using USB if possible. That leaves the question between the module or chip.
With the CC2541, I will need to make the antenna on my PCB, but the RN41 comes with an integrated antenna. The price of a RN41 is 4.5 times the CC2541 price. Probably I will need some hundreds of units, so... I'm wondering, besides the antenna, how much more work would I have using the CC541 instead of the RN41?
I read this article on Digikey, and here is a quote that stood out to me:
If your team has sufficient RF expertise and the software skills to integrate the controller’s application code with the code required to support the protocol stack, investing 12 to 18 months of development time will be handsomely repaid by a more efficient design and lower production costs.
I would like to know what is necessary to develop a Bluetooth solution and integrate it to an embedded design? What do I need to add Bluetooth to my hardware, starting with an IC and not using a module?