SoC advances multi-protocol wireless IoT

The nRF52840 Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) SoC is the latest Bluetooth 5-certified SoCs from Nordic Semiconductor. It is now available in production volume.

The nRF52840 accompanies the mid-range nRF52832 and entry level nRF52810 SoCs in the nRF52 Series. It offers support for a range of networked, connected products for wearables, gaming, VR/AR, and home- and industrial-IoT applications.

Nordic Semiconductor also provides the production version of its S140 SoftDevice (Nordic’s latest RF Bluetooth 5 (Bluetooth LE)-certified protocol software stack), and a new version of Nordic’s nRF5 software development kit (SDK). This is a production-ready development tool with full peripheral driver support for the nRF52840 SoC. For developers building Bluetooth mesh applications, the nRF52840 is supported by the production-grade nRF5 SDK for Mesh.

The nRF52840 SoC is based on Nordic’s nRF52 series architecture and is the first single-chip to bring all the benefits of Bluetooth 5 to the market, claims the company. These include two times the on-air raw data bandwidth (2Mbit per second) of Bluetooth LE, four times the range, eight times the broadcasting ability with advertising extensions that increase the advertising packet payload size to 251bytes, and an improved channel co-existence algorithm.

 The SoC features a new radio architecture with an +8dBm on-chip power amplifier, 1Mbyte flash and 256kbyte RAM, full support for Bluetooth 5, 802.15.4 (including Thread), ANT, and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technologies, a full speed USB 2.0 controller, and peripherals (many with EasyDMA) including a quad-SPI. The nRF52840 can also operate from power supplies above 5V, such as re-chargeable battery power sources.

The SoC also incorporates an Arm CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator, with crypto ciphers and key generation and storage options also available.

The nRF52840 SoC is the only multi-protocol device available to offer concurrent Bluetooth 5 and Thread support, says Nordic Semiconductor. The capability is enabled by the SoC’s Bluetooth LE and Thread Dynamic Multi-protocol feature which allows simultaneous support of the S140 SoftDevice and OpenThread RF protocol stack. 

Engineers can develop designs with the nRF52840 SoC and S140 SoftDevice using the nRF5 SDK. The production-ready development tool now incorporates the capabilities of the earlier nRF5 SDK for IoT, including an IPv6 over Bluetooth LE adaptation layer (6LoWPAN) and a complete internet protocol (IP) suite. The nRF5 SDK also includes Segger Microcontroller’s Embedded Studio, for managing, building, testing, and deploying embedded applications.

The nRF52840 SoC employs a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor which has floating point, and DSP performance to meet the demands of even the most challenging wireless applications, says Nordic.

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