SoC is Bluetooth 5-ready to double bandwidth and increase range

Bluetooth 5 is due to be officially adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). It introduces up to four times the range or twice the raw data bandwidth of Bluetooth 4.2 to increase opportunities for smart home, wearables, and IoT applications.

The nRF52840 SoC from Nordic Semiconductor is Bluetooth-ready and also has enhanced security with the on-chip ARM CryptoCell cryptographic accelerator.

 Capabilities include support for new long range and high throughput features of the Bluetooth 5 specification, plus radio support for IEEE 802.15.4, more extensive Flash and RAM memory availability, and a new radio hardware architecture with increased output power and link budget

In addition to Bluetooth 5 support, the nRF52840 SoC includes IEEE 802.15.4 capability. 802.15.4 wireless technology forms the basis of smart home technologies such as ZigBee and Thread (with additional upper layers not defined by the standard). IEEE 802.15.4 can also be employed as a Network Adaptation Layer with 6LoWPAN and standard Internet Protocols. Support for 802.15.4 significantly extends the product’s capability as an interoperable foundation technology for IoT, smart home, or industrial sensor wireless networks using several different wireless technologies, says the company. There is also support for ANT, and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technologies.

The nRF52840 SoC also employs the proven 64MHz, 32bit ARM Cortex M4F processor employed on the company’s nRF52832 SoC, with a CPU with generic processing power, floating point, and DSP.

 The nRF52840 SoC’s hardware enhancements include a new radio architecture with on-chip PA to boost output power and extend the link budget for ‘whole house’ applications. There is also double the flash memory (to 1Mbyte) and four times the RAM (to 256kbyte). Other features are a full speed USB 2.0 controller and new peripherals (many with EasyDMA) including a quad-SPI. The nRF52840 can operate from power supplies above 5V, such as re-chargeable battery power sources.

 To address the security challenges of the IoT, the nRF52840 incorporates the ARM CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator, which offers security for Cortex-M based SoCs. Crypto ciphers and key generation and storage options are also available.

 The company will also release the S140 SoftDevice, Bluetooth 5-compliant additions to its family of RF protocol software stacks.

 The S140 SoftDevice and associated nRF5 SDK will be released upon ratification of the Bluetooth 5 standard in early December.

 Engineering samples and development kits are available to order now. Production variants of the nRF52840 will be available Q4 2017.

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