Wireless SoC stands up to demands of low power IoT

Security is taken seriously at Nordic Semiconductor, which has introduced the nRF5340 SoC, with Arm CryptoCell-312, Arm TrustZone technology and Secure Key Storage for the highest level of security, says the company. The most common internet encryption standards are hardware accelerated with the Arm CryptoCell-312, while Arm TrustZone provides system-wide hardware isolation for trusted software by creating secure and non-secure code execution areas on a single core. The nRF5340’s combined security features enable advanced root-of-trust and secure firmware updates while protecting the SoC from malicious attack, claims Nordic Semiconductor.

The nRF5340 combines a high performance application processor with a fully programmable, low power network processor, advanced root-of-trust and trusted execution security into a low power, multi-protocol SoC. Target applications are industrial automation, wearables, professional lighting and other complex IoT applications

The nRF5340 is the first member of Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF5 series SoCs, building on the company’s nRF51 and nRF52 series multi-protocol SoCs and introducing a new, flexible, dual-processor hardware architecture with advanced security features.

The nRF5340 supports major RF protocols including Bluetooth 5.1, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth mesh, Thread, and Zigbee.

It is designed for the extended operating temperature range, up to 105 degrees C. It meets the demands of next-generation sophisticated wearables with a high performance application processor and 512kbyte of RAM, explains Nordic. The QSPI peripheral is augmented to interface with external memory at 96MHz, and a 32MHz high speed SPI peripheral is integrated to interface with displays and complex sensors.

The nRF5340 is based around dual Arm Cortex-M33 processors, a high performance application processor running up to 128MHz (510 CoreMark) with dedicated 1Mbyte flash and 512kbyte of RAM. A programmable, low power network processor runs at 64MHz (238 CoreMark) with dedicated 256kbyte flash and 64kbyte RAM. The application processor (65 CoreMark/mA) has an 8kbyte, two-way associative cache, is DSP- and floating point-capable and offers voltage and frequency scaling options. The application processor integrates the Arm Cryptocell-312, Arm TrustZone, and Secure Key Storage security features, and a wide range of interface peripherals including NFC, USB, QSPI, and High Speed SPI. The fully programmable network processor (101 CoreMark/mA) is optimised for low power during radio operation and low duty-cycle sensor data collection. Programmable access to the network processor implements proprietary 2.4GHz protocols, for portability from the nRF51 and nRF52 Series.

The nRF5340 incorporates a new, power-optimised multi-protocol 2.4GHz radio with a Tx current of 3.2mA (0dBm Tx power, 3.0V, DC/DC) and Rx current of 2.6mA (3V, DC/DC). Sleep current is down to 1.1 microA. Enhanced dynamic multi-protocol support enables concurrent Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth Mesh/Thread/Zigbee operation for provisioning/commissioning and interaction with a mesh network from a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy. The radio is capable of all Bluetooth 5.1 Direction Finding features.

The nRF5340 operates over a 1.7 to 5.5V supply voltage range, allowing supply from rechargeable batteries and USB. The SoC integrates XTAL load capacitors for both 32MHz and 32.762kHz crystals, lowering the number of external components required compared with Nordic’s nRF52 series.

The nRF Connect software development kit (SDK) integrates the Zephyr RTOS, a Bluetooth Low Energy protocol stack, application examples, and hardware drivers. Now with added support for the nRF5340, the SDK unifies low power cellular IoT and low power, short range wireless development. The nRF Connect SDK is publicly hosted on GitHub, offers source code management with Git and comes with free Segger Embedded Studio IDE support. Nordic has also launched the nRF5340 PDK, an affordable, single board preview development kit for the nRF5340. This makes all of the nRF5340’s features and GPIOs available to the developer and comes with an on-board Segger J-Link debugger for programming and debugging the SoC.

The nRF5340 PDK is available now through Nordic’s distribution network. nRF5340 SoC engineering samples will be available soon in a 7.0 x 7.0mm aQFN package with 48 general purpose I/Os.


About Weartech

This news story is brought to you by weartechdesign.com, the specialist site dedicated to delivering information about what’s new in the wearable electronics industry, with daily news updates, new products and industry news. To stay up-to-date, register to receive our weekly newsletters and keep yourself informed on the latest technology news and new products from around the globe. Simply click this link to register here: weartechdesign.com