Nordic Semi launches its first WiFi chip

Nordic Semi launches its first WiFi chip

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Nordic Semiconductor has launched its entry into the WiFi wireless IoT market with an ultra-low power, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 companion chip.

This follows the acquisition of the WiFi chip design team form Imagination Technologies in 2020 and means the company now offers three of the world’s most popular wireless IoT technologies: Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular IoT and is a key move for the Matter home IoT protocol.

The nRF7002 provides WiFi6 connectivity and WiFi-based location by SSID sniffing of local hubs  when used alongside Nordic’s existing products. These include the nRF52 and nRF53 Series multiprotocol Systems-on-Chip (SoCs), and nRF91 Series cellular IoT Systems-in-Package (SiPs). The nRF7002 can also be used in conjunction with non-Nordic host devices.

WiFi forms an integral part of the smart home Matter protocol championed by Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, and hundreds of other companies in consumer IoT. By adding WiFi to its product range Nordic will now support all three wireless protocols used in Matter with Bluetooth LE for commissioning, Thread for low power mesh networking, and Wi-Fi for high-speed wireless applications.

The nRF7002 supports the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with coexistence with Bluetooth LE and complying with the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax standards. It has one Spatial Stream (rather than using a MIMO multiple antenna approach) with a 20 MHz channel bandwidth and 64 QAM coding for a throughput of 86 Mbit/s.

“We were able to bring our first Wi-Fi IC to market very quickly as a result of acquiring an extremely capable Wi-Fi team alongside a portfolio of Wi-Fi assets that team had already developed,” says Nordic CTO/EVP of R&D and Strategy, Svein-Egil Nielsen. “Nordic has also ensured that developing Nordic-based Wi-Fi 6 applications will be as simple as developing any other Nordic wireless IoT application, including using the same development tools and nRF Connect SDK.”

“The new Wi-Fi team’s relentless hard work to enable Nordic to launch its first Wi-Fi product so soon deserves huge recognition,” said Mike Davis, Nordic’s ‪Wi-Fi Systems & Software Director. “They knew Wi-Fi was the number one missing capability requested by Nordic customers. And they knew Nordic’s customers needed this capability quickly.”

“I am extremely happy that we are finally able to add Wi-Fi to our wireless IoT product portfolio,” adds Kjetil Holstad, Nordic’s EVP Product Management. “Our sales force is eager to engage with customers worldwide. The nRF7002 is a great starting point and we are already well ahead in terms of building a portfolio of unique Wi-Fi products that will combine seamlessly with Nordic’s existing ultra-low power wireless technologies.”

The nRF7002 is supplied in a 6 x 6mm QFN package and is sampling now.

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