Nordic ships its IoT WiFi 6 chip and development kit

Nordic ships its IoT WiFi 6 chip and development kit

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Nordic Semiconductor has started shipping its first low power WiFi 6 companion chip in volume, along with a development kit for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The nRF7002 low power dual band WiFi 6 companion chip is the first in Nordic’s WiFi product family and  started sampling in August last year.

It can be used together with Nordic’s nRF52 and nRF53 Series multiprotocol Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) which use the Matter protocol. This uses Thread and WiFi for data transport, and Bluetooth LE for commissioning. The WiFi chip also works with the nRF9160 cellular IoT (LTE-M/NB-IoT) System-in-Package (SiP) and non-Nordic host devices. The development kit makes it easy for developers to get started on nRF7002-based IoT projects.

Nordic acquired the WiFi design team from Imagination Technologies in 2020.

The nRF7002 supports Target Wake Time (TWT) a key WiFi 6 power saving feature. Interfacing with a host processor is done via Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) or Quad SPI (QSPI). The chip offers a single spatial stream, 20 MHz channel bandwidth, 64 QAM (MCS7), OFDMA, up to 86 Mbit/s PHY throughput and BSS coloring. 

In addition to general IoT applications and Matter, the nRF7002 is suitable for low power SSID-based WiFi location services when used together with Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP and the company’s nRF Cloud Location Services. SSID-based WiFi location supplements GNSS- or cell-based location services by providing accurate positioning indoors and in places with a high density of WiFi access points.

WiFi 6 brings significant benefits to IoT applications—such as smart-home products, industrial sensors, asset trackers, and wearables—including power efficiency gains for battery powered WiFi operation, and management of large IoT networks comprising hundreds of devices.

“The nRF7002 WiFi 6 companion IC is a testament to Nordic Semiconductor’s leadership in low-power wireless technology,” says Svein-Egil Nielsen, CTO/EVP of R&D and Strategy at Nordic.

“This highly integrated and flexible solution will empower developers to create new, innovative WiFi 6-enabled products. Supported with the nRF7002 DK and the award-winning nRF Connect SDK, combined with Nordic’s best in class technical support, I believe it has never been easier to develop great WiFi products.”

“The nRF7002 is designed to work alongside Nordic’s nRF52 and nRF53 Series making it a perfect fit for Matter, a smart-home standard backed by Amazon, Apple, Google, Nordic, Samsung, and hundreds of other companies,” says Finn Boetius, Product Marketing Engineer with Nordic. “The introduction of the IC and the nRF7002 DK now makes it easy for developers to get started on Matter and any other WiFi based applications.”   

The dual-band IC complies with Station (STA), Soft Access Point (AP), and WiFi Direct operation, and meets the IEEE 802.11b, a, g, n, ac and ax WiFi standards. The product also offers excellent coexistence with Bluetooth LE, Thread, and Zigbee.

The development kit includes an nRF7002 IC and features an nRF5340 multiprotocol SoC as a host processor for the nRF7002. The nRF5340 embeds a 128 MHz ARM Cortex-M33 application processor and a 64 MHz high efficiency network processor.

The kit supports the development of low-power WiFi applications and enables WiFi 6 features like OFDMA, Beamforming, and TWT. The DK includes: Arduino connectors; two programmable buttons; a WiFi dual-band antenna and a Bluetooth LE antenna, and current measurement pins.

Design support through Nordic’s unified software development kit, nRF Connect SDK, and the nRF7002 kit and includes examples to speed up development.

The nRF7002 companion IC and nRF7002 kit are available now from Nordic’s distribution partners.

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