NXP aims for Bluetooth localisation with MCX W wireless microcontroller

NXP aims for Bluetooth localisation with MCX W wireless microcontroller

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

NXP is adding to its MCX range of microcontrollers with a wireless version with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio and localisation launched at Embedded World in Germany this week. 

The NXP MCX W family launches with two members, based around an ARM Cortex M33 core for application code and a multiprotocol 2.4GHz wireless with its own ARM Cortex M3 core for Matter, Thread, Zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy. Both have the NXP EdgeLock security, CAN-FD connectivity and analog peripherals.

The W72 family with 2 MB of Flash and 256 KB RAM Application Memory is also going to be enabled with Bluetooth channel sounding for location applications, which NXP says will be the first wireless microcontroller to implement the new technology.

“What we are adding is secure multiprotocol capabilities that provide more flexibility for customers with new use cases,” said Sujata Neidig secure connected edge marketing director IoT, strategy for industry connectivity at NXP.

The Bluetooth channel sounding is draft and uses time of flight (ToF) and round trip phase measurements to provide localisation to an accuracy of 0.5m. This uses an integrated location compute engine on W72 to minimises man in the middle attacks for smart locks, says Neidig.

“The lock is the anchor point and it is used to identify the location of the person with the phone or the devices, whether they are inside or out, how close they are,” she said.  

“The way we see the difference is applications like sensors or actuators, light switches then the W71 is a good fit with the Matter protocol,” she said. “For other Matter devices with video streaming we would pair the W71 with another processor such as the i.MX mini. The W72 has more onchip memory for standalone Matter devices such as door locks and smart plugs.”

“With Matter we have seen the adoption being pretty fast compared to other protocols but not without its hiccups,” she said, “Now it’s about interoperability and security and that does drive up the cost but the adoption will drive down the cost. Companies that are building matter devices can add it into a hub to link to Zigbee sensors for example for co-existance and it takes time for companies to figure out how to roll things out.”

The NXP MCX W microcontrollers  are built in a 40nm process with sampling in H2 24 with a connectivity stack available through the MCUXpresso SDK development tool with code fragments.

The W71 and W72 are packaged in a 7 x 7 48-pin HVQFN, 29 GPIO pin compatible package, with the W72 also in a 7 x 7 112-pin BGA with 59 GPIO. The W71 has a smaller 6 x 6 40-pin HVQFN, 22 GPIO package.

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