SoC from Nordic is “Bluetooth-5-ready”

SoC from Nordic is “Bluetooth-5-ready”

New Products |
By Graham Prophet

Nordic (Oslo, Norway) anticipates applications in smart home, IoT, and wearables. Capabilities include support for new long range and high throughput features of the soon-to-be-released 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. Together this – Nordic asserts – “redefines the performance envelope of single-chip Bluetooth low energy applications”.


The Bluetooth wireless technology Core Specification, Bluetooth 5, will shortly be officially adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Bluetooth 5 introduces longer range and throughput improvements. Compliance with the specification, coupled with increased maximum output power, enables the nRF52840 SoC to deliver Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity with up to 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2 Mbps) compared with the Bluetooth low energy implementation of Bluetooth 4.2.


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. The nRF52840 SoC’s support for 802.15.4 extends the product’s capability as an interoperable foundation technology for IoT, smart home, or industrial sensor wireless networks using several different wireless technologies.


Intended to support applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution, nRF52840 SoC employs the 64 MHz, 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F processor employed on Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC, with generic processing power, Floating Point, and DSP performance,for demanding wireless applications.


The nRF52840 SoC’s hardware enhancements compared with Nordic’s existing nRF52832 SoC include a new radio architecture with on-chip PA boosting output power, and extending the link budget for ‘whole house’ applications; a doubling of Flash memory to 1 MB and a quadrupling of RAM memory to 256 kB; support for Bluetooth 5, 802.15.4, ANT, and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technologies; a full speed USB 2.0 controller; and new peripherals (many with EasyDMA) including a quad-SPI interface. The nRF52840 can also operate from power supplies above 5V, such as re-chargeable battery power sources.


To address the inherent security challenges that are faced in IoT, the nRF52840 SoC incorporates the ARM CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator ading security for Cortex-M based SoCs. Extensive crypto ciphers and key generation and storage options are also available.


The introduction of the nRF52840 SoC will be accompanied by the release of the S140 SoftDevice, Nordic’s latest addition to its family of RF protocol software ‘stacks’. The S140 SoftDevice is a Bluetooth 5 compliant software stack with support for the long range and high data throughput features of Bluetooth 5.


“The nRF52840 SoC builds on the success of the nRF52 Series but will enable wireless product developers to embark on even more ambitious single-chip smart home, wearables, and IoT applications,” says Thomas Bonnerud, Director, Product Management at Nordic Semiconductor. “The scope of these application areas is developing quickly; wearables are moving towards payment and identification devices. The new Bluetooth 5 long range feature makes Bluetooth a genuine contender for smart home device communication and the nRF52840 is designed to meet and exceed developer expectations. Security cannot be an afterthought in today’s connected products, the consequences can prove disastrous.”


Nordic will release its S140 SoftDevice and associated nRF5 SDK with support for Bluetooth 5 longer range and high throughput modes upon ratification of the Bluetooth 5 standard in early December 2016.


Nordic Semiconductor;




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