Nordic Semiconductor Launches its First Thread + Bluetooth Low Energy Module

Nordic Semiconductor has launched its first Thread Networking Solution. The nRF5 SDK for Thread, has been designed to utilize the IEEE 802.15.4 PHY support introduced on Nordic’s latest nRF52840 multi-protocol Bluetooth low energy System-on-Chip (SoC). In addition, the Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread also adds a unique Device-Firmware-Update (DFU)-over-Thread network feature like the Over-The-Air (OTA) DFU feature employed in other existing Nordic SDKs and chips.

The nRF52840’s has 256 kB of RAM and 1 MB of Flash memory to enable the SoC to run both the Thread and Bluetooth low energy protocol stacks from the same chip. The nRF52840 is also able to run the Thread protocol at accelerated processing speeds by using its built-in ARM CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator - which offers best-in-class security for Cortex-M based Bluetooth low energy SoCs - to run the Thread security algorithms.

Thread was designed to create the best way to connect and control products where people live and work. This includes robust security (smartphone-grade authentication and AES encryption), low power battery-friendly operation, and scalable reliability. This is all built around a developer-friendly IP-based (IPv6 with 6LoWPAN) mesh network. Prime ‘home Internet of Things (IoT)’ target applications for Thread include: home automation, appliances, access control, climate control, safety, lighting, healthcare, and security systems. The non-profit Thread Group states that it is focused on making Thread the foundation for the IoT in the home and beyond by educating product developers, builders, and consumers on the unique features and benefits of Thread, and ensuring a positive experience through rigorous, meaningful product certification.

Along with the unique support for DFU-over-Thread, the Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread includes: a pre-built OpenThread stack for the Nordic nRF52840 SoC; examples of all the different Thread roles; support for an OpenThread network co-processor; a CoAP application layer example; border router and cloud connectivity example; and a range of PC tools including a Thread topology monitor.

The Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread is now available in Alpha release with full production scheduled for Q4 2017, aligning with the full production of the Nordic nRF52840 SoC.