Nordic Introduces Bluetooth 5.0 Certified SoC for Multiprotocol Wireless IoT Solutions

The high end variant of Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52 Series of Bluetooth 5-certified SoCs is now available in volume to customers all over the world. The nRF52840 Bluetooth Low Energy SoC, accompanies the mid-range nRF52832 and baseline nRF52810 SoCs in Nordic's nRF52 Series with a wealth of additional features and peripherals. The SoC offers the capabilities and flexibility to support a broad range of networked, connected products for wearables, gaming, VR/AR, and home- and industrial-IoT applications.

The full production volume launch of the nRF52840 SoC is accompanied by the production version of Nordic's S140 SoftDevice (Nordic’s latest RF Bluetooth 5 (Bluetooth LE)-certified protocol software or ‘stack’), and a new version of Nordic’s nRF5 Software Development Kit (SDK), a production-ready development tool with full peripheral driver support for the nRF52840 SoC. Additionally, for developers building Bluetooth mesh applications, the nRF52840 is supported by the production-grade nRF5 SDK for Mesh.

The high-end nRF52840, based on the proven nRF52 Series architecture, is the first single-chip solution to bring all the benefits of Bluetooth 5 to the market. The key advantages of Bluetooth 5 compared with previous implementations of the Bluetooth LE specification include: 2x on-air raw data bandwidth (2Mbps); 4x range; 8x broadcasting ability with advertising extensions that increase the advertising packet payload size to 251 bytes, and an improved channel coexistence algorithm.

In addition, the SoC is the only multiprotocol device on the market to offer concurrent Bluetooth 5 and Thread support. The capability is enabled by the SoC’s Bluetooth LE and Thread ‘Dynamic Multiprotocol’ feature which allows simultaneous support of the S140 SoftDevice and OpenThread RF protocol stack.

Engineers can start developing designs with the nRF52840 SoC and S140 SoftDevice using the latest version of Nordic’s nRF5 SDK. The SDK's v15 is a production-ready development tool with full peripheral driver support for the nRF52840In addition, it now incorporates the capabilities of the earlier nRF5 SDK for IoT including an IPv6 over Bluetooth LE adaptation layer (6LoWPAN) and a complete Internet Protocol (IP) Suite. The newer SDK also includes SEGGER Microcontroller’s ‘Embedded Studio’, a complete all-in-one solution for managing, building, testing, and deploying embedded applications.

The nRF52840 employs a 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor which has ample generic processing power, Floating Point, and DSP performance to meet the demands of even the most challenging wireless applications. It features a new radio architecture with an +8 dBm on-chip PA; 1MB Flash and 256 kB RAM; full support for Bluetooth 5, 802.15.4 (including Thread), ANT, and proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless technologies; a full speed USB 2.0 controller, and a host of peripherals (many with EasyDMA) including a quad-SPI interface. It can also operate from power supplies above 5V, such as re-chargeable battery power sources.

The SoC also incorporates an Arm CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator for best-in-class security for Cortex-M based SoCs. Extensive crypto ciphers and key generation and storage options are also available. The S140 SoftDevice is an extensively-tested Bluetooth 5-certified software stack with full support for all the benefits of Bluetooth 5 in concurrent, multi-role operation.

The production launch of the nRF52840 SoC, S140 SoftDevice, and the nRF5 SDK bring the highest-performance multiprotocol low power wireless production-ready solution in the world to the global market. This single-chip product is the first in the market with full range of support for Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth mesh, and also brings Thread, 802.15.4, ANT, and 2.4 GHz proprietary to the most challenging wireless applications, including advanced wearables, virtual and augmented reality, high-performance HID controllers, smart-home and -industry, and IoT networks.