Low Power Cellular IoT Module with Integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT Modem and GPS

Nordic Semiconductor has announced the availability of the first nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) member of its nRF91 Series of cellular IoT modules via its global distribution network. This includes Digi-Key Electronics, Mouser Electronics, and Premier Farnell (amongst others).

The nRF9160 has also received GCF certification - the trusted mobile communications industry ‘quality mark’ for compliance to the 3GPP LTE specification and global cellular network interoperability - along with separately required FCC and CE regulatory certifications. This means the nRF9160 SiP is approved for deployment in cellular networks and cellular IoT product applications around the world.

The general availability of the nRF9160 SiP will make cellular IoT wireless technology accessible to any application due to the unique ease with which the module can be designed-in. Prime examples include asset monitoring and tracking, utility metering, industrial (machinery) connectivity and predictive maintenance, smart city and infrastructure, agrotech (smart agriculture), and medical.

Measuring just 10 x 16 x 1 mm in size, the nRF9160 SiP is suitable for even compact wearable consumer and medical devices, yet is a complete solution that integrates everything a cellular connection and IoT application may need beyond requiring just an external battery, SIM, and antenna.

To achieve this ultra-high integration Nordic partnered with Qorvo to make a System-in-Package that more closely resembles an integrated chip than a module. The nRF9160 SiP leverages Qorvo’s state-of-the-art, proven RF front-end, advanced packaging, and MicroShield™ technology to deliver a unique, ultra-compact solution that combines high performance with low power consumption. The nRF9160 SiP supports global operation with a single SiP variant thanks to the combination of Nordic’s multimode LTE-M / NB-IoT modem, SAW-less transceiver, and a custom RF front-end solution from Qorvo.  

The nRF9160 SiP is also the first cellular IoT module to incorporate Arm’s latest Arm Cortex M-33 CPU core. It has 1MB of Flash plus 256 kB of RAM on-board memory with a broad range peripheral set, analog and digital interfaces, 32 GPIOs, a stand-alone modem with full LTE capability, plus a multiband RF front-end. The nRF9160 SiP is also the first module to incorporate Arm’s state-of-the-art Arm TrustZone and Arm CryptoCell security for Internet-level encryption and application protection. Both these technologies are designed for highly energy-efficient embedded IoT products that require the highest levels of performance in processing, power consumption, and security.

Another unique feature of the nRF9160 SiP in the cellular IoT module market is integrated GPS support to allow a combination of GPS and cellular data to be used for more accurate positioning than either technology is capable of when used in isolation.

The nRF9160 SiP is supported by a development kit, SiP module samples, LTE-M firmware, and an SDK with application example for cloud connectivity. This includes Nordic’s ‘nRF Connect for Cloud’ cloud-based device management tool and ‘nRF Connect for Desktop’ PC-based tool, plus support for Segger Embedded Studio. These are all designed to help give customers a flying start with sensor-to-cloud IoT applications.

NB-IoT and GPS functionality is in limited sampling and will be made available for evaluation through firmware updates during Q1 2019. Click here to learn more abou the nRF9160 SiP module.