Nordic to Demonstrate New nRF9160 SiP and nRF52 Series Bluetooth 5 SoCs at CES 2019

Nordic Semiconductor will be demonstrating its newly launched LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular IoT solution, the nRF9160 System in Package (SiP), at the upcoming CES 2019 event. They will also showcase the nRF52840 multiprotocol System-on-Chip’ (SoC), together with the nRF52 SoCs.

The recent launch of the nRF9160 SiP makes cellular IoT wireless technology accessible to any application because of the unique ease with which the product can be designed-in. At just 10 x 16 x 1mm, the SiP is a complete solution that integrates everything a cellular connection and IoT application needs (except battery, SIM, and antenna). The product has received GCF certification along with separately required FCC and CE regulatory certifications. It has also been recognized as an Awards Honoree in the “Embedded Products” category of the CES 2019 Innovation Awards.

Nordic partnered with Qorvo to make a SiP that more closely resembles an integrated chip than a conventional 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. It 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 the custom RF front-end solution from Qorvo.

The nRF9160 provides LTE-M and NB-IoT support in the 700 MHz to 2.2 GHz spectrum allocation and incorporates ARM’s latest ARM Cortex M-33 CPU core, ARM TrustZone, and ARM CryptoCell security for Internet-level encryption and application protection. It features 1MB Flash plus 256 kB RAM and 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. In addition, the SiP uniquely features built-in support for positioning via an integrated Assisted GPS (A-GPS).

The nRF9160 SiP demonstration will illustrate the ease with which the cellular IoT product can be designed-in to asset-tracking applications. The demonstration will be based on an nRF9160 Development Kit (DK) and will link, using LTE-M wireless connectivity, to Nordic’s ‘nRF Connect for Cloud’, the company’s versatile IoT connectivity enabler. The asset-tracking example source code is included as part of the ‘nRF Connect SDK’—the Software DK used with the nRF9160 SiP—and forms the starting point for a customer application.

A second demonstration will also use the nRF9160 DK with LTE-M and nRF Connect for Cloud but this time will show how the DK’s built-in nRF52840 SoC can be used to extend a cellular IoT link to a Bluetooth LE device (a Nordic ‘Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit’) as the foundation of a real application. This demonstration shows how, for example, moisture sensors on a farm could connect via Bluetooth 5 (or Thread or Zigbee) to a gateway equipped with an nRF52840 SoC with the data then relayed via a cellular IoT device to the Cloud for analysis.

Nordic will also present a new version of the ‘SEGGER Embedded Studio’ Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with features that make it even easier to develop applications with the nRF Connect SDK. Other demonstrations include the nRF52840 SoC running applications based on multiple low power RF protocols. For example, the nRF52840 SoC will be used to control Philips Hue smart lights, a smart door lock and other smart lights using Zigbee 3.0. The SoC will also demonstrate its concurrent protocol support by controlling smart-home products with Zigbee at the same time as communicating with a Thingy:52 using Bluetooth LE.

The nRF52840 SoC is Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE)/Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified product. The SoC 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 radio architecture with an +8 dBm on-chip PA; 1MB Flash and 256 kB RAM; a full speed USB 2.0 controller, and a host of peripherals. The SoC also incorporates an ARM CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator for best-in-class security.

Nordic will also demonstrate the range and throughput advantages of Bluetooth 5, and advanced mesh network solutions based on Bluetooth mesh and Thread (running over the IEEE 802.15.4 low power wireless network standard). In addition to Zigbee, the nRF52840 SoC concurrently supports Bluetooth LE and Thread. Such support ensures smartphone interoperability (for app-based home automation equipment control without the need for a dedicated gateway).

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