UWB/Bluetooth Low Energy module supports out-of-the-box advanced real time location applications potentially employing thousands of tags

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

DecaWave UWB technology combines with Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE solution to support prototyping, testing, and implementation of accurate, reliable Real Time Location Systems without the need for extensive RF expertise

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that DecaWave, a Dublin, Ireland-based fabless semiconductor company, has selected Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its DWM1001 module. The module forms the foundation of scalable Two-Way-Ranging (TWR) Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) potentially comprising thousands of tags.

The DWM1001 module combines DecaWave’s DW1000 Ultra Wide Band (UWB) transceiver, the nRF52832 SoC, a three-axis accelerometer, a UWB Channel 5 printed PCB antenna (6.5 GHz), and a Bluetooth LE chip antenna. The module is accompanied by DecaWave’s DWM1001-Dev development board and MDEK1001 evaluation kit which enables users with limited RF design experience to program and evaluate the DWM1001 module. Development is further simplified because Nordic’s unique software architecture cleanly separates the RF software protocol stack from the developer’s application code eliminating the possibliity of code development and compilation corrupting the stack, and accelerating time-to-market.

The DWM1001 module is based on DecaWave’s DW1000 single-chip, IEEE802.15.4-2011 UWB-compliant transceiver. The technology is immune to multipath fading which is key to guaranteeing high reliability—within 2cm precision—in indoor environments. The 6.8Mbps data rate capability reduces the air time, enabling the real-time location of thousands of tags, as well as low power consumption for battery-operated devices.

In the module, the nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets allowing end customers to configure, control, and monitor RTLS applications. The nRF52832 SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor not only runs Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice (a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack) but also the module’s RTLS firmware and supervisory functions. The SoC’s 512 kB Flash memory application and powerful microprocessor support customer location- and sensor-fusion algorithms, and Over-the-Air Device Firmware Updates (OTA-DFU). The S132 SoftDevice also offers mesh capability, enabling scalable networking.

The DWM1001 module is a cost-efficient development platform targeted at low-to-mid volume industrial, healthcare, retail, and consumer applications. For example, the technology could be used to avoid collisions between people and robots in a factory, or for advanced analytics or navigation services to locate medical equipment in a hospital; tools and spare parts in a warehouse; or shopping carts at a retail center.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines an ARM microprocessor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which supports Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“The key factors in our decision to choose the nRF52832 SoC were its competitive feature/price ratio, ultra low power consumption to support customers’ low duty cycle applications, the maturity of the RF software stack, and the clean separation between the SoftDevice and customer application code,” says Mickael Viot, Vice President of Marketing at DecaWave.

“Nordic’s online community and support is also very important to SME customers specializing in our target applications.”

Picture Gallery

Bluetooth Low Energy modules provide OEMs with extended link budget for developing long range asset tracking and wide-area IoT applications

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Fanstel’s ‘BT832X’ and ‘BT832XE’ employ Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to configure, control, and monitor commercial and agricultural systems over long distances via smartphone

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Fanstel Corp., a Scottsdale, AZ-based module manufacturer, has selected Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘BT832X’ and ‘BT832XE’ long range modules, designed for wide-area Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The company is also employing Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC in its ‘BWG 832F’ Gateway module, designed to work as a proxy node in Bluetooth mesh applications.

The BT832X module is said to be the longest range Bluetooth 5 compatible module available thanks in part to the nRF52832 SoC’s high link budget 2.4GHz radio that offers a maximum receive (RX) sensitivity of -96-dB and a maximum transmit (TX) output of +4-dBm. The addition of a Skyworks SKY66112 power amplifier (PA) and integrated high gain PCB antenna on the module extends TX output to +20-dBm and the link budget to 125 dBm, extending line-of-sight Bluetooth range up to a claimed 1300 meters in open field agricultural applications, or enabling transmission through multiple walls in industrial of commercial buildings. The nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets, allowing end users to configure, control, and monitor sensor data and alerts in a range of applications, for example asset tracking.

The BT832XE module offers the same functionality as the BT832X module, with the addition of a u.Fl connector for mounting an external antenna. Both modules come in a 15 by 28 by 1.9mm form factor, are qualified over the full industrial –40º to +85º C operating temperature range, and provide up to 29 general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs), enabled by the Nordic SoC.

The modules are accompanied by Fanstel evaluation boards pre-loaded with ‘BlueNor’ mesh testing firmware, enabling users with limited RF design expertise to program and evaluate the modules. Development is further simplified because Nordic’s unique software architecture separates the RF software protocol stack from the developer’s application code eliminating the possibility of code development and compilation corrupting the stack.

Fanstel’s BWG 832F Gateway module is a low cost Bluetooth 5 Wi-Fi module for point-to-point or small mesh network applications where security is either not required or limited decryption and authentication can be implemented in the firmware. The platform comes in a 60 by 60 by 22mm form factor and incorporates an nRF52832 SoC-powered Bluetooth LE module, a Wi-Fi module, and a USB to UART bridge. It relays bidirectional messages between a Cloud server and any node in a mesh network, providing a low cost solution for the mass deployment of IoT products in home, small office, as well as commercial applications.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC combines a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software), featuring 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which also offers mesh capability, enabling scalable networking of the modules.

“We have used Nordic SoCs for our modules for a few years because they offer excellent performance good application examples, and an easy-to-use development environment,” says Dr Yuan Fan, Fanstel Founder and CEO.

“In the nRF52832 SoC, the Arm M4F processor delivers the processing power performance required for our application, at a low cost.”

Picture Gallery

Nordic Semiconductor nRF91 SiP Series

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Low power MCU with Integrated LTE-M and NB-IoT
Not Yet Active

The nRF9160 is making the latest LTE technology accessible for a wide range of applications and developers. Through the high integration and pre-certification for global operation, it solves the complex wireless design challenges as well as comprehensive set of qualifications needed to utilize cellular technology.

By integrating an application MCU, full LTE modem, RF front end and power management in a 10x16x1.2 mm package, it also offers the most compact solution for cellular IoT (cIoT) on the market.

Targeting asset tracking applications, the nRF91 SiP Series includes a variant with built-in GPS support. It combines location data from the cellular network with GPS satellite trilateration to allow remote monitoring of the device position.

Application MCU

The nRF9160 offers a modern and powerful ARM Cortex M33 processor with on-chip flash and RAM exclusively for application use.


Now Mid-2018 End 2018
Lead customer sampling program Start of general sampling First production quantities
nRF91 Series Application Circuit
Recorded version of the live webcast Monday January 22nd, 2018 at 17:00pm CET.

Download nRF91 Series sneak peek presentation slides.


LTE-M and NB-IoT modem

  • LTE-M and NB-IoT support in bands from 700 MHz to 2.2GHz
  • Worldwide operation
  • Up to 23 dBm output power
  • -108 dBm LTE-M RX sensitivity
  • Single pin 50 Ω antenna interface
  • eDRX, PSM
  • SMS, IPv4/IPv6

Application Processor

  • ARM Cortex M33
  • TrustZone for trusted execution
  • Crypto cell co-processor
  • Low power peripherals
  • HW Automated power and clock management
  • 32 GPIO with flexible mapping

Software Development kit

  • LWM2M client
  • Secure FOTA for application and modem
  • Peripheral driver libraries
  • Application examples


  • Logistics and asset tracking
  • Smart City
  • Smart Agriculture
  • Industrial & Predictive maintenance
  • Wearables
  • Medical

Nordic Semiconductor joins Thread Group’s Board of Directors and appoints Pär Håkansson to represent the company on the board

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Low power wireless industry veteran’s technical and marketing expertise will help drive Thread technology’s expansion into smart-home applications and beyond

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that it has upgraded its Thread Group membership to the Sponsor level, and has appointed Pär Håkansson, Nordic’s Product Marketing Manager responsible for the products and strategies for the smart home, to the group’s Board of Directors. The Thread Group is an industry alliance that manages Thread, an IPv6 low power wireless connectivity specification.

Håkansson was appointed to the board in December 2017. He holds an M.Sc. EE and a Technical Licentiate degree in communication electronics from Linköping University in Sweden. He has spent the last decade in the low power wireless industry, holding positions in research, business development, and product marketing. Håkansson joined Nordic in 2015.

Thread addresses device connectivity challenges in the home and beyond with a low-power, open-standards, IP-based approach to wireless networks supporting many applications, many use cases, many devices, and many clouds. It is designed to operate as one network with no hubs.

Nordic Semiconductor is now a Sponsor member of the Thread Group and for the last year, its engineers have been helping to develop the Thread specification. Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC, a high-end, multiprotocol, low power wireless connectivity solution, became a Thread 1.1 certified component in September 2017. The nRF52840 SoC is targeted at complex smart-home applications among other uses.

“We are excited to see Nordic strengthening its leadership in low power wireless technology with this step to accelerate and grow the Thread market with its suite of Thread-certified components. We are confident Nordic’s investment will lead to new and innovative Thread-based products that showcase the value of Thread for end-to-end connected devices,” says Grant Erickson, President of the Thread Group.

“It is a privilege to be appointed to the Thread Group Board of Directors and I believe my technical and marketing expertise in low power wireless will assist in making Thread a success,” says Håkansson. “The group has a busy program ahead aimed at increasing awareness of the Thread brand, collaboration with other standards organizations, and the introduction of enhancements to the technology through updated specifications.

“Thread is expanding beyond smart-home applications and is gaining traction with major product vendors,” continues Håkansson. “The smart home is a key business segment for Nordic and its sponsor membership of the Thread Group will help it influence the specification and market’s evolution.”

Picture Gallery

Nordic-powered compact Bluetooth Low Energy module supports highly secure personal identification and access applications

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

LEGIC technology uses Nordic’s nRF52832 WL-CSP for a compact footprint module targeting contactless ID and access to smart cards, door locks, and other security applications

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that LEGIC, a Wetzikon, Switzerland-based contactless identification solutions provider, has employed Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WL-CSP) in its SM-6300 module. The module is designed to support a wide array of highly secure, flexible personal identification and access applications using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity.

The SM-6300 module offers a development platform for engineers designing applications requiring a secure wireless identification process, for example storage or payment solutions, access to shared-economy assets like bikes and cars, physical access control in corporate and hospitality environments, and wireless connection to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Taking advantage of the nRF52832 WL-CSP’s reduced footprint of 3.0 by 3.2 mm (one quarter the footprint of the conventionally packaged nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC)), the SM-6300 measures just 8.0 by 8.0 by 1.1 mm.

The SM-6300 provides Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity with Android and iOS mobile apps, third-party Bluetooth LE devices, and the LEGIC Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK). The module integrates LEGIC’s Secure Element, a tamper-proof, security-certified microcontroller “shelter” where all cryptographic keys are stored, and security-relevant firmware is executed. In addition, the module works with LEGIC’s technology platform, a product for secure reader and smartcard ICs and the LEGIC Connect trusted service with integrated key and authorization management.

The nRF52832 WL-CSP offers all the features of the conventionally-packaged SoC, including a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the standard nRF52832 SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.

The Arm processor has ample performance to run Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice (a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack) as well as the module’s security, ID and access firmware. In addition, the processor and 512 kB Flash memory support Over-the-Air Device Firmware Updates (OTA-DFU).

The WL-CSP is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which offers Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“Low power consumption and small package size were two of the main attributes that helped us decide in favor of the Nordic nRF52832 WL-CSP,” says Alex Wyss, Head of Hardware Development at LEGIC. “Further, because the SoftDevice separates the Bluetooth LE protocol from the application code, development is made much simpler. And the OTA-DFU support allows both Bluetooth protocol and LEGIC application firmware upgrades to be promptly offered to our customers.”

Picture Gallery

Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth Low Energy SoC enables quick and easy programming of vehicle-based LED display via user’s smartphone or tablet

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Blue Corvus’ ‘The Bird’ scrolling LED display employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to provide wireless connectivity and ultra low power consumption to maintain battery life

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Atlanta, GA-based consumer electronics company, Blue Corvus, has selected Nordic’s award-winning nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) for its battery- or micro USB-powered scrolling LED sign, named ‘The Bird’. The Nordic SoC provides Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity between The Bird, and Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets.

The 64 by 16 pixel (1024 dot) LED sign is designed to be suction cup-mounted inside the front or rear windshield of a car, and can scroll 20 programmable and reprogrammable messages, as well as simple graphics or any of more than 200 supported emojis. From the iOS or Android app, the user can select any one of 20 pre-programmed messages to display—for example “baby on board” or “thank you for letting me in”—as well as selecting from 32 different scrolling speeds and 16 different levels of brightness, allowing The Bird to be readable at a distance of up to 27 meters, even in bright sunlight. The user can also input their own messages using the keypad on their mobile device or via the ‘voice-to-text’ functionality. The Bird also offers multi-language support, as well as mirror mode, where the letters are displayed and scroll in reverse, allowing a driver in front to read the display ‘normally’ in their rearview mirror.

Thanks to the Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC, programming the LED display is easier and quicker than conventional LED displays, that either have to be directly cabled to a PC to program, or employ infrared (IR) remote control where letters are input one at a time, and must be programmed via line-of-sight access.

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines an 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S332 SoftDevice, a combination Bluetooth 5-certifed/ANT™ RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE and ANT applications. The S332 SoftDevice supports Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“For The Bird, the ARM processor, huge memory, ample availability of I/Os, and the excellent sensitivity were the most attractive hardware features of the nRF52832 SoC,” says Michael Cosson, Blue Corvus Founder and CEO. “The SoC’s really low sleep current also means the user never has to worry about the batteries going dead while the device is not in use. The approximate 30μA sleep current translates to six to seven years of standby time from a fresh set of three AA batteries.

“From a software point of view, we needed something that was well accepted and supported by the design community, and the nRF52832 SoC proved an excellent solution.”

Picture Gallery

Nordic-powered Bluetooth Low Energy smart locks support Cloud-based software for management of enterprise security applications

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

‘Nokē Pro’ allows businesses to remotely operate thousands of Bluetooth Low Energy wirelessly-connected smart locks

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Nokē, a Utah, U.S-based designer and manufacturer of smart lock technology, has released ‘Nokē Pro’, an enterprise software solution. The software is used for remotely managing and controlling the company’s range of Nordic Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) locks via a smartphone app or desktop web portal.

Nokē’s Bluetooth LE locks employ Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide wireless connectivity between the lock and the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet, enabling keyless access via the user’s device. Locks are available in traditional padlock, heavy-duty padlock, u-lock, door controller, and access panel form factors.

In addition to supervising Nordic’s Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack, the nRF52832 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor has ample power to run Nokē’s decentralized radio communications protocol, and bidirectional self-optimizing mesh networking software. The mesh software enables remote opening and key changes for Nokē locks, as well as enabling lock activity and alarm notifications to be sent to the Cloud.

The Nokē Pro enterprise software allows businesses to manage thousands of locks and users across multiple facilities, offering features such as GPS tracking, geo-fencing, the ability to create ‘groups’ with customized access schedules, tracking and audit trails, data analytics, notifications, and advanced reports.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines the ARM processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice supports Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“We selected the nRF52832 SoC because it can control everything,” says David Gengler, Nokē Founder and CEO. “It is easy to work with, the Software Development Kit and documentation is solid, and it works well with our mesh protocol.”

Picture Gallery

Nordic Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit shortlisted for prestigious prize by industry-leading ‘innovation in engineering’ awards program

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Renowned Golden Mousetrap Awards recognize Nordic’s single-board Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy development kit in ‘IoT & Connectivity’ category shortlist

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that its Nordic Thingy:52 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) IoT Sensor Kit has been shortlisted by editors of U.S. trade publication Design Newsfor a prize in the highly-competitive “Electronics & Test: IoT & Connectivity” category of the 2018 Golden Mousetrap Awards. The awards are a renowned program recognizing innovation in North American advanced product design and manufacturing.

Nordic Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit is a development tool based on Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE System-on-chip (SoC) and S132 SoftDevice (RF software protocol ‘stack’). The IoT Sensor Kit enables an app developer with no firmware coding expertise or high-level development tools to quickly design and demonstrate Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and associated mobile device and Internet apps.

The Electronics & Test: IoT & Connectivity category of the Golden Mousetrap Awards is open to any developer of innovative semiconductor technology commercially available in the U.S. between September 1, 2016 and October 1, 2017. Benefits of being shortlisted and winning the award include widespread exposure across a range of popular print and online industry publications, including the monthly Design News, and recognition via the annual awards ceremony and its national promotional campaign.

In addition to Nordic, the 2018 shortlist for this category includes two other major U.S.-based electronics and semiconductor vendors. All entries will be scored on four key criteria: design and engineering innovations; functional innovations; benefits to user; and market differentiation/competitive landscape.

The Golden Mousetrap Awards are organized by UBM plc, a London-based global business-to-business events organiser and the publisher of Design News, a leading industry publication in the horizontal engineering space. Each year the awards program searches for exceptional, cutting-edge products in the engineering and manufacturing industry.

“The Golden Mousetrap Awards recognize the people and companies who are redefining manufacturing and engineering with their fresh approaches and new ideas, qualities that are critical for innovation and progress,” said Suzanne Deffree from Design News in a statement. “We were extremely pleased with the volume and quality of submissions we received this year, and while it was challenging to narrow down the finalists in each field, we believe this year’s list recognizes the best of the best, and we can’t wait to see the continued success of our honorees.”

The winner of the Electronics & Test: IoT & Connectivity category (and 17 other categories) of the Golden Mousetrap Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA, in conjunction with the Pacific Design & Manufacturing trade show on February 6, 2018.

Picture Gallery

Bluetooth 5 ICs/solutions

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Bluetooth 5 is the latest version of the Bluetooth specification. It represents the greatest advancements in the specification since Bluetooth 4.0 and the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy.


There are very exciting new features present that promise to revolutionize the scope, appeal and spread of Bluetooth as the primary connectivity solution on the market. The key introductions are listed below:

Major new features of Bluetooth 5

  • Errata
  • High throughput
  • Long range
  • Advertising extensions
  • Increased broadcast capacity
  • Improved co-existence

Bluetooth 5 ready

The new Bluetooth 5 features for high throughput, long range and advertising extensions offer truly exciting possibilities for home, industry and commerce as well as the more traditional areas of wearables and personal devices historically associated with Bluetooth. At Nordic we understand what developers want, and when they want Bluetooth 5, they want these features. That’s why we built the nRF52 Series SoCs and the software that supports them to take advantage of them.

This means when you choose Nordic you can start the journey of developing with this exciting technology and can utilize these new features. Under the rules of Bluetooth SIG a device can claim to be Bluetooth 5 compliant by merely supporting the errata completion. That means fixing what was missing or wrong in 4.2, but with no support for the key new features.

At Nordic we don’t think that’s right. We know you want the new features, that’s why when Nordic says we support Bluetooth 5, we support the new features of high throughput, long range and advertising extensions, because we know at the end of the day, that’s what you’re looking to add to your applications.

Higher data throughput

The data rate for Bluetooth low energy has now been extended from a singular transmission speed (1Mbs) to four discrete data rate speeds as seen in the list above. The maximum speed is doubled to 2Mbs. Together with advancements introduced in Bluetooth 4.2 which allowed for Data Length Extensions (DLE) overall throughput is x5 higher than the original Bluetooth 4.0 level. Now net data throughput not including overhead such as addressing can be as high as 1.4Mbs. Data packet size, datarate and overall data throughput are illustrated in fig. 1.


Fig. 1 Bluetooth 5 data packet size/throughput chart

This increase offers opportunities for new applications that simply need more data throughput than was possible previously. It also enables much faster Over the Air Device Firmware Upgrades (OTA-DFU).The nRF52840, like all members of the nRF5x series Socks is a flash-based SoC thus enabling it to take advantage of this increased speed to perform firmware updates and for uploading data in bulk fashion.

Longer range

Bluetooth 5 introduced significant changes at the physical (PHY) layer for Bluetooth radio operation. Four data rates are now available 2Mbps, 1Mbps, 500kbps and 125kbps. The 2Mbps clearly offers higher throughput possibilities. Why offer lower datarates of 500kbps and 125kbps some may ask. The reason for these is that at these lower datarates and with the associated LE Coded processing using Forward Error Correction (FEC) it becomes easier to retirieve data transmissions in surrounding noise. In short, the sensitivity improves, specifically by around 12dB.

In RF terms 6dB improved gain in the link budget is a theoretical doubling of range, therefore 12dB improvement increases range possibilities fourfold. Link budgets can be improved by additional power, but critically the long range improvements in Bluetooth 5 do not rely on improved output power and mean up to four times more range can be achieved without a need to increase peak output power. The data throughput capacity does of course reduce when 500kbps or 125kbps modes are selected, but for many Bluetooth low energy applications which are relatively straightforward sensing and actuating applications, these data rates are perfectly adequate.

Increased broadcasting capacity

Advertising extensions are introduced to alleviate advertising channel occupancy and potential channel congestion. Data Length Extensions and a new PHY layer means longer packet lengths in terms of actual data and the length of time they occupy a channel. As only 3 advertising channels exist these channels could soon become congested with advertising packets with large data payloads at lower on-air transmission speeds such as 125kbs.Advertising extensions mitigates this potential issue by advertising on the 3 advertising channels as previously, but the data to be sent is on an agreed non-advertising channel.

Bluetooth 5_fig2

Fig. 2 Advertising extensions allocation of channel for advertising data

An additional feature of Advertising extensions is the ability to chain advertising packets to create extended advertising data payloads seen in fig. 3


Fig. 3 Advertising extensions ‘chaining’ of advertising data packets

Periodic advertising allows for more synchronized broadcasting of data between devices. In this mode periodic advertising happens at a deterministic periodic interval thus allowing true connectionless broadcasting.

Improved coexistence with improved channel hop sequencing

Bluetooth 5 has also introduced an improved Channel Sequencing Algorithm (CSA #2) to improve the pseudo randomness of next hop channel sequencing. CSA #2 will improve coexistence performance of enabled devices in the presence of WiFi, other Bluetooth devices. All of the nRF52 Series SoCs have the ability to support CSA #2.

All of the nRF52 Series SoCs multi-protocol SoCs have been designed to take advantage of these significant performance advancements of Bluetooth 5. Additionally, the nRF52840 has improved output power of 8dB which together with new long range features in Bluetooth 5 offer significant new application possibilities requiring longer range communication.

nRF52 Series SoC Bluetooth 5 feature support

Bluetooth 5 features nRF52840 nRF52832 nRF52810
Long range (x4) X
Higher throughput (x2) X X X
Increased broadcast capacity (x8) X X X
Improved channel co-existence algorithm (CSA) X X X


Related products
nRF52840 Multi-protocol Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth low energy/ANT/802.15.4/2.4GHz RF SoC
nRF52832 Multi-protocol Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth low energy/ANT/2.4GHz SoC
nRF52810 Multi-protocol Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth low energy/ANT/2.4GHz SoC
nRF52840 Preview DK Development kit for nRF52840 SoC
nRF52 DK Development kit for nRF52832 and nRF52810 SoC
Nordic Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit with nRF52832 SoC
S140 Bluetooth 5 protocol stack for nRF52840
S132 Bluetooth 5 protocol stack for nRF52832 and nRF52810
S112 Bluetooth 5 protocol stack optimized for nRF52810
nRF5 SDK Software Development Kit for nRF51 and nRF52 Series

Nordic nRF91 low power cellular IoT ‘sneak peek’ – cellular made easy, cellular for everything else

Courtesy of  Nordic Semiconductor

Nordic’s nRF91 Series is an ultra-compact, low power, global, multimode LTE-M / NB-IoT System-in-Package with integrated Arm Cortex-M33 host processor, Arm TrustZone security technology, and Assisted GPS

Nordic Semiconductor today provided a ‘sneak peek’ of its upcoming nRF91® Series low power cellular IoT solution. During an event in Oslo, Nordic also demonstrated the nRF91 operating on the Verizon Wireless Network in the U.S. and on the Telia network in Norway.

The Nordic nRF91 Series is all about taking the unique value proposal of cellular and bringing simplicity and appeal to a broader market. Today cellular is associated with the high data rates of smartphones and tablets. This solution aims to take cellular beyond just mobile devices and foster innovation that brings cellular connectivity to just about anything you can imagine. In much the same way as Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF5 Series enabled innovation and drove adoption of Bluetooth wireless technology in new markets, the nRF91 Series is designed to be an easily accessible solution for cellular connectivity. By setting new benchmarks in terms of integration, size, and power consumption, coupled with its ease-of-use, the nRF91 Series is designed to unleash the huge potential of cellular in IoT – cellular made easy, cellular for everything else.

All the benefits of a traditional cellular module in a tiny System-in-Package with global coverage
Front and center of Nordic Semiconductor’s upcoming nRF91 Series is a highly-integrated, low power, global multimode LTE-M / NB-IoT System-in-Package (SiP). The SiP integrates a complete low power cellular IoT system into a tiny 10x16x1.2mm package that integrates modem, transceiver, RF front end, dedicated application processor, Flash memory, power management, and crystal and passive components. With this level of integration the nRF91 SiP combines all the benefits of traditional cellular modules, including teleregulatory and cellular certifications, with ease-of-use, unprecedented integration, and the smallest form factor ever seen in the cellular industry to date.

Nordic is proud and excited to have Qorvo as a strategic partner for both the RF front end and the SiP development and manufacturing. The nRF91 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 nRF91 Series 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.

Built-in Arm® Cortex®-M33 host processor, Arm® TrustZone® security, and Assisted GPS
The nRF91 takes security for low power IoT devices to new heights by combining the inherent security of cellular connectivity with a cutting-edge security solution for the application hardware and software. The integration of an Arm Cortex-M33 processor and Arm CryptoCell-310 security IP enables an entire low power cellular IoT application to be implemented on an nRF91 SiP.

The built-in host processor features TrustZone for Armv8-M, helping secure application data, firmware, and peripherals using an isolated, trusted execution environment across the CPU and system. This solution provides an efficient security foundation, and reduces size, Bill-of-Materials (BOM), and power consumption versus using an external host processor.

The nRF91 SiP also features built-in support for positioning via an integrated Assisted GPS (A-GPS) solution that combines cellular and GPS technology to deliver fast and accurate positioning.

Nordic nRF91 Series System-on-Chip inside
The nRF91 SiP is based on Nordic’s own nRF91 Series low power cellular IoT System-on-Chip (SoC). Jointly developed by Nordic’s highly experienced cellular design team in Finland, and low power experts in Norway, the chip was developed from scratch to optimize the power, cost, and size savings enabled by the new LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular standards. The chip features an unprecedented and unique level of integration by combining a multimode cellular modem and transceiver, as well as application processor, Flash memory, RAM memory, and power management on a single chip.

Software, development tools, support, and developer community
The Nordic Semiconductor nRF91 Series includes a complete suite of software and easy-to-use development tools to accelerate innovation and product development. Assistance is available from a world-class, first-line technical support team, and a thriving Nordic development community. This all combines to allow developers to concentrate on what they want to do: develop exceptional products and services using cellular technology.“Back in early 2015, when we started the development of nRF91 Series, we set out on a mission to create a truly different solution for cellular IoT,” comments Thomas Embla Bonnerud, the Director of Strategy and Investor Relations at Nordic Semiconductor. “A highly integrated, low power, ultra-compact, and simple-to-use solution that would foster innovation and accelerate adoption of cellular connectivity across new markets. We are confident that the upcoming nRF91 Series represents such different solution, and we are excited to provide a sneak peek and demonstration of it today.”

“We are pleased with our strategic partnership with Nordic to bring this new category of cellular IoT solution to the market,” said Eric Creviston, President Mobile Products at Qorvo. “Qorvo is excited to see our leading RF and advanced packaging technology playing a key and enabling part of new products targeting the emerging low power cellular IoT market.”

“Delivering the combination of power efficient, TrustZone secure, and cellular connectivity capabilities to the extensive Cortex-M developer base opens up the benefits of IoT to a diverse range of new and innovative applications,” said Thomas Ensergueix, Senior Director of Embedded, Embedded and Automotive Line of Business, Arm. “We are pleased to see the nRF91 SiP from Nordic with Cortex-M33 and CryptoCell-310 enabling the deployment of secure IoT solutions at scale.”

Telia is experiencing an unprecedented demand for dedicated IoT connectivity represented by LTE-M and NB-IoT. These novel technologies enable products and services that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Access to components has so far been scarce and has hindered large scale commercial launches. That is why Telia has been a supportive partner to Nordic Semiconductor in their development of the new product; sharing our insight of the market, our plans and ambitions for the IoT market, and made our network available for testing. We are happy to see that Nordic Semiconductor now announces their new product, and that our collaborating partners are eager to launch novel products and services benefitting on the unique capabilities of LTE-M and NB-IoT. ” Andreas Carlsson – Head of Telia Next

Nordic is sampling nRF91 to selected lead customers now. Start of general sampling is planned for mid-2018, with first production quantities available by end of 2018. The nRF91 SIP will be available in variants with and without integrated GPS.

Picture Gallery

Related content

About Qorvo

Qorvo (Nasdaq:QRVO) makes a better world possible by providing innovative RF solutions at the center of connectivity. We combine product and technology leadership, systems-level expertise and global manufacturing scale to quickly solve our customers’ most complex technical challenges. Qorvo serves diverse high-growth segments of large global markets, including advanced wireless devices, wired and wireless networks, and defense radar and communications. We also leverage our unique competitive strengths to advance 5G networks, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and other emerging applications that expand the global framework interconnecting people, places and things.

Visit to learn how Qorvo connects the world.

Qorvo is a registered trademark of Qorvo, Inc. in the U.S. and in other countries. MicroShield™ is a trademark of Qorvo US, Inc.