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Nordic rolls ULP wireless solution

Posted: 15 Sep 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:2.4GHz transceiver core  System-on-Chip  ULP operation 


Nordic Semiconductor ASA has announced the availability of the nRF24LE1, a 2.4GHz ULP wireless System-on-Chip solution that enables a single-chip implementation in wireless applications.

The nRF24LE1 integrates a fully-featured nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz transceiver core including Nordic's Enhanced ShockBurst hardware link layer. It delivers true ULP operation with peak currents low enough to run on coin cell batteries.

The nRF24LE1 also integrates an enhanced 8051 mixed signal MCU core featuring fewer clock cycles per instruction than legacy 8051 devices. Most instructions need just one or two clock cycles leading to an average performance improvement of 8X using the MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) benchmark. This high performance combined with 16kbytes of on-chip flash plus 1kbyte of SRAM ensures the processing platform is powerful enough to run both the RF protocol stack and application layer with ease.

A wide range of peripherals and power saving modes support the RF protocol stack. A ULP 32kHz crystal oscillator provides high accuracy timing for low report rate synchronous protocols and a 16MHz RC oscillator provides fast start-up times from idle. The 32kHz oscillator can provide timing accurate enough for higher report rate protocols without requiring an external crystal. A security co-processor supports AES encrypted wireless communication. The nRF24LE1 provides a range of nanoamp and microamp idle modes specifically designed for ULP RF protocol stacks. Further benefits include higher precision protocol timing, lower power consumption, and improved co-existence performance.

For the application layer the nRF24LE1 offers a rich set of interfaces and peripherals including an SPI, 2-wire, UART, 12-bit ADC, PWM and an analogue comparator. As such, the nRF24LE1 is the ideal single chip solution for wireless applications including mice, keyboards, remote controls, game controllers, sports/healthcare sensors, toys, and active RFID tags.

The nRF24LE1 is available in three package options. The tiny 4x4mm 24-pin QFN option is by far the smallest ULP single chip power solution available today and provides 7 programmable generic I/O pins, according to the company. For applications where more I/O pins are needed the nRF24LE1 is also available in a 5x5mm 32-pin QFN with 15 generic I/O pins, and a 7x7mm 48-pin QFN with 29 generic I/O pins.

Development tools

The nRF24LE1 is supported by a comprehensive set of development tools. This includes being the first part to be compatible with the brand new Nordic Semiconductor nRFgo evaluation and development platform. At the core of this platform is the nRFgo Starter Kit (nRF6700) which provides a generic evaluation and development platform for all Nordic ULP 2.4GHz radios. The nRF24LE1 Development Kit complements the Starter Kit by including radio modules and a complete Software Development Kit (SDK).

To get started with the nRF24LE1 designers need both a Starter Kit and a Development Kit.

The Starter Kit includes two motherboards with standard sockets for Nordic radio modules, plus a rich set of standard interfaces and prototyping facilities. The included nRFgo Studio PC software package enables quick and easy RF evaluation and testing.

The nRF24LE1 Development Kit comes in three variants, one for each package type. The SDK includes full support for KeilµVision IDE, including a plug-in for the nRFProbe hardware debugger. A library of Hardware Abstraction Layers and complete example applications makes it easy for firmware developers to take advantage of all the nRF24LE1's advanced features.

The nRF24LE1 is priced at USD 1.95 in 10K unit shipments.

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