Nordic supports Bluetooth 5 SoCs to redefine the range of smart homes, IoT and wearable products

This single-chip, low-power Bluetooth nRF52840 system-on-chip (SoC) improves the performance and functionality of the Nordic high-end nRF52 family of SoCs. It includes new remote and high-processing capabilities to support the upcoming Bluetooth 5 specification, as well as IEEE 802.15.4 radio support, a wider range of flash and RAM memory, and a new radio hardware architecture that increases output power and link budget.

Oslo, Norway – December 7, 2016 – Nordic Semiconductor announces the support of the Bluetooth 5-enabled nRF52840 SoC with outstanding features and capabilities to redefine single-chip Bluetooth® low energy (formerly known as Bluetooth Smart) applications . The nRF52840 SoC is ideal for smart homes, including advanced wearable applications for payment and medical use, as well as industrial sensor and other Internet of Things (IoT) device performance combinations.

The nRF52840 is designed to support the latest Bluetooth Radio Technology Core Specification (Core SpecificaTIon) Bluetooth 5, which will soon be officially adopted by the Bluetooth Technology Alliance (SIG). Bluetooth 5 introduces longer distances and improved processing power, making Bluetooth wireless technology more suitable for home, wearable products and IoT applications. The nRF52840 SoC complies with this specification and has the highest output power. Compared to the Bluetooth 4.2 low-power Bluetooth solution, the nRF52840 SoC provides low-power Bluetooth wireless connectivity at 4x or 2x raw data bandwidth (2Mbps).

In addition to Bluetooth 5 support, the nRF52840 SoC also includes IEEE 802.15.4 functionality. 802.15.4 wireless technology forms the basis of smart home technologies such as ZigBee and Thread (and other upper layers not defined by the standard). IEEE 802.15.4 can also be used as a 6LoWPAN and standard Internet Protocol network adaptation layer. The nRF52840 SoC's support for 802.15.4 significantly expands the ability of the product to utilize several different wireless technologies as the underlying technology for IoT, smart home or industrial sensor wireless network interoperability.

The nRF52840 SoC is based on the proven architecture of Nordic's existing nRF52 family of SoCs, supporting complex low-power Bluetooth and other low-power wireless applications previously unachievable with single-chip solutions. The nRF52840 SoC features the Nordic nRF52832 SoC proven 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® CortexTM M4F processor and a CPU with extensive general processing power, floating point and DSP performance to meet the most demanding wireless applications.

Compared to Nordic's existing nRF52832 SoC, the nRF52840 SoC's hardware enhancements include a new radio architecture with an on-chip PA that significantly increases output power and increases link budget to "whole house" applications; Up to 4MB, RAM memory up to 4x, up to 256kB; support for Bluetooth 5, 802.15.4, ANT and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technology; full-speed USB 2.0 controller; numerous new peripherals including quad SPI interface (many with EasyDMA ). The nRF52840 can also be powered by more than 5V, such as rechargeable batteries.

Designed to meet the inherent security challenges of IoT, the nRF52840 SoC integrates a Cortex-M-based SoC to provide the industry's best security ARM® CryptoCell-310 accelerator. A wide range of encryption and key generation and storage options are also available.

The nRF52840 SoC will also release the S140 SoftDevice, the latest addition to the Nordic RF software stack. The S140 SoftDevice is a Bluetooth 5 compliant software stack that supports Bluetooth 5's long range and high data processing capabilities.

"The nRF52840 SoC is based on the success of the nRF52 family, but it will enable wireless product developers to tap into even more promising single-chip smart homes, wearables and IoT applications," said Thomas Bonnerud, director of product management at Nordic Semiconductor. The range of applications is rapidly evolving; wearable products are moving toward payment and identification devices. The new Bluetooth 5 long-range feature makes Bluetooth a strong contender for smart home device communications, and the nRF52840 meets and exceeds developer expectations. In the connected products, the lack of security proves to be catastrophic and will make you regret it."

Bonnerud added: "With the ARM CryptoCell hardware on the chip, we are providing developers with the industry's best hardware and software security options to build secure products. Hardware enhancements, Bluetooth 5 range and bandwidth improvements with the nRF52840 SoC And 802.15.4 support is the latest implementation example of this idea."

Nordic will release its S140 SoftDevice and related nRF5 SDK, which will support Bluetooth 5 for longer distances and higher bandwidth modes when the Bluetooth 5 standard is approved in early December. Engineering samples and development kits can be ordered from the Nordic Global Distribution Network starting December 6. Various production versions of the nRF52840 will be available in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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