Nordic Semiconductor, a leading provider of low-power wireless IoT solutions, recently unveiled its latest innovation – the nRF54L Series. These fourth generation Bluetooth Low Energy Systems-on-Chip are poised to disrupt the IoT landscape.
The nRF54L Series builds upon the incredible success of its predecessor, the nRF52 Series. Since 2015, billions of SoCs powered by this chip series have been deployed across a variety of applications worldwide.
The nRF54L15 SoC stands out in this series by being tailor-made to address the next wave of wireless IoT products, from medical/healthcare devices and smart homes to industrial IoT applications, VR/AR headsets, PC accessories, remote controllers, gaming devices and many other IoT use cases.
Nordic Semiconductor recently unveiled their nRF54H Series to complement this launch, providing versatility for both high-volume devices as well as advanced IoT solutions that were once unreachable. While nRF54L Series provides both versatility and enhanced processing power/memory capacity; while the latter focuses on offering unlocked IoT solutions.
Svenn-Tore Larsen, CEO of Nordic Semiconductor, expressed his excitement, saying that with the nRF54L Series Nordic has reinforced its position as the world’s premier Bluetooth LE company and pioneer of low-power wireless IoT technologies. This series enables thousands of customers to improve product performance, extend battery life, and spur innovation.”
What sets apart the nRF54L Series is its cutting-edge hardware architecture, manufactured with TSMC’s 22ULL (22nm) process technology to create a solid platform for IoT innovation. By working with multiple wafer suppliers Nordic Semiconductor hopes to increase supply chain flexibility — an experience gained during COVID-19 implementation challenges.
At the core of this series lies an nRF54L15 SoC featuring an Arm Cortex-M33 processor clocked at 128 MHz, providing double the processing power compared to its predecessor (nRF52840 SoC) while simultaneously decreasing power consumption. Boasting 1.5MB nonvolatile memory and 256KB RAM memory resources for simultaneous running multiple protocols.
Kjetil Holstad, EVP of Product Management for Nordic Semiconductor noted, “With the nRF54L15, Nordic has provided what modern Bluetooth LE SoC users expect: enhanced performance, increased memory storage space and decreased power consumption – providing future proofing options to meet IoT demands across a variety of IoT applications.”
At a time when Internet of Things security is of utmost importance, the nRF54L15 SoC certainly meets that standard. Packed with advanced hardware and software security features that align with PSA Certified Level 3, its highest standard, this SoC offers services like Secure Boot, Firmware Update and Storage while its tamper sensors detect attacks while its cryptographic accelerators defend against side channel breaches.
This series features an award-winning multiprotocol radio, with TX power of +8dBm at RX sensitivity of -98dB for 1Mbps Bluetooth LE. Furthermore, 2.4 GHz proprietary protocols can now access 4Mbps data rate option, improving throughput efficiency and latency while supporting Bluetooth 5.4 features including Mesh Thread Matter compatibility that ensures relevance with future specification updates.
One of the hallmarks of the nRF54L15 SoC’s distinguishing qualities is its energy efficiency, significantly improving TX and RX power consumption compared to its nRF52 predecessor series. For instance, radio RX current was cut in half enabling significant energy savings and prolonging battery life.
To maximize energy efficiency, the SoC includes a Global Real-Time Clock (RTC) peripheral that enables it to wake the device from deepest sleep mode without needing external RTC clocks; this significantly decreases power consumption for applications that remain dormant over extended periods.
The nRF54L15 SoC comes in three compact packaging options. A 6x6mm QFN package with 31 GPIOs and two ultra-compact wafer-level chip scale packages (WLCSPs) with 32 300 um pitch and 14 350 um pitch GPIOs provide convenient connectivity options, ideal for designs with strict size constraints.
Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF54L Series represents an innovation in IoT technology, boasting improved performance, energy efficiency and robust security to cement its place as an industry leader.
What is Systems-on-Chip
A System-on-Chip (SoC) is an integrated circuit (IC) that incorporates multiple electronic components and functions into a single chip. These components and functions can include a microprocessor or CPU, memory, input/output ports, communication interfaces, analog and digital peripherals, and more. SoCs are designed to provide a complete and self-contained solution for a specific application or task.
SoCs are commonly used in a wide range of electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, embedded systems, and more. They offer several advantages, such as reduced size and power consumption, simplified board design, and cost-effectiveness.
The integration of various components onto a single chip makes SoCs highly efficient and versatile, allowing them to perform complex tasks in a compact form factor. They are often tailored to meet the specific requirements of the target application, which can vary from consumer electronics to industrial control systems.
What is non-volatile memory
Non-volatile memory (NVM) is a type of computer memory that can retain stored data even when the power supply is disconnected. In contrast, volatile memory, like RAM (Random Access Memory), loses its stored data when the power is turned off. Non-volatile memory is used to store data that must be preserved even when a device is powered down or rebooted.
Common examples of non-volatile memory include:
- Flash Memory: This is perhaps the most well-known form of non-volatile memory. It is used in devices like USB drives, SD cards, and solid-state drives (SSDs). Flash memory retains data even when the device is powered off.
- Read-Only Memory (ROM): ROM is a type of memory that stores data permanently. It’s often used to store firmware or software that should not be changed. Examples include BIOS in a computer or firmware in a game console.
- Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM): EEPROM can be written and erased electrically. It’s often used for storing configuration data that must survive power cycling, like the settings in a computer’s BIOS.
- Magnetic Storage: Hard disk drives (HDDs) are a form of non-volatile memory. They use magnetic storage to retain data. When the power is off, the data remains stored on the hard disk.
- Phase-Change Memory (PCM): PCM is a type of non-volatile memory that uses the unique behavior of chalcogenide glass, which can be switched between amorphous and crystalline states to store data.
These types of non-volatile memory are crucial for long-term data storage, firmware in electronic devices, and other applications where retaining data across power cycles or unexpected shutdowns is essential.