Nordic semiconductor Introduces High-End Multi-Protocol System-on-Chip nRF5340

By Nordic Semiconductor


On November 14, Norwegian semiconductor company Nordic announced the first member of the next-generation nRF5 family of chips, the nRF5340 high-end multi-protocol system-on-a-chip. The chip is built on Nordic's nRF51 and nRF52 series multi-protocol chips. It also introduces a dual-processor hardware architecture with high performance, low power consumption, scalability, and high heat resistance. It can be widely used in smart homes and indoors navigation, professional lighting, industrial automation, wearables, and other complex IoT applications.

Based on the Arm Cortex-M33 dual-core processor design, the nRF5340 integrates a high-performance application processor, programmable ultra-low-power network processor, and security functions in a low-power, multi-protocol SoC. At the same time, the chip also enhances dynamic multi-protocol support, concurrently supports low-power Bluetooth, Bluetooth Mesh, Thread, Zigbee protocol, can be configured or debugged through a low-power Bluetooth smartphone, and interacts with the Mesh network.

The Nordic development engineer said that the nRF5340, as the first system-on-chip of the nRF5 series, has improved and new highlights in terms of overall performance, power consumption, and functional support. It will also pay attention to market feedback after launch, and will continue to launch the series more products.

This is the nRF5340, the main processor Application processor is responsible for the complex functions and operation of the Bluetooth protocol stack. It uses the Arm Cortex-M33 under the Arm architecture that Nordic has used. It also mounts DSP and floating-point functions for third-party development applications . The core runs at speeds up to 128 MHz and supports voltage-frequency regulation, including dedicated 1 MB of flash memory and 512 KB of RAM memory to meet the needs of next-generation, state-of-the-art wearable devices, with a significant performance improvement over the previous generation nRF52840.

The sub-core Network processor can be used as an additional and non-complex content operation, also using the Arm Cortex-M33, with a core running at 64 MHz (238 CoreMark), dedicated 256 KB of flash and 64 KB of memory. It is optimized for low power and low duty cycle sensor acquisition during radio operation. Provides an optimal implementation of the 2.4 GHz proprietary protocol and ensures the feasibility of porting from the nRF51 and nRF52 families.

The two processors can work independently of each other, and they can also be connected directly through IPC or wake up each other, but they need to consider their respective protection settings.

In addition, the application processor integrates security features such as Arm CryptoCell-312 Secure Key Storage to provide the highest level of security. It works by hardware acceleration of the common Internet encryption standard, while providing system-wide hardware isolation for trusted software by creating secure and non-secure code execution areas on a single core. At the same time, the chip's comprehensive security features support firmware updates that protect the chip from malicious attacks.

It is worth mentioning that the nRF5340 integrates XTAL load capacitors for 32 MHz and 32.762 kHz crystals. Compared to Nordic's nRF52 series, the number of external components required is reduced by four, which reduces bill of materials and reduces resolution. Solution size.

Solution three-piece

In terms of total solution, Nordic also launched a three-piece suite with the nRF5340 SoC: nRF Connect software tool, nRF5340 single board preview development kit.

The nRF Connect SDK is a reliable solution for developing nRF9160 SiP-based commercial products and has now added support for nRF5340. It integrates Zephyr RTOS, low-power Bluetooth protocol stack, application examples and hardware drivers to unify low-power cellular IoT and low-power short-range wireless applications. The nRF Connect SDK is source code managed by Github and provides free SEGGER Embedded Studio IDE support.

nRF5340 Single Board Preview Development Kit nRF5340 PDK, developers can use the full functionality of the nRF5340 and all GPIOs with an onboard SEGGER J-Link debugger for SoC programming and debugging.

It is reported that the 7x7 mm aQFN package with 48 GPIO ports will be industrialized on the nRF5340 SoC engineering sample.

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