World’s smallest 2.4GHz wireless SoC has 8-bit MCU and runs on coin cells

Oct 24, 2008
The newly released Nordic Semiconductor nRF24LE1 – available in a 4 by 4mm QFN package – destroys previous size restrictions in ultra-low power (ULP) system-on-chip (SoC) wireless. By integrating the industry’s best 2.4GHz transceiver core (the nRF24L01+) and a mixed signal 8-bit microcontroller with flash memory, the nRF24LE1 can simultaneously run both the RF protocol stack and application layer on just a single chip. This makes the nRF24LE1 the smallest one chip solution available today to address the performance, power consumption and pricing requirements (by eliminating the need for a more costly external microcontroller) of the exploding ULP wireless applications market. The nRF24LE1 confirms Nordic’s position as the leader in the ULP wireless category. The nRF24LE1 pushes back the boundaries of ULP wireless operation exhibiting peak currents low enough to run on coin cell batteries. “The nRF24LE1 is a truly unique wireless SoC solution,” says Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Product Manager for Ultra Low Power Wireless at Nordic. “Not only is it the first solution enabling single chip implementations of ultra-low power wireless applications, but we have also been able to provide this chip in the same 4 by 4mm package size as our nRF24L01+ standalone transceiver. “That is quite incredible considering the fact that in addition to the transceiver the nRF24LE1 includes a fully-featured mixed signal microcontroller, 16kbytes of flash memory and a 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 interfaces and peripherals include an SPI, 2-wire, UART, 12-bit ADC, PWM and analogue comparator.

Written By: Kristy Tantillo
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