Bluetooth chips from Nordic Semiconductor

In the times of the dynamic development of the Internet of Things, more and more often wireless communication is one of the first prerequisites for electronic devices. Implementing such solutions on one’s own can be troublesome and time-consuming – it requires extensive knowledge on e.g. radio transmission, designing microwave circuits and building antennas. Therefore, it’s reasonable to use readymade SoC (System on a Chip) products from leading manufacturers like Nordic Semiconductor.

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Nordic Semiconductor is a fabless company. It comes from Norway, and it’s seated in Oslo. It specializes in manufacturing chips for communication over the ISM band, e.g. in Bluetooth and ANT technologies. Nordic Semiconductor products are designed for autonomous, battery-powered microchip systems, which require excellent energy efficiency.

nRF52 series
The latest product line by Nordic Semiconductor is the nRF52 series. It includes the nRF52832 and nRF52840 chips, as well as a Development Kit. The chips are based on a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F microcontroller. They support radio communication over the 2.4GHz band in BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), ANT, and NFC technologies. The nRF52840 model is especially noteworthy, as it also offers support for Bluetooth 5.0 and is equipped with a cryptographic coprocessor. The chips can be powered with voltage from 1.7V to 3.6V (nRF52832) or even up to 5.5V (nRF52840). Hence, the nRF52840 can be powered directly from a USB line. The nRF52 Development Kit includes, among other things, the nRF52832 chip and an NFC antenna. It has Arduino-compliant pins.

nRF51 series
The nRF51 series includes the nRF51822, nRF51824, and nRF51422 chips, as well as a few development kits based on the chips. All of them are equipped with a 32-bit microcontroller with the ARM Cortex-M0 core. They have a transceiver module operating in the 2.4GHz band, which means that after implementing an appropriate protocol stack, they enable communications with the use of e.g. BLE or ANT standards. Special attention should be paid to the nRF51824 chip. It has the AEC-Q100 Grade 2 certificate, which means that it’s capable of operating in temperatures from -40°C to 105°C. What is more, it is also equipped with an AES encryption coprocessor.

Supporting software
Nordic Semiconductor provides software to support users working with the nRF51 or nRF52 chips. The nRF5 and nRF5 SDKs (Software Development Kits) for IoT can be downloaded at no charge from the company website. They include a wide selection of drivers and libraries to support various communication protocols, and designed for different chip models. The nRF5 SDK for IoT bundle was created primarily for the Internet of Things, as it enables the implementation of the IPv6 protocol over Bluetooth.

Wireless Tag Modules
Wireless Tag products are readymade solutions based on communication chips from Nordic Semiconductor. The range comprises communication modules in the Wi-Fi or BLE standards, including chips for SMD mounting (e.g. WT8266-S1 and WT51822-S4AT) and development kits equipped with a USB interface (WT8266-DK and WT51822-DK). By using such readymade solutions, you can noticeably speed up the designing process, and the development kits are great for tests and education.

Summary
Nordic Semiconductor products can be used in numerous applications, such as smart housing systems, IoT modules, or wearables. Wireless communication is a must also in the case of many other devices, e.g. computer mice and keyboards or garage gate controllers. The software shared by the company, the development kits, as well as the readymade Wireless Tag modules noticeably facilitate and speed up the designing process. They provide readymade software and hardware solutions that can be utilised in your devices.

Nordic Semiconductor chips and Wireless Tag kits can be purchased from Transfer Multisort Elektronik (www.tme.eu), an official distributor of company products.

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