Nordic’s First Wi-Fi Chip Gives Boost To Low-Power IoT Range

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In a bid to expand its low-power IoT hardware portfolio, Trondheim-headquartered Nordic Semiconductor has debuted its first Wi-Fi chip, called the nRF7002. Slated as a ‘companion IC (integrated circuit)’ to go alongside its existing products, it will add Wi-Fi connectivity and Wi-Fi-based positioning via SSID ‘sniffing’ of local Wi-Fi hotspots. Available for sampling, the nRF7002 is designed to work alongside the company’s nRF52 and nRF53 series multiprotocol systems-on-chip (SoCs), and its nRF91 series cellular systems-in-package (SiPs). It is available in a 6 x 6mm QFN package.

It is noteworthy that Nordic acquired Ensigma, the Wi-Fi division of UK-based semiconductor and software design firm Imagination Technologies Group, in 2020. Since then, its entry into the field of wifi was awaited.

Expanding The Range

With this latest development, Nordic Semiconductor’s IoT range has expanded to cover Bluetooth (BLE), cellular IoT (LTE-M and NB-IoT), Thread, and Wi-Fi. Out of these, BLE, Wi-Fi and Thread are used in the new Matter standard, driven by the old Zigbee Alliance (since rebranded as the Connectivity Standards Alliance), for smart home products.

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Svein-Egil Nielsen, chief technology officer and executive vice president for R&D and strategy at Nordic Semiconductor, commented on the latest development, “We were able to bring our first Wi-Fi IC to market very quickly as a result of acquiring an extremely capable Wi-Fi team alongside a portfolio of Wi-Fi assets that team had already developed. Nordic has also ensured that developing Nordic-based Wi-Fi 6 applications will be as simple as developing any other Nordic wireless IoT application, including using the same development tools and nRF Connect SDK.”

Global Wi-Fi Hub

Nordic Semiconductor had set up a ‘global Wi-Fi hub’ in India in 2021. With the Target Wake Time (TWT) and Wi-Fi Sensing features, Wi-Fi-based IoT apps can take better advantage of lower-power consumption and sub-centimetre level positioning (RTLS) services.

“The new Wi-Fi team’s relentless hard work to enable Nordic to launch its first Wi-Fi product so soon deserves huge recognition. They knew Wi-Fi was the number one missing capability requested by Nordic customers. And they knew Nordic’s customers needed this capability quickly,”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ noted Mike Davis, Wi-Fi systems and software director at Nordic Semiconductor.

Adding further, the executive vice president of product management, Kjetil Holstad said, “I am extremely happy that we are finally able to add Wi-Fi to our wireless IoT product portfolio. Our sales force is eager to engage with customers worldwide. The nRF7002 is a great starting point and we are already well ahead in terms of building a portfolio of unique Wi-Fi products that will combine seamlessly with Nordic’s existing ultra-low power wireless technologies.”


 

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