Nordic Semiconductor, a specialist in low power wireless IoT solutions, has announced a significant addition to its nRF54 Series, its fourth generation of Bluetooth Low Energy Systems-on-Chip (SoCs). The nRF54L Series is the logical successor to the nRF52 Series, a product family that has seen several billion SoCs delivered to thousands of satisfied customers since its introduction in 2015.
The first SoC in the nRF54L Series, the nRF54L15, is suited for the next generation of wireless IoT products. The SoC targets medical/healthcare, smart home, industrial IoT, VR/AR, PC accessories, remote controllers, gaming controllers, and multiple other IoT applications. The nRF54L Series complements the recently announced nRF54H Series. While the nRF54L Series has wide applicability from high-volume products to more advanced devices, the nRF54H Series possesses the superior processing power and large capacity memory needed for IoT products that previously have been unfeasible.
“With the nRF54L Series, Nordic reinforces its position as the world’s leading Bluetooth LE company and a leader in low power wireless IoT technologies in general,” says Svenn-Tore Larsen, CEO, Nordic Semiconductor. “The company’s low power wireless engineering team is one of the best on the planet and, backed by an unwavering commitment to R&D investment, Nordic has once again redefined what’s possible with the technology. The new series will allow thousands of customers to markedly raise the performance and extend the battery life of their end-products while coming up with even more innovative designs.”
The nRF54L Series features a new hardware architecture fabricated using TSMC’s 22ULL (22 nm) process technology. In comparison, the nRF54H Series is fabricated using the GlobalFoundries 22FDX (22 nm) process. By investing in two wafer suppliers, Nordic increases the flexibility of its supply chains.
“We have gained valuable insights from the challenges posed by COVID-19. By strategically leveraging two distinct manufacturing facilities located in different regions, we are committed to enhancing supply chain diversification for the ultimate benefit of our customers and their risk mitigation efforts,” says Geir Langeland, EVP Sales & Marketing, Nordic Semiconductor.
Excellent processing power and efficiency
The nRF54L15 SoC features an Arm Cortex-M33 processor running at 128 MHz. The processor provides double the processing power of the nRF52840 SoC while reducing power consumption. Processing is supported by 1.5 MB of non-volatile memory and 256 KB of RAM, ample for concurrent running of multiple protocols.
“Our nRF52 Series SoCs are the world’s most sold Bluetooth LE devices and it’s about time we step it up again to cover today’s and tomorrow’s applications,” says Kjetil Holstad, EVP Product Management, Nordic Semiconductor. “With the nRF54L15 we deliver what’s expected by a modern Bluetooth LE SoC, with increased performance and memory, and reduced power consumption making it a future-proof choice for your needs.”
Advanced security for the next generation of IoT
Given the growing importance of security in IoT, the nRF54L15 SoC incorporates advanced hardware and software security features ensuring its readiness for the next generation of IoT. It is designed for PSA Certified Level 3, the highest in the PSA Certified IoT security standard.
The SoC offers security services such as Secure Boot, Secure Firmware Update, and Secure Storage. Integrated tamper sensors can detect attacks and take protective action, while the cryptographic accelerators are hardened against side-channel attacks.
World-class multiprotocol radio
The nRF54L15 features a multiprotocol radio that provides up to +8 dBm TX power (with 1 dB increments) with -98 dBm RX sensitivity for 1 Mbps Bluetooth LE. The radio includes a new 4 Mbps data rate option for 2.4 GHz proprietary protocols, with improved throughput, efficiency, and latency. It supports all Bluetooth 5.4 features, Bluetooth Mesh, Thread, and Matter. The radio is also equipped to support future Bluetooth specification updates.
The radio power consumption significantly improves in TX and RX compared with the nRF52 Series. For example, compared with nRF52840 SoC, the radio RX current is halved (running from a 1.8 V DC supply), resulting in major energy savings and allowing for more compact batteries or extended battery life.
More power-saving features
Further energy savings come from a new Global RTC (real-time clock) peripheral that can wake up the SoC from its deepest sleep mode, removing the need for an external RTC and significantly reducing power consumption for applications sleeping for long durations. This feature can enable multiyear battery life for certain products.
The nRF54L15 is now available for sampling in a 6 by 6 mm QFN package with 31 GPIOs. The SoC is also available in two ultra-compact 2.4 by 2.2 mm wafer-level chip scale packages (WLCSPs) with 32 GPIOs (300 µm pitch) and 14 GPIOs (350 µm pitch). These WLCSPs are more than 50 percent smaller than the nRF52840 WLCSP, making them suitable for designs with strict size constraints.
The nRF54L15 SoC is now available for sampling to selected customers. Interested parties can sign up for product updates at www.nordicsemi.com/nRF54L15 and can contact their local Nordic sales representative for more information.