Nordic’s nRF91 SiP incorporates global multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT modem, ARM Cortex-M33, GPS and more in a tiny package. (Image credit: Nordic Semiconductor)

 

After my “Monster Sensor” project here on element14, I have been a huge fan of Nordic Semiconductor’s product line. I look forward to working with this new chip.

 

Three years after its development, Nordic Semiconductor will be releasing their latest low-power cellular IoT nRF91 solution at some point in the middle of this year. The system-in-package (SiP) features global multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT, Arm Cortex-M33 ARMv8-M processor, and built-in flash memory and storage. It also packs a SAW-less transceiver, Qorvo custom RF front-end, power management, GPS, and TrustZone application security- all packed into a tiny footprint of just 16 X 10 X 1.2mm.

 

The chip itself is aimed at low-power cellular connected IoT systems- in other words, anything IoT that can benefit from a dynamic SiP that includes everything, including the kitchen sink. According to Nordic, “The Nordic nRF91 Series is all about taking the unique value proposal of cellular and bringing simplicity and appeal to a broader market. Today cellular is associated with the high data rates of smartphones and tablets. This solution aims to take cellular beyond just mobile devices and foster innovation that brings cellular connectivity to just about anything you can imagine.”

 

 

With security concerns becoming an increasing issue with IoT platforms, Nordic decided to tap the ARM Cortex-M33 SoC with integrated TrustZone CryptoCell-310 security subsystem, which enables RoT (Root of Trust) and cryptographic capabilities to any device. The technology helps secure app data, firmware and peripherals utilizing an isolated environment in the SoC hardware itself, much in the same fashion as AMD CPU architecture.

 

Nordic designed the nRF91 for a host of different applications- including asset tracking, smart meters, remote maintenance, healthcare/medical monitoring, wearables and industrial/agricultural automation along with the vast spectrum of IoT applications. The company has already shipped the SiP to its lead customers and will begin releasing general sampling by mid-2018 along with the first production batches by the end of this year.   

 

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