Like every semiconductor company, we spend a lot of time talking to design engineers about what they’re working on and the features they’re adding to their systems. These days, we’re hearing a lot about wireless connectivity and with it, some of the challenges that come with developing advanced solutions. It doesn’t seem to matter what industry they’re designing for—industrial, automotive, healthcare, energy, infrastructure—our customers ask for flexible and scalable tools and solutions to develop the next generation of IoT devices.
Of the various WLAN and WPAN options out there, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are in particularly high demand. Designers typically use a dedicated Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module to add connectivity to their systems. However, off-the-shelf modules aren’t always as easy to utilize. Integration with the system’s microprocessor or microcontroller can be tricky, even for experienced designers and programmers, which means design teams can find themselves struggling with extra iterations of debug to make the system behave the way they want it to.
What’s more, wireless systems need to meet regional regulatory requirements and typically need to be certified as ready for use before they ship. Getting the right certifications for each region can add extra steps to the development cycle and can add to the pressure of having to meet tight time-to-market deadlines.
We decided it was time for a change. For too long now, the need to integrate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth has added stress to the development cycle. Using separate modules for wireless connectivity has forced designers to work with multiple components from different suppliers and added extra time and effort to what are already demanding timelines for delivery.
The Quick, Easy Way to Deliver Wireless at Scale
In our recent announcement, we unveiled a new platfrom that makes it easier than ever to deliver wireless functionality. Our Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo and i.MX RT MCU crossover processors are now fully supported within MCUXpresso®, which dramatically simplifies product development. With this new level of integration, we’ve expanded the connectivity capabilities of our EdgeVerse™ edge computing and security platform. The result is new and secure, fully scalable edge-connected platforms that combine our Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo and i.MX RT MCU crossover processors.
Modules Made to Order
It begins with hardware. We’ve partnered with leading module providers to create solutions that accelerate development, decrease time-to-market and create processor choices. It’s all about flexibility—you choose the best combination of processor, wireless device and module for your design, so you start with a tailored solution that saves time and effort. Working with our module partners, we deliver a fully certified, platform-integrated solution ready to go. We even offer software examples that have been tested for use with our i.MX RT development boards for added time-savings.
Comprehensive Enablement Tools
The benefits continue when it comes time to finalize your application. We’ve brought together all the software elements you need into our popular, easy-to-use MCUXpresso® operating environment. You can mix and match elements for edge-connected solutions, optimizing every aspect of your design using just one familiar software development kit (SDK). For example, the upper layers of the stack, including TCP/IP stack and application layers, will run on an i.MX RT device. The upper layers are integrated into the host operating system, for an added level of flexibility in how to use resources and control the combined applications. The final application can share CPU cycles with the Wi-FI stack while leveraging extensive memory resources to ensure the right levels of performance.
The MCUXpresso’s integrated driver support simplifies the design and accelerates application development. You can use display controllers and graphics accelerators integrated into the i.MX RT crossover processor or advanced features in the i.MX 8 series, along with pre-integrated drivers for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that have been verified and tested to deliver the capabilities your design is likely to need.
For Wi-Fi, we’ve ported popular LWIP stack, an open-source solution in widespread use, to FreeRTOS. We add to that a number of fully verified and tested capabilities.
Wi-Fi SDK Enablement Tools
|iPerf||Utility for testing device-to-device performance|
|Wi-Fi Provisioning||Example for easily connecting new devices to networks|
|Command Line Interface (CLI)||Sets Wi-Fi parameters and network properties and lets you experiment with various Wi-Fi settings and parameters|
|Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure Cloud||Applications that provide an excellent starting framework for IoT products, complete with device-to-cloud connection|
We Make Sure It Works
We’ve invested our time and effort in this platform, so you don’t have to. Our dedicated design teams provide expertise from various disciplines to optimize our solutions and anticipate what customers will need, regardless of the design team’s experience working with wireless.
Our in-house experts and trusted ecosystem partners have paid attention to all the details so you can focus on delivery. We’ve looked at every aspect of design, from the initial selection of features to final delivery of certified products and we’ve anticipated future needs for wireless applications. We’ve optimized the hardware, updated the integrated software and written the test modules for final compliance testing.
The result is a standardized approach that makes it easier than ever to deliver the wireless features everyone wants.
Explore the Options
To learn more about our platform-based approach to delivering wireless and to see a complete list of of avalaible partner modeules, visit our dedicated web page at nxp.com/wifibluetooth.