LONDON — After three years in development by teams in Finland and Norway, Nordic Semiconductor introduced a system-in-package (SiP) module for low-power Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
Nordic's nRF91 integrates an LTE cellular model with narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) connectivity in a 10x16x1.2mm package. It also incorporates a transceiver, RF front end, dedicated application processor, flash memory, power management and crystal and passive components.
After announcing last month that lead customers were already sampling the nRF91, Nordic revealed details of the device at an event in Oslo last week. During the event, Nordic also demonstrated the nRF91 operating on the Verizon Wireless Network in the U.S. and on the Telia network in Norway.
The nRF91 SiP is aimed at secure, low power, cellular connected IoT systems. Jointly developed by Nordic’s specially assembled cellular design team in Finland, and low power team in Norway, the chip was developed from scratch to optimize the power, cost and size savings enabled by the new LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular standards.
Nordic says the custom SoC combines the benefits of traditional cellular modules — including tele-regulatory and cellular certifications — with ease-of-use and the smallest form factor ever seen in the cellular industry to date. According to the company, the module has up to three times smaller footprint than other solutions on the market and a lower external bill of materials (BoM).
The module features 23 dBm output power and a -108dBm sensitivity receiver in the 700MHz-2.2GHz range. It also has a throughput of up to 360kbps with LTE-M and 60kbps for NB-IoT.
Nordic said it worked with Qorvo as a strategic partner for both the RF front end and the SiP development and manufacturing. The nRF91 Series supports global operation with a single SiP variant is a result of the combination of Nordic’s multimode LTE-M / NB-IoT modem, SAW-less transceiver and a custom RF front-end solution from Qorvo.
With security becoming increasingly a critical consideration in IoT systems, the company says it needed to have a processor with a built-in security platform.