Product Releases

Low-energy connectivity IC adds power-saving features

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 6:55am
nRF8001Oslo, Norway - December 6, 2011 - Nordic Semiconductor ASA today announces that an enhanced revision of its nRF8001 Bluetooth 4.0 low energy Connectivity IC will further extend the current device's class-leading power-saving performance and benefit from an upgraded Bluetooth core software stack.

The revision - which will be called the nRF8001 'Build D' and is already sampling to selected leading customers - is fully drop-in compatible (hardware and software) with the current Nordic nRF8001 (Build C) ensuring a smooth migration path for existing customers. The new power saving features and enhanced Bluetooth stack (see below) are easily accessible through an expanded Application Controller Interface (ACI) command set that can be used by extending existing application code.

The nRF8001 Build D includes all Bluetooth core stack features required for the newly adopted Bluetooth low energy human interface device (HID) profile. This makes the nRF8001 an ideal solution for emerging Bluetooth low energy wireless PC peripherals and advanced navigational remotes for connected TV and set-top boxes (STB).

"The additional features in the new Build D revision of the nRF8001 represent a major enhancement in both power consumption and the type of application our customers can cover with this IC," comments Nordic's Product Manager, Thomas Embla Bonnerud. "The new power saving features put the nRF8001's power consumption into a different league to its competitors, and the Bluetooth core stack enhancements have further extended its application potential.

"For existing customers, migrating to this new revision is a 'no-brainer', it is completely drop-in compatible, and will serve to further extend the class-leading power consumption performance they will already be enjoying in their end product application."

Nordic nRF8001 Build D samples and updated Development Kits are available from today to all customers. Volume production is scheduled for February 2012.

The nRF8001 Build D will include two primary power saving features:

Dynamic Window Limiting

With its on-chip ±250ppm 32kHz crystal oscillator, the nRF8001 is the only Bluetooth low energy solution on the market today that enables power-constrained applications to be implemented without an external 32kHz crystal. This represents a significant Bill-of-Material (BoM) and board space reduction compared to competing solutions that require an external crystal.

However, for the current (Build C) version of the nRF8001 there was a potential power consumption penalty of running on the internal ±250ppm 32kHz RC oscillator versus an more accurate (typically ±20ppm) external crystal for connection intervals of longer than about 1s (below 1s the difference was negligible).

The new Dynamic Window Limiting feature in nRF8001 Build D mitigates this penalty - running on the ±250ppm 32kHz RC oscillator will consume similar amounts of power to running on an external ±20ppm crystal over the entire (sub-1s and >1s) connection interval range.

Crucially, Dynamic Window Limiting does not depend on any special features in the peer device, meaning it will offer the same performance benefits when communicating with any manufacturer's Bluetooth v4.0 IC.

Application Latency

Application Latency is a new featurethat reduces latency for data from the central to the peripheral device in a connection using slave latency. The reduced latency means that developers can take advantage of higher slave latency while at the same time meeting all required data latency requirements, yet achieve power savings of up to 30 percent.

As with Dynamic Window Limiting, Application Latency does not depend on any special features in the peer device, meaning it will offer the same performance benefits when communicating with any manufacturer's Bluetooth v4.0 IC.

Bluetooth core stack enhancements

The Bluetooth core stack enhancements in the nRF8001 Build D include:
support for authenticated pairing while in bonding mode; application initiation of security request while in bonding mode; broadcast of data, plus Direct Advertising. These enhancements are further supported by a range of new ACI features including: RX Ack (local) Pipe type; Auto Acknowledgement (local and remote); CloseRemotePipe command, and a TX power setting in Active mode.



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