Updated Nordic nRF Connect SDK adds significant improvements for Bluetooth LE, LE Audio, Thread, and cellular IoT prototype development

nRF Connect SDK

nRF Connect SDK, Nordic’s unified SDK for its short-range wireless and cellular IoT product portfolio, now includes full stack support for Bluetooth 5.3, Thread 1.2, Trusted Firmware-M, and Zephyr LwM2M v1.1 among other key enhancements

Nordic Semiconductor today announces a significant upgrade of its nRF Connect SDK [Software Development Kit]. nRF Connect SDK v2.0.0 includes several key enhancements to help developers working with Nordic’s nRF52 and nRF53 Series multiprotocol short-range wireless Systems-on-Chip (SoCs), and the nRF91 Series LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular IoT System-in-Package (SiP).

nRF Connect SDK is Nordic’s scalable and unified SDK for building products based on the nRF52, nRF53, and nRF91 Series wireless devices. It offers developers a framework for building size-optimized software for memory-constrained devices as well as powerful and complex software for more advanced devices and applications. The SDK integrates the Zephyr real-time operating system (RTOS) and a wide range of samples, application protocols, protocol stacks, libraries, and hardware drivers. 

nRF Connect SDK v2.0.0 brings some major enhancements to the development software. Chief among these are Bluetooth 5.3 qualified LE [Low Energy] RF protocol software stack, support for Thread 1.2, Trusted Firmware M (TF-M), and Zephyr LwM2M 1.1. The version 2.0.0 release also brings simplified software license report generation for any nRF Connect SDK project. 

The nRF Connect SDK enables developers to pick and choose the components for their application, thus reducing memory requirements and development time
Krzysztof Loska, Nordic Semiconductor

In addition to these major enhancements, the release of nRF Connect SDK brings other capabilities that will enable developers to design better IoT products more quickly. For example, the SDK now includes experimental support for LE Audio including an application for the nRF5340 Audio DK, Nordic’s LE Audio development kit. The SDK also includes obstructed satellite visibility detection for GNSS which stops the satellite fix process when it looks like observations difficulties will increase power consumption. Other new features include nRF Cloud Location Services support in the AVSystem's Coiote LwM2M server, improved DFU [device firmware update] over Bluetooth LE, and support for Zigbee Cluster Library specification v8 (ZCL 8) and Base Device Behavior specification v3.0.1 (BDB 3.0.1).

Finally, while the nRF Connect SDK is Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) agnostic, the default has changed in v2.0.0 to Visual Studio Code (VS Code). VS Code is a fast, cross-platform and popular IDE. Nordic’s nRF Connect for VS Code extension pack turns VS Code into a complete IDE for developing applications for nRF52, nRF53, and nRF91 Series devices on Windows, macOS, or Linux.

The SDK has been used by key vendors such as AirBolt, BeST SENSOR, Eve, HooRii, IRNAS, iSiTech, and MD Hearing to design and develop cellular IoT and short-range wireless products. The nRF Connect SDK is also a favorite of hobbyists and makers who previously had limited experience with such comprehensive development tools. The recent “Make it Smart with Nordic Thingy:91” Electromaker competition resulted in some notable innovations designed using Nordic’s SDK and the Nordic Thingy:91.

“The nRF Connect SDK offers a single code base for all our devices and software components and enables developers to pick and choose the essential components for their application, thus reducing memory requirements and development time,” says Krzysztof Loska, Technical Product Manager, Nordic Semiconductor. “That’s why the SDK has quickly become the definitive software development platform for Nordic’s wireless IoT product range.”

“This latest release reinforces that position by ensuring the code base is up-to-date with key software enhancements for popular protocols such as Bluetooth LE, Thread, Zigbee, and LwM2M plus functional improvements for LE Audio and GNSS applications.”

Bluetooth 5.3 is the latest revision of the Bluetooth specification. Thread 1.2 is a stepping-stone towards enabling Matter over Thread. It brings low power enhancements, like newly introduced Synchronized Sleepy End Device role, and better support for large commercial deployments. nRF Connect SDK v2.0 provides complete support for Thread 1.2 on nRF52 and nRF53 Series by providing Thread 1.2 certification compliant libraries.TF-M is the default secure firmware image for most nRF9160 and nRF5340 applications and replaces Secure Partition Manager (SPM). LwM2M [Lightweight Machine to Machine] is an Internet Protocol (IP)-interoperable device management protocol for IoT products. LwM2M v1.1 brings additional capabilities to the protocol which provide extended commands and options for more efficient data transmission.

Nordic’s nRF Connect SDK v2.0.0 is available for download, here. The company will host a technical webinar introducing the SDK’s new features on June 8, 2022. 

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