Wi-Fi

The next generation Nordic solution

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Why Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi was the “number one” requested capability by our customers

As the market leader in Bluetooth Low Energy and the emerging leader in cellular IoT, there has long been a gap in between, which our customers have been asking us to fill. With the nRF70 Series of Wi-Fi companion ICs we deliver ultra-low power Wi-Fi devices with the ease of use and high quality our customers have come to expect from us.

 

Nordic’s Wi-Fi development team

When the perfect opportunity to merge a world-class Wi-Fi development team into our global organization came, we had to take it. We acquired the Wi-Fi development team, core Wi-Fi expertise, and Wi-Fi IP tech assets of Imagination Technologies Group. This Wi-Fi team comes with a proven track record of delivering state-of-the-art Wi-Fi solutions meaning we will be one of the few companies to offer all three of the world’s most popular wireless IoT technologies: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular IoT (both LTE-M and NB-IoT versions).

 

Wi-Fi’s low-power potential

We are excited about the potential synergy between Nordic Semiconductor’s low-power wireless heritage and the latest low power evolution of Wi-Fi that now enables battery-powered IoT devices. We are useing our decades of wireless ultra-low-power expertise and maximize Wi-Fi’s low-power potential in applications such as sensor networks, smart speakers, security cameras, home appliances, robot vacuums, and more.

Introducing the nRF7002

Wi-Fi 6 companion IC

picture of the nRF7002 DK with link to the news storyIn August 2022 we announced our entrance into the Wi-Fi wireless IoT market with the introduction of our eagerly-awaited nRF7002 Wi-Fi 6 IC. 

The nRF7002 is a ’companion IC’ which means it is designed to provide seamless Wi-Fi connectivity and Wi-Fi-based locationing (SSID sniffing of local Wi-Fi hubs) when used alongside Nordic’s existing products. These include the nRF52® and nRF53® Series Bluetooth Systems-on-Chip (SoCs), and Nordic’s nRF91® Series cellular IoT Systems-in-Package (SiPs). The nRF7002 can also be used in conjunction with non-Nordic host devices.

“This is a dream come true for Nordic and its customers.” said CTO, Svein-Egil Nielsen, “We were able to bring our first Wi-Fi chip to market very quickly as a result of acquiring an extremely capable Wi-Fi team alongside a portfolio of Wi-Fi assets that team had already developed.” 

Read the full news release about the nRF7002 

Nordic's first Wi-Fi product

nRF7002 Wi-Fi Companion IC

nRF7002 - Low-power, advanced security, seamless coexistence

2.4GHz and 5GHz Dual-band

Low-power and Secure Wi-Fi for the IoT

Ideal coexistence with Bluetooth LE

Supported in nRF Connect SDK

Wi-Fi 6 Station (STA)

Complies with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax

1 Spatial Stream (SS)

20 MHz channel bandwidth

64 QAM (MCS7), 86 Mbps PHY throughput

OFDMA (Downlink and Uplink)

BSS Coloring

TWT

SPI / QSPI

Co-existence interfaces

Watch the Interview on Nordic's new Wi-Fi Team

Why Nordic is expanding into Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi and Matter

What is Matter?

Matter, the unified application layer standard for connected things at home, aims to make it easy for developers to create a secure and reliable solution. If you need your products to be interoperable with the major smart home ecosystems, Matter is the way to go. These solutions will be integrated with assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa.

Wi-Fi's role in Matter

Wireless Matter devices will use Thread or Wi-Fi for transport and Bluetooth LE for commissioning. These devices need to run Bluetooth LE concurrently to enable adding new devices to a network. While Thread is the most efficient solution for low-power Matter devices, high-throughput applications like smart speakers will require Wi-Fi. Nordic is actively involved and heavily contributing to Matter. We are also a main contributor to the OpenThread stack. This, combined with our knowledge and experience in Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, and more recently Wi-Fi makes us the ideal partner to start developing your applications.

diagram

nRF Connect SDK

Unified development platform for all our wireless technologies

nRF Connect SDK

Familiar development

While we are not mentioning the specific products on this page yet, we can safely say, we work on integrating Wi-Fi into an ecosystem that unifies all our wireless technologies. Our customers will receive the benefits and ease of use, that they have come to expect from Nordic.

RTOS and SDK

Nordic's nRF Connect SDK is our unified software development kit for building applications based on our wireless products. It is a size-optimized software for memory-constrained devices with powerful and complex software for advanced devices and applications. It integrates the Zephyr RTOS and a wide range of samples, application protocols, protocol stacks, libraries, and hardware drivers.

Software and Firmware

The nRF Connect SDK includes all the software and firmware needed to develop the best Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, Zigbee, and soon Wi-Fi Products. nRF Connect SDK offers a single code base for all our wireless devices and software components. It simplifies porting modules, libraries, and drivers from one application to another, thereby lowering development time. We enable developers to pick and choose the essential software components for their applications.

Why Wi-Fi 6 enables IoT

Power limitations

Wi-Fi appears to be the perfect option for wireless networks needing greater range than short-range, low-power protocols, but not the huge of range of the WAN technologies. Closer inspection reveals Wi-Fi has some considerable drawbacks for IoT applications. The first challenge is power consumption. Wi-Fi was designed for high throughput with little regard for power consumption. In contrast, IoT wireless technologies typically try to limit on-air time to extend battery life and hence minimize maintenance.

Interference

Second, Wi-Fi struggles in dense deployment scenarios like busy malls and libraries. For Industrial networks comprising hundreds of sensors, reliability is important.

Orthogonal frequency-division, multiple-access

Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), addresses the shortcomings that have hampered the technology’s widespread adoption for the IoT. Approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance in early 2021, Wi-Fi 6 was designed to meet the requirements of dense deployments, both public and industrial. The new orthogonal frequency-division, multiple-access (OFDMA) feature allows devices to use less than one channel bandwidth, sharing the bandwidth with other devices on the network, also enabling faster response to and from connected units. Where previous versions of Wi-Fi struggled to cope with more than a few sensors, Wi-Fi 6 can comfortably manage large sensor networks comprising hundreds of devices.

Target wake time

Wi-Fi 6 also brings a key technical enhancement for smart-home and -industry applications. Target wake time (TWT) is another technical enhancement to power-saving efforts of prior generations of Wi-Fi. When using TWT, client devices negotiate wake-up times with access points (APs). Therefore, the clients don't need to stay awake to maintain the wireless connection. The benefits are more efficient, contention-free channel access, and significant client-device power savings up to 80%.