By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
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Nordic Semiconductor – a world leading vendor of semiconductors for ultra-low power wireless IoT – today announced the release of their first ever Wi-Fi-capable chip. The Wi-Fi 6 chip is specifically designed to be used alongside Nordic Semiconductor’s existing Bluetooth LE and cellular IoT chipset products. The strategy is to leverage the company’s strong market position in Bluetooth LE to enter the highly competitive Wi-Fi IoT market for sensors and other low-power devices, Nordic Semiconductor says.
Norway-based IoT chipset leader Nordic Semiconductor this week announced the release of their first ever Wi-Fi chip – a Wi-Fi 6 product designed specifically to deliver Wi-Fi connectivity for ultra-low power IoT devices such as sensors. The nRF7002 chip is a complement to the company’s already highly successful family of Bluetooth LE products and is a ‘companion chip’ intended to work alongside – for example – the company’s existing Bluetooth LE SoCs.
The dual-band chip embodies a subset of the full Wi-Fi 6 feature set but of course includes the features that matter most to ultra-low power IoT: Targeted Wait Time (TWT), OFDMA, and 20 MHz channels delivering up to 69 Mbps of data rate with 64QAM. Nordic Semiconductor is quick to point out that the company now supports “all wireless protocols used in Matter: Bluetooth LE for device commissioning (onboarding), Thread for low power mesh, and Wi-Fi for high-throughput,” Nordic Semiconductor says.
So why is Nordic Semiconductor getting into the fiercely competitive market for Wi-Fi IoT chips? The straight-forward answer is that customers have been asking for such a solution, the company says. But there are – of course – also overarching strategic reasons for embracing Wi-Fi.
Being well-entrenched within the world of Bluetooth LE and cellular IoT the company now has an adjacent and closely related connectivity growth segment to pursue. “Many of our customers use Bluetooth LE to onboard their Wi-Fi IoT devices. And more than that, Wi-Fi delivers the high throughput performance that many IoT devices need today,” said Kjetil Holstad, Director of Product Management at Nordic Semiconductor, during an interview from February this year.
No doubt the finalisation of the new Matter standard (expected to happen by end of this year) also weights heavily on the current strategic thinking of Nordic Semiconductor. Matter is a new top-level IoT protocol intended to simplify and unify the world of IoT – both for consumers and device developers – including for the first time facilitating interoperability between IoT devices and hubs (APs) provided by different manufacturers.
Most importantly Matter is supported by a raft of industry giants including Apple, Google, Amazon, and many more. The protocol therefore represents – at least in theory – an enormous market reach and matching income potential. Matter is by many industry experts expected to foster even more growth within the IoT device and networking segment, initially for smart home devices but in time also for enterprise-grade systems including industrial applications.
Announcement: At Wi-Fi NOW we’re delighted to welcome Nordic Semiconductor as our Official IoT Partner – which means we will be showcasing Nordic Semiconductor’s solutions all through this year and next. Watch this space for more information.
Want to know more? Meet Nordic Semiconductor in person at the Wi-Fi World Congress Stockholm this September 26-28 – for more information and registration click here.