Realtek’s IoT System Integrator Partner u-blox Announces New Compact Dual-Band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE Modules

The NORA-W3 series offers smooth integration and enhanced security features

Realtek Semiconductor Corp., one of the world’s leading network and multimedia IC providers, and ublox, a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies, have announced a new joint development – the ublox NORA-W3 modules – which comprise dual band Wi Fi 4 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth LE 5, based on the Realtek RTL8720DF. This series is aimed at market segments such as HVAC, energy management, EV charging, professional grade power tools, and industrial sensing or monitoring applications.

As connectivity becomes more important in multiple application segments, developers are faced with an increasing number of challenges including saturation of Wi-Fi channels in the 2.4 GHz band, size constraints, need for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE to work in conjunction to connect to infrastructure, back-end systems, sensors and mobile devices.
The Realtek RTL8720DF is a highly integrated single chip with ultra-low-power architecture for IoT (Internet of Things) applications. It combines a Real-M300 CPU (up to 200MHz), Real-M200 CPU (20MHz), 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, Wireless MAC/Baseband/RF, and configurable GPIOs that can function as digital and analog peripherals for various product applications. The RTL8720DF (QFN48, 6x6mm) includes embedded 4MB flash memory to provide an extreme small form factor IoT module.

The NORA-W3 modules feature u-connectXpress to simplify the task of integration for designers, simply requiring the use of high-level AT commands. Despite their small size, the modules also integrate microcontrollers (MCUs) that are capable of running the communication firmware – an Arm® Cortex®-M33 compatible 200MHz is the main MCU with an Arm® Cortex®-M23 compatible running at 20MHz in low power operation. To smooth the integration process, the NORA-W3 comes with the option to use an embedded antenna.

By offering dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, NORA-W3 modules ensure a robust Wi Fi connection in the field, partly due to the ability to operate in the less congested 5GHz band, while the Bluetooth LE capability ensures ease of use and installation. The inclusion of u‑connectXpress significantly reduces software effort by removing the need for competence in embedded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, thereby allowing solutions to be delivered to market more rapidly.

These days it is essential that any connectivity is secure. The modules offer a wide range of security features including secure boot, encryption, trusted execution environment, authentication, and storage that protects sensitive data and prevents unauthorized access.

“Realtek looks for strong IoT partners to bring increased functionality to our line of IoT products, especially in industry 4.0 and medical fields. u-blox NORA-W3 modules bring ultra-low-power, tiny size, high security IoT solutions with an easy and open development environment to customers. Adding Wi-Fi dual band and Bluetooth connectivity with a global IoT ecosystem offers an excellent user experience. Combined with Realtek’s Ameba IoT SoC, the NORA-W3 modules are the perfect solution for consumer electronics, medical, and industrial IoT applications.” said Realtek’s Vice President and Spokesman, Yee-Wei Huang.

“Connectivity is increasingly important in an ever-growing number of applications and, as new companies enter this sphere, they may not have extensive experience in embedded wireless. Our new NORA-W3 modules deliver dual-band capability to overcome congestion and include Bluetooth LE for convenience while containing software that allows for easy installation.” says Erik Carlberg, Senior Product Manager at u-blox.


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