Compact Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE modules have enhanced security

The Nora-W3 series has been added to u-blox’s Wi-Fi standalone module portfolio. The modules make dual-band capability available for the first time in this compact form factor, said u-blox. The modules are suitable for healthcare, HVAC, energy management, EV charging, professional grade power tools and industrial sensing or monitoring applications.

Saturation of Wi-Fi channels in the 2.4GHz band, size constraints, need Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to work in conjunction in order to connect to infrastructure, back-end systems, sensors and mobile devices. There is a balance that needs to be struck between cost and functionality. The Nora-W3 modules comprise dual band Wi-Fi 4 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth LE 5 based upon a Realtek Ameba chipset. 

The modules feature u-connectXpress to simplify the task of integration for designers. This only requires the use of high-level AT commands. The compact modules integrate two microcontrollers, the Arm Cortex-M33-compatible, operating at 200MHz as the main MCU. The second is an Arm Cortex-M23-compatible, operating at 20MHz for low power operation. This system allows the complete communication firmware to run on the module. To ease integration, Nora-W3 comes with the option to use an embedded antenna, said u-blox.

By offering dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, the u-blox 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. The inclusion of u‑connectXpress significantly reduces software effort by removing the need for competence in embedded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, claimed u-blox, allowing designs to be delivered to the market quicker.

The modules offer a wide range of security features including secure boot, encryption, trusted execution environment, authentication and storage that protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorised access.

The Nora-W3 modules measure just 14.3 x 10.4 x 1.9mm, making them suitable for space-constrained designs and includes an embedded antenna within this envelope. 

Nora-W3 is an upgrade, from single to dual band, for customers using u-blox’s Nina-W15 and a smooth transition for those using Odin-W2, said u-blox. The common form factor and pin-out allows simple migration for customers already using, for instance the Nora-W1 and Nora-B1 modules.

There are two variant, the u-blox Nora-W36 with the u-connectXpress software simplifying the integration into the end-product and the u-blox Nora-W30 with an open CPU architecture, allowing customers to run their own applications on the modules.

The Nora-W3 series will be globally certified for use with the internal antenna or a range of external antennas, reducing time, cost and effort for customers integrating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE in their designs.

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