nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC now has ZigBee support

Introducing Zigbee support to its nRF52840 multi-protocol SoC further extends Nordic Semiconductor’s low power, short range connectivity portfolio, which includes solutions for Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth mesh, and Thread.

The first engineering release is available now, with a production grade Zigbee 3.0-certified release planned for the second half of 2018.

The introduction of Zigbee support expands Nordic’s portfolio of mesh networking products for smart home, enterprise, and industry. As with Nordic’s other mesh solutions, the nRF52840 SoC with the S140 v6.0 SoftDevice (or stack) can support concurrent Zigbee and Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy operation.

Nordic’s multi-protocol nRF52840 SoC enables users to take advantage of several wireless technologies in a smart, connected project. Examples include interaction with a Zigbee smart lighting network from a smartphone via Bluetooth 5, or a Zigbee security network using Bluetooth beacons for location identification. The software development kit includes examples including concurrent operation of Zigbee and Bluetooth 5 for a smart light bulb and switch.

Zigbee is a global, standards-based wireless solution that takes advantage of the IEEE 802.15.4 PHY and operates globally in 2.4GHz unlicensed bands (and other frequency bands in some geographical zones). Raw data throughput rates of 250kbit per second can be achieved at 2.4GHz (16 channels) and transmission distances range from 10 to 100 meters, depending on power output and environmental characteristics. The technology supports large mesh networks (which allow nodes to relay messages to other nodes) and low power operation for extending battery life.

The Zigbee Alliance states that the technology is a global, standards-based wireless solution that can conveniently and affordably control the widest range of devices to improve comfort, security, and convenience for consumers. The technology is used by service providers, installers and retailers bringing the benefits of the IoT into the smart home.

Geir Langeland, Nordic’s director of sales and marketing says: “Zigbee is one of those leading standards, particularly in the home and industrial automation sector, so we are pleased to soon offer a certified, concurrent support solution for Zigbee and Bluetooth 5 on our high-end multi-protocol chip to provide developers with complete flexibility in their wireless IoT designs.”

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