Freescale Semiconductor has unveiled a wireless, multi-protocol addition to its popular Kinetis microcontroller (MCU) family, bringing the latest connectivity standards to an MCU platform that has played an essential role in shaping and enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) to date. A world leader in MCU innovation, Freescale introduces the Kinetis KW40Z wireless MCU family with support for Bluetooth Smart/Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and IEEE 802.15.4 applications.
The KW40Z wireless MCU integrates a 2.4 GHz multi-protocol radio that provides the ability to access one BLE network and one 802.15.4 network from a single device while achieving strong RF performance and low current consumption. The low-power radio runs in receive mode at 6.5mA with excellent co-existence characteristics, and provides years of operation on standard coin cell batteries. An integrated DC/DC converter configurable for buck or boost operation optimizes power consumption, and the MCU also incorporates a high precision DAC and a 16-bit ADC for highly accurate sensor measurement for wireless sensor networks.
Freescale support for the KW40Z MCU family includes a comprehensive software package that helps speed and simplify development for customers. It includes a royalty-free Freescale BLE host stack with 20 GATT profiles and is fully compliant to the BLE 4.1 specification. In addition, the BLE stack is planned to support the upcoming Bluetooth Smart Mesh networking protocol. The KW40Z MCU family also includes an 802.15.4 MAC layer as the foundation for ZigBee 3.0 and the highly anticipated Thread IP-based mesh networking protocol. All stacks support over-the-air firmware updates and are fully integrated into the Kinetis software development kit (SDK) with support for multiple RTOS options, including FreeRTOS and Freescale MQX.
“The KW40Z MCU family reinforces Freescale’s MCU technology leadership and adds the very latest in BLE and 802.15.4 solutions for the IoT space including silicon, software and reference designs,” said Emmanuel Sambuis, director of MCUs for Freescale’s Microcontroller group. “Our first of many BLE-enabled products provides customers the multi-protocol functionality and secure connectivity they need to connect and control products in multiple markets, helping the Internet of Things realize its potential.”
The BLE and 802.15.4 protocols are increasingly important to the continued evolution of the IoT. Demand continues to grow for power-efficient BLE functionality in the health and fitness wearables market, which includes fast-growing product categories such as smart watches, beacons and portable accessories that communicate with consumer’s smartphones and other wireless devices. Meanwhile, the 802.15.4 standard has been widely adopted as the premier ultra-low power, low-cost, mesh networking technology for home automation applications, with the possibility of more growth ahead due to increased adoption in commercial and industrial applications such as lighting and building automation. With a capability to reach extended temperature ranges from -40 degrees C up to 105 degrees C, the new KW40Z family is an ideal choice for applications with increasingly rugged operating requirements.
“There is a clear trend toward connectivity across a broad range of markets with low-power protocol stacks predicted to exhibit very strong growth,” said Tom Hackenberg, Embedded Processing Principal Analyst with IHS Technology. “Low-power connectivity isn’t specific to consumer wearable devices, but as these devices proliferate, growing interest in smart building and home automation applications will spark new opportunities linking a wider variety of networks and devices. A robust development platform including a microcontroller that can support the Bluetooth and 802.15.4 connectivity protocols can keep product line development overhead down, as well as open the door to a host of future emerging Internet of Things applications.”
Alpha samples of the KW40Z wireless MCU are available now with a Beta program launching in August 2015.
Source: Freescale Semiconductor