Nordic Semiconductor’s 2.4 GHz transceiver enables high-performance wireless USB dongles

Nordic Semiconductor's single-chip 2.4-GHz transceiver enables ultra-compact, high performance USB dongles for wireless peripherals by providing a true single chip solution in a 5x5mm QFN package.

The nRF24LU1 delivers full on-chip security and integrates seamlessly with 2.4 GHz peripherals based on the company's ultra-low-power nRF24L01 transceiver. The solution does not interoperate with standard-based wireless USB protocols. Nordic's proprietary Enhanced ShockBurst hardware link layer provides the interface for both transceivers.

The nRF24LU1 provides native support for up to five bidirectional ultra-low power wireless peripherals communicating simultaneously via a single, full-speed USB 2.0-compliant dongle.

A full suite of development tools is available for low-cost designs based on the nRF24LU1. The suite includes a production-ready USB dongle Reference Design, full Software Development Kit and a complete Hardware Development Kit.

According to Nordic, the nRF24LU1 establishes new industry benchmarks in three key areas:

  • Size: The nRF24LU1 is a true single chip wireless solution for USB dongles. It requires no external voltage regulator and can be powered directly from the USB bus using an internal voltage regulator. The transcever also generates all necessary clocks from a single 16MHz external crystal, which eliminates the need for the second crystal used in a two-chip approach. The nRF24LU1's internal 16 kbytes of flash can also be used to emulate non-volatile memory, removing the need for an external EEPROM thus reducing PCB area and cost, and enabling the development of ultra-compact USB dongles.
  • Performance: The nRF24LU1 delivers a full-speed USB 12-Mb/s PC-to-USB transfer rate and a 2 Mbps air data rate.
  • Security: The nRF24LU1 integrates an on-chip hardware AES encryption co-processor that provides industry standard data encryption and decryption at the application level. It also employs 16 kbytes of on-chip flash memory that features fully configurable write and readback protection thus offering complete protection from any reverse engineering or tear-down analysis.

“The size of the USB dongle is becoming a key differentiator in the wireless PC peripheral market,” says Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Product Manager for Standard Components with Nordic Semiconductor. “As a true single chip solution, the nRF24LU1 is ideal for implementing extremely compact dongles. The chip also meets the performance requirement for very advanced PC peripherals like media center remote controls and 3-in-1 desktop bundles comprising mouse, keyboard and remote control.”

To shorten design development cycles, the nRF24LU1 is being launched simultaneously with a full range of supporting development tools.

The following tools are announced simultaneously to support the Nordic nRF24LU1:

The nRF24LU1 Reference Design (product code: nRF24LU1-DONGLE) is a production ready reference design for a compact USB dongle for wireless peripherals using the nRF24LU1 chip. It integrates the nRF24LU1, a low cost PCB antenna, a 16MHz crystal and all required passives in a 12x32mm form factor that includes the USB connector. The reference design is FCC/ETSI compliant and USB compliant.

The nRF24LU1 Development Kit (nRF24LU1-DK) is a complete platform for evaluation and hardware development for the nRF24LU1. It includes basic feature boards, radio modules, programming adaptors and a PC software suite for configuration and evaluation.

The nRF24LU1 Software Development Kit (nRF24LU1-SDK) provides a complete platform for application development on the nRF24LU1. It includes Keil Vision IDE integration, qualified USB 2.0 device stack firmware, complete RF protocol stack, hardware abstraction layers and a flash programming application. The SDK offers seamless integration with both the Development Kit and Reference Design described above, providing two alternative off-the-shelf hardware platforms for application development.

The nRF24LU1 is priced very competitively at USD 1.95 in 10K unit shipments. Engineering samples of nRF24LU1 are widely available today, and volume shipments commence November 2007. Reference Design and Development Kits will start shipping from Nordic Semiconductor in early September 2007.

More information is available at www.

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