Compact Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi module for demanding customer applications

10-05-2022 | U-Blox | Semiconductors

u-blox has released the NORA-W10 Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth low energy 5.0 module. The module targets applications in harsh industrial environments, where reliable RF performance and small size are crucial, and medical equipment, smart city solutions, and warehouse and retail applications.

The device is the successor of the NINA-W10 module, with key feature additions including Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.0, improved RF performance, built-in high-capacity flash memory, and low power consumption. The compact module builds on the Espressif ES32-S3 chipset, which includes a powerful dual-core MCU with AI hardware acceleration able to enable speech and face recognition applications at the edge. It provides a wide variety of hardware interfaces, including USB, CAN, SDIO, and display and camera interfaces.

Presenting single-band 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 (802.11b/g/n), it targets lower-end Wi-Fi segments that do not need the higher performance of higher-priced Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 modules. With robust Wi-Fi connectivity in the field and data rates sufficient for numerous industrial applications, Wi-Fi 4 is expected to be the most widely employed Wi-Fi technology in IoT applications until at least 2025 and stay on this level for the foreseeable future.

Even when communicating over Wi-Fi, it can concurrently transmit data over Bluetooth low energy 5.0, which provides data rates up to 2Mbps or, using Bluetooth Long Range, can enhance signal propagation distances up to four-fold compared to standard Bluetooth LE. Bluetooth mesh support extends achievable coverage still further by relaying messages from node to node until they reach their intended destination.

The module’s AI capabilities make it perfect for edge-hosted face and voice recognition used by digital assistance and smart home and smart office solutions.

“NORA-W10’s vast feature set makes it a strong contender for demanding applications requiring Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.0 in a broad range of markets. We are excited to see how product developers leverage the ES32-S3’s dual-core MCU in combination with the high RF performance enabled by our careful module design,” says Magnus Johansson, Product Strategy, Short Range Radio, at u-blox.

Many of the module’s distinguishing features emanate from its design. The module measures 10.4mm x 14.3mm x 1.8mm, comes with a PCB trace antenna or antenna pins and provides superior RF performance over comparable solutions on the market. And pin/pad compatibility across the NORA module family allows product developers to address multiple market segments using the same PCB design.

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