u-blox has released the NORA-W3 module series that extend its Wi-Fi stand-alone module portfolio, making the dual-band ability available for the first time in this compact form factor. This series targets market segments covering healthcare, HVAC, EV charging, energy management, professional grade power tools, industrial sensing and monitoring applications.
The new NORA-W3 modules include dual band Wi-Fi 4 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth LE 5 based upon a Realtek Ameba chipset. The modules offer u-connectXpress to simplify the task of integration for designers, only needing the usage of high-level AT commands. Despite the small size, they also incorporate two MCUs: an Arm Cortex-M33 compatible, 200MHz as the main MCU, and an Arm Cortex®-M23 compatible, 20MHz for low power operation. This system enables the complete communication firmware to run on the module. To smoothen the integration process further, NORA-W3 comes with the option to employ an embedded antenna.
By offering dual-band Wi-Fi and BLE, the modules provide a robust Wi-Fi connection in the field, partly due to the capability of operating in the less congested 5GHz band while the BLE capability provides ease of use and installation. The inclusion of u‑connectXpress notably reduces software effort by removing the requirement for competence in embedded Wi-Fi and BLE, thereby enabling solutions to be supplied to the market more rapidly.
The small size of the modules (measuring only 14.3mm x 10.4 mm x 1.9mm) makes them ideal for space-constrained designs – especially as a high-performance embedded antenna is included within this envelope. The modules series are supplied in two variants. The NORA-W36 with the u-connectXpress software easing the integration into the end-product, or the NORA-W30 with an open CPU architecture, enabling customers to run their own applications right on the modules.
“Realtek looks for strong IoT partners to bring increased functionality to our line of IoT products, especially in industry 4.0 and medical fields. The u-blox's NORA-W3 modules including 4 MB flash bring ultra-low power, tiny size, high security IoT solutions with an easy and open development environment to customers. Adding Wi-Fi dual-band and Bluetooth connectivity to a global IoT ecosystem offers an excellent user experience to customers. Combined with Realtek Ameba IoT SoC, the NORA-W3 modules are the perfect solutions for consumer electronics, medical, and industrial IoT applications,” says Realtek’s vice president and spokesman, Yee-Wei Huang.
“Connectivity is increasingly important in an ever-growing number of applications and, as new companies enter this sphere, they may not have extensive experience in embedded wireless. Our new NORA-W3 modules deliver dual-band capability to overcome congestion and include Bluetooth LE for convenience while containing software that allows for easy installation,” says Erik Carlberg, senior product manager at u-blox.