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Nordic Semiconductor, a Norwegian fabless semiconductor company specializing in wireless communication technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), has pioneered ultra-low power wireless communication with its award-winning Bluetooth Low Energy solutions, making it the global market leader. Gradually, ANT+, Thread and Zigbee were added to the technology portfolio, and in 2018 Nordic Semiconductor launched its compact low-power LTE-M/NB-IoT wireless solutions to expand the penetration of IoT. Finally, in 2021, Wi-Fi technology was added to the portfolio.

Now the nRF54L15, the first system-on-chip (SoC) in the nRF54L series, is the next innovation. This is a Bluetooth 5.4 SoC with extremely low power consumption, a new, first-class multi-protocol radio and enhanced security functions. The nRF54L series is designed to take the popular nRF52 series to the next level with outstanding processing power and efficiency, expanded memory and new peripherals, all in a more compact form factor.

The nRF54L15 SoC integrates a 128 megahertz Arm Cortex-M33 processor, doubling the computing power of the nRF52840 while reducing power consumption. It has 1.5 megabytes of non-volatile memory and 256 kilobytes of RAM - more than enough to run multiple wireless protocols simultaneously. The nRF54L15 is designed for PSA Certified Level 3, the highest PSA-certified IoT security standard. It offers security services such as Secure Boot, Secure Firmware Update and Secure Storage. The integrated tamper sensors can detect attacks and take appropriate action, while the cryptographic accelerators are hardened against side-channel attacks.

The best-in-class multi-protocol radio, according to Nordic Semiconductor, is said to offer improved robustness and greater range with up to eight decibels milliwatts TX power (in one decibel increments) and -98 decibels milliwatts RX sensitivity for one megabit per second Bluetooth Low Energy. The radio features a new four megabits per second data rate option for proprietary 2.4 GHz protocols with improved throughput, efficiency and latency. It supports Bluetooth Low Energy and all Bluetooth 5.4 features and is designed to support upcoming Bluetooth specifications. Protocols such as Bluetooth Mesh, Thread and Matter are also supported.

The radio power consumption for both TX and RX is significantly reduced compared to the nRF52 series. For example, the radio RX current is halved compared to nRF52840 (when operating with a 1.8 volt DC power supply), resulting in significant energy savings and enabling more compact batteries or longer battery life. The new Global RTC peripheral can wake the SoC from its deepest sleep mode, eliminating the need for an external RTC and significantly reducing power consumption for applications that are in sleep mode for extended periods of time, which is expected to provide years of battery life.