Oslo, Norway - December 15, 2006 - Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announced the introduction of a reference design for low cost USB dongle wireless headsets used in PC-based VoIP applications such as SkypeTM.
The nRD24V1 reference design is based on Nordic Semiconductor's industry proven nRF24L01 ultra low power 2 Mbit/s, 2.4 GHz proprietary transceiver and enables accelerated, low risk development. The kit combines Nordic Semiconductor's industry proven silicon with its applications expertise to provide a complete PC wireless headset solution for Voice-over-IP (VoIP).
Benefits of the nRD24V1 reference design include 70-hour headset battery talk-times from a pair of coin cell batteries, a range of up 10 m, a plug-and-play Audio class USB dongle, and a robust RF link and globally applicable design thanks to the industry-proven nRF24L01 transceiver that operates in the global 2.4 GHz ISM band.
The reference design includes all necessary hardware and software. On the hardware side is an nRF24L01 2.4 GHz transceiver, an 8-bit microcontroller and a codec - all integrated into a compact, standalone headset RF module. The latter is mounted on a headset application board featuring buttons for call management and a battery holder. Since the RF module integrates all critical functions, re-using the supplied RF module allows simple development of different headset design concepts.
On the receiver side is a production ready USB dongle comprising integrated nRF24L01 transceiver, 8-bit microcontroller, Audio class USB controller and low cost PCB antenna. Because the dongle supports the standard Audio class, no customer driver is necessary for operation of the headset. All design files, including layout, schematics and a bill-of-material (BOM) is included in the kit. The design is also pre-tested for FCC/ETSI and USB compliance.
The software includes a unique RF protocol optimized for two-way voice application. The protocol features an advanced, agile frequency-hopping scheme providing excellent co-existence performance with other 2.4 GHz systems such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cordless phones. In addition the protocol uses a special dual frequency diversity technique to ensure good link quality without using an additional antenna.
Support for control data transfer is built into the protocol enabling easy implementation of call management using, for example, SkypeTM. The protocol is implemented as a standalone software module providing a simple and intuitive API to the application layer. This means developers can easily modify and enhance the provided application code without having to handle a complex RF protocol. All software is provided as ANSI-C source code.
"The cost efficiency, low power and high data rate of the nRF24L01 make it a very attractive solution for 2-way voice quality data streaming - especially in PC peripherals such as wireless VoIP headsets," says Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Worldwide Director of Sales and Marketing. "The big challenge has really been in the protocol side, ensuring good link quality, low latency and call management functions while maintaining low power and cost. With the nRD24V1 reference design we have now solved this challenge with a unique and advanced RF protocol optimized for the nRF24L01 transceiver that can achieve an impressive 70 hours of wireless headset talk-time from just two coin cell batteries."
Price and availability
Price per kit is USD $299. Estimated shipping date is February 15, 2007.
About the nRF24L01
The nRF24L01 is an ultra-low power and cost 2.4-GHz transceiver. It is designed to merge high-speed communications with ultra low power. Compared to competing 2.4-GHz technologies, typical battery lifetime improvement ratios are between 15 to 600x (or more).
The device is designed specifically to resist interference in crowded 2.4 GHz environments employing GFSK modulation (frequency hopping across up to 80 channels with a channel switching time of 130 µs). The nRF24L01 utilizes Enhanced ShockBurstTM in both receive and transmit modes to simplify operational protocol and software design, minimize power consumption and allow the use of a less expensive microcontroller. It can transmit at up to 0 dBm output power with a maximum date rate of 2 Mbit/s.
The nRF24L01 consists of a fully integrated frequency synthesizer, a power amplifier, crystal oscillator, demodulator, modulator and Enhanced ShockBurstTM protocol engine. It requires few external components and no external SAW filter, reducing BOM cost and PCB area.
The nRF24L01 has MultiCeiverTM technology for simultaneous support for up to six wireless devices. Power supply range is 1.9 to 3.6 V and supply current is just 11 mA peak (TX) at -0 dBm output power (dropping to 7 mA peak (TX) at -18 dBm output power). In receive mode (RX) supply current is 12.5 mA when receiving at 2 Mbit/s simultaneously on six data pipes. The nRF24L01 comes in a compact 20-pin QFN20 4 x 4mm package, offers. It includes 40-bit address support and 16-bit CRC data validity detection. Operating temperature range is -40 to +85 ºC.
Prime applications include wireless mouse, keyboards and joysticks, wireless headsets, intelligent sports equipment (e.g. wrist watches and associated sensors), remote control devices and Personal Area Networks (PANs).
About Nordic Semiconductor ASA
Nordic Semiconductor ASA's activities and profile are founded on design expertise and experience amassed since the company was founded in 1983. The company was formed as a spin-off from Trondheim, Norway-based SINTEF, a company that had been working on IC design since the 1970s. In 1994 Nordic Semiconductor was expanded to include component sales as well as design.
The company has grown steadily each year since and is now a renowned fabless semiconductor company specializing in class-leading wireless communication solutions in the license-free Industrial, Scientific & Medical (ISM) parts of the spectrum. Nordic Semiconductor is also a world leader in high-speed data converters.
The company's innovative range of wireless solutions includes:
- The nRF905TM single-chip multiband radio transceiver for the 433-, 868- or 915MHz ISM band;
- The nRF9E5TM low-cost, single-chip system with fully integrated RF transceiver for the 433-, 868- or 915MHz ISM band;
- " The nRF2401ATM and nRF2402TM compact, lowest cost, lowest current consumption and low voltage supply 2.4GHz RF transceivers;
- The nRF24E1TM and nRF24E2TM low cost transceivers paired with the industry standard 8051 MCU core and leading peripherals to create the world's first complete low cost SoCs for global 2.4GHz operation;
- The nRF24Z1TM single chip system for CD quality audio streaming of up to16 bit, 48 kHz audio;
- The nRF24AP1TM ultra-low power 2.4GHz transceiver for wireless communication with Dynastream Innovation's production-proven low-power network protocol, ANT;
- The nRF24L01TM ultra-low cost and power 2.4GHz transceiver with MultiCeiver" technology supporting simultaneous communications with up to six wireless devices.
The 2.4 GHz transceiver and transmitter devices are targeted at applications such as wireless audio, gamepads, wireless desktops, intelligent sports equipment and advanced multimedia solutions such as Voice over IP (VoIP).
Nordic Semiconductor's mission is to be a leader in short-range, low-power radio communication and high-speed data converters, delivering "turnkey" components, which offer customers an entire System on Chip (SoC). By employing innovative technology and advanced circuit solutions on prefabricated modules the company targets international markets through a global sales network of leading distribution companies.
Nordic Semiconductor's products are all manufactured in ultra modern semiconductor process technologies through strong relationships with world-leading foundries. Sales are primarily made through a carefully selected worldwide distribution network.
The company has offices in Trondheim and Oslo in Norway, Hong Kong, Korea, the US, and Japan, and is listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange (OSX: NOD). All operations are managed according to the ISO 9001:2000-approved quality assurance system. Nordic Semiconductor ASA aims to yield long-term profitability on shareholders' investments and be perceived as an attractive investment in the growth market of short-range wireless communication.