NXP combines three protocols on one chip

  • January 10, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Dutch electronics company NXP Semiconductors announced at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas what is claimed to be the industry’s first secure tri-radio device to support the Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 802.15.4 protocols.

The IW612 enables seamless, secure connectivity for smart home, automotive and industrial use cases, and supports the Matter connectivity protocol.

The device frees consumers from the restrictions of single protocol ecosystems, allowing them to enjoy seamless interoperability across different ecosystems and wireless network technologies. Additionally, developers benefit from NXP’s coexistence capability, which enables simultaneous support of three radios on a single device, reducing costs and development time.

“With the IW612, developers can leverage different wireless connectivity protocols on a single device to create an easy-to-use, secure product for smart home, industrial and automotive use cases,” said Larry Olivas, vice president of NXP Semiconductors. “From door locks and smart speakers to in-vehicle entertainment and telematics, products can now benefit from our tri-radio that addresses multiple technologies and ecosystems, including Matter. This provides developers with a more cost-effective solution while streamlining deployment for the consumer.”

One of the primary challenges facing the IoT is limited interoperability, which can restrict the consumer’s ability to mix smart home products from different companies. Matter, a standardised IoT connectivity protocol, designed by a consortium of companies including NXP, addresses these limitations by unifying how devices communicate, independent of the manufacturer or wireless technology. The protocol creates more connections between more objects, thereby simplifying development for manufacturers and compatibility for consumers.

To support interoperability, it integrates three connectivity radios onto one device, delivering robust radio performance and integrating a high-performance RF front end. This combination enables true interoperability in the smart home, reducing development time, simplifying design and reducing costs. The integration overcomes hardware co-existence problems that developers face today, while enabling security protocols to help thwart the ever-increasing number of security threats faced by the IoT.

It provides secure boot, debug and over-the-air firmware updates for ongoing protection, as well as WPA3 security and hardware encryption engines.

“Interoperability has been a key challenge that has fragmented the smart home market for years, but Matter-enabled devices can change that,” said Jonathan Collins, research director at ABI Research. “With its new monolithic devices, NXP enables developers to leverage Matter-supported connectivity protocols for their smart home applications and help accelerate Matter adoption. This, in turn, will provide consumers with improved useability by making smart devices easier to connect and greater choice among the interoperable devices they can use.”

The IW612 is suitable for border routers, bridges and gateways in the smart home that require connecting Thread or Bluetooth devices to the cloud using the integrated Wifi 6 radio. Additionally, it enables communication between Matter devices regardless of whether the devices use wifi or Thread. This allows Matter-over-wifi products to control and monitor Matter-over-Thread devices, and vice versa, for seamless interoperability.