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Redpine breaks power barrier for IoT MCU

Steve Rogerson
December 19, 2017

California-based Redpine Signals has introduced what it claims is the industry's lowest-power multi-protocol wireless MCU (WiSe MCU) – the RS14100 – for battery-operated IoT devices.
The company has also launched the RS9116 wireless device, which features multi-protocol wireless connectivity and is available in both hosted (N-Link) and embedded (WiSe Connect) configurations.
These low-power devices build on the success of the company's RS9113 and RS9110 devices, which together have been in production for over a decade and have been deployed by thousands of IoT users worldwide.
"The IoT market requires devices to be always connected to the network, driving the need for ultra-low power connectivity," said Venkat Mattela, CEO of Redpine Signals. “The IoT devices also need to support multiple wireless protocols to connect to the cloud, connecting to other devices as well as provisioning. In addition, security is a major issue for the IoT market, making it critical for device makers to provide multiple levels of security. Redpine's RS14100 and RS9116 have been designed based on these critical IoT market requirements to provide an optimal solution for battery operated devices."
The RS14100 and RS9116 implement multi-protocol wireless connectivity with dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) 802.11abgn wifi, Bluetooth 5 (including long range, high throughput and advertising extensions) and 802.15.4, which can be used for Thread or Zigbee connectivity.
The RS14100 has an Arm Cortex-M4F core, which can operate up to 180MHz and includes up to 4Mbyte of flash for applications. Users can choose from various SoC and module packages based on their system requirements, including the industry's smallest integrated module at 4.6 by 7.8mm.
The WiSe Connect embedded modules provide a throughput of over 90Mbit/s with integrated wireless stacks, wireless profiles and networking stack. N-Link hosted modules interface to processors running Linux, Android or Windows operating systems.
The RS14100 and the RS9116 have a patent-pending big-little architecture at every level including MCU, wifi, Bluetooth 5 and 802.15.4, providing optimised transitions between performance and low-power operating modes. This architecture enables a low wifi standby associated power of less than 50µA, an Arm Cortex-M4F that can provide as low as 15µA/MHz operation, and integrated Bluetooth 5, which has lower power than stand-alone Bluetooth 5 devices.
These low power capabilities are said to enable battery-operated devices such as security cameras, smart locks, video doorbells, fitness bands, industrial sensors and location tags to have over three to four time more battery life than similar products.
The RS14100 is based on a secure-zone architecture with security processor separated from applications processor, PUF (physically unclonable function) based root-of-trust, suite-B crypto hardware accelerators, secure boot, secure firmware upgrade, secure XIP and secure peripherals. It provides high-security levels for applications such as mobile point-of-sale terminals, smart locks, medical devices and secure voice-based ordering.
The RS9116 also provides a subset of these security features relevant for providing wireless connectivity.
The RS14100 includes an always-on sensor-hub with hardware accelerators for voice-activity detection, vector filtering, interpolation and matrix multiplication, sensor data collection, and capacitive touch. This enables applications such as voice triggers for primary battery-operated devices. It also supports a set of digital and analogue peripherals including Can, Ethernet, eMMC, SD Card, op-amp, ADC, DAC and USB OTG.
The RS14100 and the RS9116 SoC and modules are sampling now with volume production starting in spring 2018.