Nordic Semiconductors has introduced the nRF21540TM RF Front End Module (FEM), a power amplifier/low noise amplifier (PA/LNA) product, designed to complement Nordic’s nRF52 and nRF53 series multi-protocol Systems-on-Chip (SoCs). The LNA’s low noise figure (NF) of 2.5 dB ensures increased RX sensitivity for Nordic’s Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE), Thread, Zigbee, and 2.4GHz RF low power wireless solutions. Combining a device with nRF52840, SoC can help the device in a long-range and lower the number of retransmissions due to corrupt packages. It is a valuable addition for applications such as asset tracking, audio, smart home or industrial use cases and all other applications that require an increased range or robust coverage.
Features of nRF21540 RF Range Extender SoC
- 1.7 V to 3.6 V supply range
- -40 °C to +105 °C operating temperature range
- 2.36-2.5 GHz input frequency range
- Highly adjustable TX power boost up to 21dB, with the LNA of 13dB RX gain.
- Supports Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth mesh, Thread and Zigbee (802.15.4) and 2.4 GHz proprietary protocols
- Offers competitive power numbers of 115 mA at TX tuned to +20 dBm, 4.1 mA in RX mode, and 30 nA in power-down mode
- Offered in a 4x4 mm QFN16 package
The nRF21540 is a plug and play complementary device that can be used with Nordic’s short-range wireless SoCs. It can be connected to the SoC’s antenna output and features two additional antenna ports to enable antenna diversity features. The device’s gain control, antenna switching, and power modes are controlled via GPIO or SPI or a combination of both. While the device can be used with other radios, the ease of use with Nordic SoCs is further enhanced as driver support will be rolled out as part of future releases of Nordic’s nRF5 SDK, nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee, and the nRF Connect SDK.
The adjustable output power ensures that the designs can run with output power within 1 dBm of the allowable range across all regions and operating conditions. The power setting can be controlled dynamically by the SoC to take into account the requirements of the current condition when the device is in use and the variations due to temperature can be counteracted so the output power is stable at the desired level.
The device can operate with a wide temperature range of -40 °C to +105 °C, complimenting Nordic’s high temperature rated nRF52833 and nRF5340 in applications such as professional lighting. Complimenting the release of nRF21540 IC itself, Nordic is offering new development boards that can evaluate the RF FEM performance while using in lab equipment and also evaluate real-time application performance when combined with an nRF52 series device. The nRF21540 RF FEM is now sampling to lead customers. For more information, visit the official link from Nordic Semiconductors.