Leading the Charge to Matter Adoption, NXP Adds More Compliant MCUs

December 17, 2022 by Jake Hertz

NXP has been one of the leading proponents of the Matter protocol. Now, the company has added two Matter-compliant wireless MCUs to its portfolio.

Consumers have hundreds of options for smart home devices (smart thermostats, smart lighting, smart security cameras, and even smart toasters) from various manufacturers—Google, Amazon, and Apple being some of the largest. While the variety of choices has its benefits, it has also led to unwanted industry fragmentation.

To address this fragmentation, the Connectivity Standards Alliance developed Matter (formerly Project Connected Home over IP), a wireless standard to create interoperability between IoT smart home devices. This week, NXP announced two new Matter-compliant wireless MCUs to help build the smart home ecosystem under Matter's umbrella.


The Rise of Matter

As the smart home industry grows in popularity, developers produce smart home solutions that are interoperable with other devices from the same manufacturer—but not with devices from others manufacturers. 


Matter is considered the application layer for the smart home

Matter is considered the application layer for the smart home. Image courtesy of Qorvo


Matter is a wireless standard that defines how IoT devices from different manufacturers can communicate with each other and become interoperable. Designed explicitly for the smart home, the idea is that any device that is certified as Matter-compliant will be interoperable. Matter aims to reduce industry fragmentation by allowing consumers to purchase devices from any manufacturer without fear of being pigeonholed into a single ecosystem. 


NXP Introduces the "Industry's First Tri-radio Wireless MCU"

This week, NXP released two new Matter-compliant wireless MCUs. The first offering is its new RW612 MCU, a low-power tri-radio wireless MCU that includes a number of integrated features.

The MCU is built around a 260 MHz Arm Cortex-M33 CPU core, supported by 1.2 MB of on-chip SRAM, 256 kB of ROM, and 16 kB of AON RAM. Additionally, the CPU platform features a PowerQuad co-processor, an FPU, and an MPU.


The main subsystems of the RW612

The main subsystems of the RW612. Image courtesy of NXP


From a wireless perspective, the RW612 features a radio subsystem that consists of a dedicated Wi-Fi CPU as well as integrated Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth Low Energy 802.15.4 radios. This includes a 1x1 dual-band 20 MHz Wi-Fi 6 subsystem that can support Matter over Wi-Fi or over Thread.

Additionally, the MCU features a number of security features through NXP’s EdgeLock platform, which incorporates PUF-based secure key management as well as hardware cryptography solutions.


A Tri-core MCU for Matter Over Thread and BLE 5.3

Alongside the RW612, NXP also announced its K32W148 MCU this week. The K32W148 is a multiprotocol wireless MCU meant to deliver flexibility and versatility to IoT devices. The device supports several protocols, including Matter over Thread, Zigbee, and Bluetooth Low Energy 5.3. 


Block diagram of the K32W148's architecture

Block diagram of the K32W148's architecture. Image courtesy of NXP


The MCU consists of three main subsystems, each featuring its own dedicated core. The first main computing subsystem consists of the application core, a 96 MHz Arm Cortex-M33 core supported by 1 MB of flash and 128 KB RAM. This is followed by the radio subsystem, which features its own isolated 64 MHZ CM3 core, 88 kB of dedicated SRAM, and an IEEE 802.15.4–2015 compliant radio. Finally, the device features a security subsystem built around an isolated CM0+ core and a number of hardware security features, such as cryptographic hardware blocks and true random number generators.

The device was designed to consume very little power, offering a transceiver current of 4.7 mA for a typical RX and 18.7 mA at 10dbm TX.T Additionally, the device offers low power modes as low as 300 nA, along with deep sleep modes as low as 100 nA.