A New Bluetooth/BLE and Wi-Fi 6 Chip Integrates LNAs, PAs, and Switches

October 09, 2020 by Luke James

NXP has announced that it is sampling a new family of 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth/BLE chips for advanced industrial and IoT markets.

NXP has just announced its IW62X family of 2 x 2 Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) dual-band and Bluetooth/BLE chips. NXP says the IW62X is the industry’s first 2 x 2 Wi-Fi 6 solution. As such, the device has been designed with a focus on high-performance applications in IoT and IIoT, for which it will provide increased capacity and efficiency levels.  


Full Integration on One Piece of Silicon

Power amplifiers (PAs), low noise amplifiers (LNAs), and switches, among other components, are all in the same piece of silicon, negating the need to use individual discrete components while reducing system-level bill of materials and device board area. This, in addition to the coexistence of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth/BLE, may simplify engineers' design work with highly-integrated devices.


Block diagram of IW620S

Block diagram of IW620S. Image used courtesy of NXP Semiconductors

"We have two Bluetooth solutions and a Wi-Fi solution in this single piece of silicon," said Larry Olivas, NXP's head of marketing for the company's wireless connectivity solutions. "The ability to do coexistence and to do it well so you don't drop your Wi-Fi connection and can enable multiple Bluetooth connections—whether it's your headset or your controller—is an important ingredient when it comes to designing this type of integration." 


Designed "from the Ground Up"

During a call with All About Circuits in late September, Sid Shaw, Senior Director of Marketing at NXP, said that the IW62X series had been designed from the ground-up to “democratize” and “go after the IoT space” with a range of different applications. 

Compared to previous generations of Wi-Fi, NXP claims the new family of Wi-Fi 6 dual-band and Bluetooth/BLE solutions brings a huge boost in speed at 1.2 gigabits per second throughput. The company also reports that the device delivers a 50% improvement in battery life, a four-times increase in network capacity, and a two-times increase in bandwidth.


IW620P Block Diagram

A block diagram for the IW6205 which features 2.4 and 5 GHz dual-band power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers, antenna switches, and includes a power management unit. Image used courtesy of NXP Semiconductors


From a Bluetooth standpoint, the family supports Bluetooth Class One and Two, BLE, and all the optional features of BLE 5.1 such as long-range, Angle of Arrival (AoA), Angle of Direction (AoD) finding, and audio support. By including these features, NXP intends for their new chips to stay up to date on both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sides. 


Optimized for IoT and Industry Applications

Wi-Fi 6 comes with a range of new standard features that NXP has implemented into the IW62X family.

One of the most important features of any Wi-Fi product is a high data rate, and this has been enabled by higher modulation modes of 1024-QAM. In real-world terms, 1024-QAM brings a 25% data rate increase (throughput) in Wi-Fi 6 access points and devices.

This is critical for realizing the true potential of the IoT with current estimates saying there’ll be 21 billion connected IoT devices and “things” by 2025

1024-QOM, alongside orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), also enables smaller form factor devices to use Wi-Fi 6 due to higher density, meaning that potentially hundreds of connected devices on the factory floor could work together with higher coverage and range, all without suffering drops in throughput and performance.

Indeed, because of OFDMA and its deterministic capacity, NXP says it has been able to achieve gains in coverage of up to a 3.5 dB increase without requiring additional access points. 

When integrated with NXP’s MCUs and MPUs, customers can benefit from a full Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth/BLE platform solution with full NXP security, said Shaw. Design engineers will also benefit from a full range of features integrated into a single piece of silicon.