This week, Renesas released a new IoT development kit, the RX65N Wi-Fi Connectivity Cloud Kit. What can this kit do and how can it help users develop the latest IoT products?

The internet of things (IoT) is something that we are now living with daily and as electronics get smaller their use is vastly increasing. It won’t be long before even the most mundane devices in our homes are connected to the internet including kettles and toasters. While the increase in data over all the connected devices has been highly beneficial to companies, producing the AI systems that rely on large datasets to learn it has also caused some problems. 

One of these problems relates to security whereby IoT producers have lacked to implement proper security measures. The result is many IoT devices on the market with security flaws that may allow attackers to access potentially sensitive data either on the device itself or through the device on the cloud. But implementing security on IoT devices can be a challenge in its own right when taking into consideration that many IoT devices are based on simple microcontrollers with a Wi-Fi controller. Thankfully, the industry has recognized this issue and there are many producers who are releasing IoT SoCs and ICs that integrate security features in both hardware and software.

Even though IoT devices are typically the lowest CPU capable devices (when compared to PCs and tablets), technology has progressed so much that IoT devices now have more processing capability than computers two decades ago. The latest IoT devices can be equipped with 32-bit processors, multiple cores, large FLASH banks, and plenty of RAM all while having multiple sensors connected to read their environment.

This progression of technology is something that can be seen in Renesas' latest development kit — the Renesas RX65N Cloud Kit — announced this week.

 

The Renesas RX65N Cloud Kit

The Renesas RX65N Cloud Kit allows designers to develop projects for the RX65N processor. The cloud development kit includes a wide range of functions and connections which makes it a very capable prototyping platform. With regards to connections, the kit includes a USB Host connector, a USB 2.0FS, USB to Serial port, CAN connector, SD card slot, E1 connector, and Ethernet.

Along with all of the connectors come multiple sensors, including the Renesas ISL29035 for ambient and infrared light measurement, the Bosch BMI160 for 3-axis acceleration/gyroscope, and a Bosch BME680 for gas, temperature, humidity, and pressure measurements. The Renesas Start Kit + also includes multiple serial memory ICs, SDRAM, and multiple input devices including switches and a potentiometer. 

Supplied with Renesas e2 studio IDE, the kit allows for the development of projects based on the Amazon FreeRTOS and also aids with setting up the Amazon RTOS network stack as well as embedded features of Amazon FreeRTOS such as file systems and USB.

 

renesas rx65n cloud kit

The Renesas RX65N Cloud Kit. Image courtesy of Renesas.

 

Along with all of the connectors come multiple sensors, including the Renesas ISL29035 for ambient and infrared light measurement, the Bosch BMI160 for 3-axis acceleration/gyroscope, and a Bosch BME680 for gas, temperature, humidity, and pressure measurements. The Renesas Start Kit + also includes multiple serial memory ICs, SDRAM, and multiple input devices including switches and a potentiometer. 

Supplied with Renesas e2 studio IDE, the kit allows for the development of projects based on the Amazon FreeRTOS and also aids with setting up the Amazon RTOS network stack as well as embedded features of Amazon FreeRTOS such as file systems and USB.

 

The RX65N MCU Family

Arguably the most important component in the kit is the MCU. Let's take a look at the RX65N and RX651 family of microcontrollers.

The RX65N and RX651 family of 32-bit general-purpose microcontrollers are aimed at the IoT market. The range of MCUs incorporate the RXv2 core clocked at 120MHz and have up to 2MB of integrated FLASH and 640kB of SRAM. Also integrated into the memory system of the RX65N family is a DualBank function which makes firmware updates convenient which allows for two versions of firmware to reside in memory. This can enable for fall back options if the new firmware is broken or to guard against power failure during a firmware update which would normally leave corrupted memory.

 

Block diagram of the RX651 and RX65N MCUs. Image courtesy of Renesas.

 

The RX65N range of MCUs are also embedded with a wide range of communication interfaces including Ethernet, USB, CAN, SD host/slave, I2C, UART, and quad SPI. The MCU also includes multiple analog peripherals including a 12-bit ADC with 8 channels, a 12-bit ADC with 21 channels, a 12-bit DAC with 2 channels, and a temperature sensor. Other peripherals found on the RX65N family of MCUs include multiple timers (32-bit, 16-bit, and real time clock calendar’s), HMI, DMA, and multiple interrupt sources.

But what makes the RX65N an option for commercial IoT applications is its wide range of inbuilt security features. The RX65N range of MCUs include AES and TRNG encryption modules, Renesas Trusted Secure IP, memory protection unit, register write protection, CRC, watchdog, and an independent watchdog. These inbuilt security measures make the RX65N a trustworthy MCU for sensitive IoT devices.

 

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