STMicro Unveils MCUs and MPUs Featuring BLE, Improved Security, and More
Ahead of this week’s Embedded World event, STMicroelectronics has released new MCUs, MPUs, and security technology that provide developers new options.
It’s day one here at Embedded World 2023. We are here walking the halls of the show, and we continue our show coverage with a slew of microcontroller (MCU) news from STMicroelectronics (ST). At the show, the company is showcasing its recently announced MCU and MPU products.
At Embedded World 2023 today, STMicroelectronics' Jocelyn Ricard reviews the company’s STM32Trust TEE Secure Manager technology with All About Circuits Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child.
In this article, we round up these embedded announcements from the company and share perspectives from STMicro’s executives delivered at the company’s pre-show group press briefing.
MCU Doubles Down on Embedded Security
First up is ST’s new STM32H5 MCU series, which the company is positioning as a performance-oriented STM32H5 MCU series with advanced security in the form of an embedded STM32Trust TEE Security Manager on the device. The TEE Secure Manager was announced at the same time as the STM32H5 MCU and it is covered in more detail later in this article.
At the heart of the STM32H5 is an Arm Cortex-M33. This core is Arm’s highest-performance M33 series core, running at 250 MHz and 375 DMIPS. The MCU piles on a lot of security, starting with Arm’s TrustZone architecture. The device also adds ST’s own range of security features, including some developed with ST’s partner ProvenRun.
The 250 MHz STM32H5 MCU is ST’s first device to embed the company’s new TEE Secure Manager technology.
ST says the STM32H5 is its first MCU series to come with system-on-chip (SoC) security services accessed via an industry-standard API. Called STM32Trust TEE Secure Manager, this facility means developers don’t have to write their own code in order to provide security services developed according to known best practices.
“This MCU is the first with scalable security, from security essentials to full security services,” says Thierry Crespo, ST’s STM32 security marketing manager. “It uses the Secure Manager to reach up to PSA- and SESIP level 3 with physical attack protection. And it meets a sweet spot for optimized cost versus performance tradeoffs.”
Built on ST’s advanced 40 nm CMOS process, the device makes use of improved on-chip power-conversion circuits. ST says that this means a 250 MHz device like this can be used in harsh environments where the ambient temperature can reach 125°C.
For safety, STM32H5 MCUs are safety integrity level (SIL)-ready because of native hardware features. Typical applications for the new MCUs include air conditioning systems, appliances, and alarm systems, industrial programmable logic controllers (PLCs), motor controls, industrial pumps, communication gateways, and more.
Secure Manager Integrates Core Security Services
In conjunction with its STM32H5 MCU release, ST also announced its new STM32Trust TEE Secure Manager. A combination of hardware and software, the technology is what the company calls “the first microcontroller system-on-chip security solution that simplifies embedded application development to assure out-of-the-box protection.”
As discussed above, the STM32H5 MCU is ST’s first MCU to embed the TEE Secure Manager. saves developers writing and validating their own code while providing security services developed according to best practices. The technology is part of ST's broader security story. ST is a lead development partner with Arm, and as such, ST supported the development of the Cortex-M33 core to comply with the PSA Level 3 security specifications.
ST’s STM32Trust TEE Secure Manager is intended to be an out-of-the-box, certified MCU protection resource for embedded developers.
ST says it also teamed with Microsoft Azure on middleware with strong security. It also worked with its partner ProvenRun to develop STM32Trust TEE Secure Manager. It uses that company’s ProvenCore-M secure Trusted Execution Environment Operating System.
Meanwhile, ST says it pre-qualified the Kudelski IoT keySTREAM root of trust—from partner company Kudelski IoT—on the Secure Manager to facilitate remote credential lifecycle management services. This makes it a plug-in security solution providing security services that include isolation, cryptography, key storage, and initial attestation, says ST.
The company says it plans to make the STM32Trust TEE Secure Manager available on a broad range of STM32 MCU series in the future.
Wireless MCU with SESIP3 Security for IoT
Next up, ST has unveiled its STM32WBA52 MCUs that blend Bluetooth LE (BLE) 5.3 connectivity with ultra-low-power modes and advanced security. At the heart of the STM32WBA52 is an Arm Cortex-M33 core running at 100 MHz. The device embeds a BLE 5.3 protocol stack and builds on existing profiles from the STM32WB series, so developers can port to the new device easily.
The MUC has an integrated ultra-low-power radio with an RF output power of +10 dBm. This enables reliable communication over long distances at data rates up to 2 Mbits/s, says ST. Thanks to a deep standby low-power mode with active radio communication, the device can significantly curb overall power and conserve battery energy. Up to 20 simultaneous connections can be supported by the STM32WBA MCU.
The STM32WBA52 MCUs marry an Arm Cortex-M33 core with BLE 5.3 functionality.
To ensure safe operation in IoT applications, the MCU has cyber-protection using a PSA security program based on security isolation, memory protection, tamper protection, and Cortex-M33 featuring the Arm TrustZone architecture. The platform is delivered with a secure software solution based on Trusted Firmware for Arm Cortex-M (TF-M). Strong resistance to physical attacks is ensured because the STM32WBA52 product line targets Arm PSA Certified Level 3 and SESIP3 IoT security standards.
STM32WBA52 MCUs provide ST’s Low Power DMA and flexible power-saving states with fast wakeup times. ST says that, together, these features can cut MCU power by up to 90%. There are also integrated peripherals, including a 12-bit ADC for enhanced accuracy with oversampling capability. Error code correction (ECC) on internal flash (1 MB) and RAM enhances data integrity and safety in the MCU.
Intended applications for the STM32WBA52 include smart homes, industrial lighting, sensors, electrical switches, gateways, and portable medical devices. “This MCU supports applications where both the radio protocol and software application must run on the same device,” says Hakim Jaafar, ST’s worldwide marketing director of wireless MCUs. “This means a self-sufficient product with integrated connectivity and general purpose processing capabilities working together. So everything is in one package.”
MPU Tackles Designs Beyond the Power of MCUs
Because today’s MCUs are so powerful and capable, it’s hard to clearly define the difference between an MCU and a microprocessor (MPU). An MPU’s ability to run an operating system like Linux is one angle, but there’s more to it than that.
With all that in mind, ST’s final Embedded World announcement is the release of its new STM32MP13 MPUs, now in mass production. The new MPUs embed a 1 GHz Arm Cortex-A7 application-processing core.
The STM32MP13 provides a high level of security using cryptographic acceleration with SCA robustness/protection, tamper resistance, secure storage, and Arm TrustZone technology with Trusted Firmware (TF-A and OP-TEE) secure processing environments. Peripheral features on the MPU include two of Gbit Ethernet ports. These ease integration in industrial equipment like programmable logic controllers (PLCs), says ST.
The STM32MP13 sports a 1 GHz Arm Cortex-A7 core and can run ST’s OpenSTLinux distribution.
Sylvain Raynaud, product marketing manager at ST, says that the STM32MP13 offers certifications for different types of markets. “It is the first MPU to be certified to SESIP Level 3,, including protection against physical attacks,” he says.”We also support Payment Card Industry (PCI) PTS/POI 6.0 specificationsperform PCI 60 pre certification and PSA level one certification.”
As for developers, this family uses ST’s previous MPU, the STM32MP15, and development tools and software are common between the STM32MP13 and STM32MP15. This includes the full mainlined OpenSTLinux Distribution with Linux board support package (BSP), drivers, secure boot chain supported by secure manufacturing, and application frameworks. ST’s OpenSTLinux Distribution can be extended with Linux real-time capabilities using the new X-LINUX-RT expansion package, available for all STM32MP13 and STM32MP15 MPUs.
ST is showcasing these and other embedded systems products this week at its Embedded World booth 4A-148.
All images used courtesy of STMicroelectronics