Nordic Semiconductor SoC supports Thread via a dedicated SDK

March 14, 2017

Oslo, Norway. Nordic Semiconductor today announced that it has launched its first Thread networking solution with the release of its nRF5 SDK for Thread that is designed to utilize the IEEE 802.15.4 PHY support introduced on Nordic’s latest nRF52840 multiprotocol Bluetooth low energy SoC. In addition, the Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread also adds a unique Device-Firmware-Update (DFU)-over-Thread network feature like the over-the-air (OTA) DFU feature employed in other existing Nordic SDKs and chips.

The company said its nRF52840’s class-leading amounts of RAM (256 kB) and flash (1 MB) memory also enable the SoC to run both the Thread and Bluetooth low energy protocol stacks from the same single chip. In addition, the nRF52840 is able to run the Thread protocol at accelerated processing speeds by using its built-in ARM CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator—which offers best-in-class security for Cortex-M based Bluetooth low energy SoCs—to run the Thread security algorithms.

Thread was designed to create the best way to connect and control products where people live and work. This includes robust security (smartphone-grade authentication and AES encryption), low-power battery-friendly operation, and scalable reliability. This is all built around a developer-friendly IP-based (IPv6 with 6LoWPAN) mesh network. Prime “home Internet of Things (IoT)” target applications for Thread include home automation, appliances, access control, climate control, safety, lighting, healthcare, and security systems.

The non-profit Thread Group ( states that it is focused on making Thread the foundation for the IoT in the home and beyond by educating product developers, builders, and consumers on the unique features and benefits of Thread, and ensuring a positive experience through rigorous, meaningful product certification.

“We are delighted that Nordic Semiconductor recognizes the developer and consumer value of the Thread specification,” said Grant Erickson, president, Thread Group. “With Thread, product developers and consumers can easily and securely connect more than 250 devices into a low-power wireless network that includes direct Internet and cloud access for every device. We’re pleased to see Thread Group member products hitting the market.”

As well as the unique support for DFU-over-Thread, the Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread includes a pre-built OpenThread stack for the Nordic nRF52840 SoC; examples of all the different Thread roles; support for an OpenThread network co-processor; a CoAP application layer example; border router and cloud connectivity example; and a range of PC tools including a Thread topology monitor.

“Nordic Semiconductor has been a valuable contributor to OpenThread,” added Jonathan Beri, product manager, platform, Nest. “The Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread fully leverages the highly portable nature of OpenThread. It’s a great example of how OpenThread can significantly accelerate the deployment of Thread in wireless devices to bring customers secure and reliable connected products.”

“We see Thread as one of the leading wireless technologies currently emerging in the home IoT space,” commented Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s director of sales and marketing. “This is why we have decided to strategically invest our world-leading R&D ultra-low power wireless expertise into contributing towards the ongoing development and evolution of the OpenThread software stack.”

The Nordic nRF5 SDK for Thread is now available in Alpha release with full production scheduled for Q4 2017, aligning with the full production of the Nordic nRF52840 SoC.

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