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Redpine’s Dual-Core Cortex-M4—More IoT Security Using Less Power

Nov. 6, 2018
The RS12000 SmartMCU series infuses security and multiple cores into the latest Internet of Things applications.

Redpine Signals isn’t a newcomer to the secure IoT space, but its RS12000 SmartMCU series (see figure) brings a new level of security to a range of IoT applications. The low-end RS12100 sports a 250-MHz Cortex-M4F plus a 125-MHz DSP coprocessor to act as a sensor hub. It can operate independent of the application processor for very-low-power, “always-on” operation.

The DSP has access to hardware accelerators for voice-activity detection (VAD), sensor data collection, and capacitive touch. The DSP can also be used to accelerate neural-network applications that are compatible with CMSIS-NN. It’s available with up to 400 kB of SRAM and 4 MB of flash storage.

Redpine Signals’ RS12300 SmartMCU, which can implement two Cortex-M4 cores, includes a DSP and security network processor.

The RS12200 targets higher-performance solutions and includes a dual-core, Cortex-M4F version along with the DSP coprocessor. It can also have twice the amount of SRAM and flash as its smaller sibling.

The RS12300 is where all components come into play for very secure systems. It adds the 160-MHz ThreadArch network security processor built around a trusted execution environment (TEE) architecture. The system incorporates an SRAM Physically Unclonable Function (PUF) based root of trust; a true random-number generator; high-performance Suite-B Accelerators for AES, SHA, ECC, and RSA; plus support for eXecute-in-Place (XIP) from flash with inline AES support. There are over 30 security features including physical tamper pins and secure real-time-clock (RTC) support. A pair of dc-dc regulators are integrated on-chip.

The ThreadArch runs an integrated security stack from its 1-MB ROM. This includes a full-featured TCP/IP stack. It provides secure boot support for the entire SoC.

The chip family is designed to work with Redpine’s RS9116 wireless connectivity solutions. The RS9116 provides Wi-Fi, dual-mode Bluetooth 5 and 802.15.4 connectivity.

The RS12000 series comes with a variety of peripheral interfaces such as GPIO, serial interfaces, and timers. They can also support VAD, CAN, 10/100 Ethernet, eMMC/SD Card, 20-channel 12-bit ADCs, DACs, op amps, and USB HS-OTG with PHY. The chips are available in QFN, BGA and WLCSP packages.

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