Dual-core microcontrollers for the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming more common, and this is the approach that the Texas Instruments (TI) CC3220 SimpleLink Wi-Fi MCU (Fig. 1) takes. The host processor is an 80-MHz Cortex-M4 with up to 1 Mbyte of flash storage and 256 Kbytes of RAM. It is linked to a dedicated network processor with wireless support. Wi-Fi is the initial wireless technology of choice.
The CC3210 is another version with the wireless network processor. It is controlled by an SPI link that allows developers to choose their host processor. The network processor includes a hardware crypto engine to handle secure wireless communication and secure data storage. This allows for secure wireless updates.
The systems are supported by TI’s SimpleLink SDK (Fig. 2). This provides a common API to TI’s range of wireless microcontroller solutions that also include support for Bluetooth and sub-1 GHz wireless. TI’s software provides HomeKit support.
The SimpleLink software is built on the TI RTOS. This POSIX-compatible operating system is available for free, and the POSIX support allows other RTOSes to be substituted for TI RTOS so the wireless drivers can be used in other contexts.
The SimpleLink Launchpad (Fig. 3) is available with a CC3220. It supports the CC3220’s interfaces, including SPI, I2C, UART, SD, and camera interface. It has a full complement of timers and PWM counters. Analog support includes a 12-bit ADC.