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NXP Blog Post: MCX W Is the New MCU to Connect More

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NXP Blog Post: MCX W Is the New MCU to Connect More

NXP Semiconductors Announces its Wireless Multiprotocol MCX W Series

Building on the momentum of MCX N and MCX A series microcontrollers, NXP Semiconductors is announcing the wireless multiprotocol MCX W series. MCX W is an important member of the larger MCX portfolio that shares a common Arm® Cortex®-M33 core and peripherals platform.

Blog post by Eli Hughes, Pro Support Engineer at NXP Semiconductors

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MCX W adds to the portfolio by enabling wireless connectivity for multiple standards such as Matter, Thread, Zigbee and Bluetooth LE. MCX W will serve as the go-to for wireless applications in the MCX portfolio. Target applications can include:

  • Industrial IoT edge sensors and controllers
  • Commercial building infrastructure products including access control, distributed lighting and window coverings
  • Smart home devices such as locks, lighting controls, smart plugs, window coverings and sensors
  • Personal health and fitness products
  • E-bikes
  • General 2.4GHz wireless/handheld devices

The MCX W series begins with the W71 family. The W71 combines an Arm Cortex-M33 core CPU platform an Arm Cortex-M33 core CPU.

A dedicated MCU core for the radio subsystem allows the real-time, low-level radio functions to be isolated from the application code. It can also translate to simplified firmware updates to the radio subsystem to support future wireless standards. The MCX W71 is well suited for wireless edge devices, both as a standalone MCU or as a wireless co-processor to a host MCU or MPU.

The MCX W72 will soon follow with extended Flash, RAM, GPIO and additional radio features.

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The Flash and RAM are effectively doubled in the main CPU of the MCX W72, as well as in the radio subsystem. The additional memory enables large, feature-rich applications while having ample space to implement robust over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates in a single standalone implementation for the application and wireless functions. Increased code storage can make a significant difference when developing with a full feature protocol such as Matter.

Next Generation Proximity Measurement with Bluetooth Channel Sounding

The MCX W72 will feature a significant capability upgrade with support for Bluetooth Channel Sounding. Bluetooth Channel Sounding is a new standard that enables distance/proximity measurement between two devices.

The radio signal time of flight is measured between two devices by analyzing time stamped packets and tonal phase differences across many channels using a sophisticated coordination algorithm. Channel Sounding manages indoor multipath effects and measurement inference ambiguities through coordination between the end devices and the use of up to 72 radio channels.

The MCX W72 is the first wireless MCU to support Bluetooth Channel Sounding. It includes NXP’s localization compute engine (LCE), a dedicated co-processor to reduce latency. In addition, the MCX W72’s radio subsystem runs the entire Bluetooth stack, offloading the main application core.

Speaking to the scalability of the MCX W, the MCX72 will be pin-to-pin compatible with the MCX W71 in the 7mm x 7mm QFN48 package.

Industrial IoT Edge Enablement

The MCX W72 extends into the industrial IoT space with the inclusion of two CAN-FD interfaces. Many industrial and commercial applications make use of the ubiquitous CAN data bus. Even though CAN began in the automotive sector, it has become pervasive in applications requirement fault tolerant communication. Such applications include HVAC systems, e-bikes, commercial vehicle tracking and programmable logic controllers.

Edgelock® Security Subsystem

An important capability in the MCX W series is the EdgeLock Secure Enclave core profile. Security features have been engineered into the MCX W from the beginning to address the growing needs for protection against cybersecurity attacks.

This includes secure boot flows built into ROM, cryptographic accelerators, encryption and signature checking, a true random generator, device lifecycle management with one time programmable (OTP) fuses, built-in security key management and hardware root of trust.

An important benefit of the EdgeLock Secure Enclave is that customers can take advantage of NXP’s EdgeLock 2GO service platform for provisioning and managing IoT devices. The Matter wireless IoT protocol is built on a strong, proven security framework. Before a device can be onboarded to a Matter network, it must validate its identify and prove that it has passed Matter certification through an embedded Device Attestation Certificate (DAC).

As a Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA)-approved product attestation authority (PAA), NXP provides product manufacturers with a one-stop-shop for Matter certification and security certificates, accelerating Matter product development and deployment.

MCUXpresso Development Experience

At the heart of the MCX W experience is the MCUXpresso suite of software and tools. The MCUXpresso suite offers core software development kits (SDKs) and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and configuration tooling.

The SDK is flexible and can be used with a range of IDEs include:

MCUXpresso for Visual Studio Code (VS Code): VS Code with extension from NXP to enable fast, flexible development MCUXpresso IDE: Customized, Eclipse-based, IDE for NXP MCUs, optimized for ease-of-use IAR Embedded Workbench: Safety certified, highly optimizing compiler and development environment for C/C++

Hardware Development with the FRDM EVKs

Alongside the release of the MCX W will be low-cost FRDM development boards for both the MCX W71 and W72.

MCX W in 2024

The MCX W71 will be released first, followed by the W72. The W71 and W72 will be pin and software compatible in the 7mm x 7mm QFN48 package, providing an upgrade path to take advantage of the latest wireless features while maintaining an existing hardware design.

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