What is the nRF7002 DK?
Want to win an nRF7002 DK? Click here to enter the giveaway on this week's Electromaker Show!
So, let’s start with the most important thing, what exactly is the nRF7002 DK? While the name may not give too many clues, I can assure you that this board is pretty darn interesting, especially for engineers looking to create the latest Wi-Fi 6 gadgets. This development kit integrates everything you could possibly need to use the Nordic nRF7002 DK Wi-Fi 6 companion IC, including a processor, programmer, and numerous peripherals.
Why is the nRF7002DK awesome?
If I had to pick one reason why the nRF7002 is awesome, I would have to say that the fact that everything you need to develop with the nRF7002 is found on a single board. At the same time, the software development kit used with the nRF7002 works with Visual Studio Code, which is a massive bonus, oh, and the fact that the nRF7002 is focused on low-energy makes it ideal for wearables. Ok, so that’s three reasons, but you can see that this dev kit has a lot going for it!
nRF7002 DK Features
Before we look at the features of this board, we first need to understand how Nordic Semiconductor nRF development kits work. The most important part of this board is the nRF7002 chip itself, which is the IC that provides Wi-FI 6 capabilities. The rest of the board is supporting hardware that lets you play with the nRF7002 IC.
Wi-Fi 6 Capabilities and Protocols
So, to start, the nRF7002 is a companion IC that provides Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. This means that you can connect it to any other microcontroller or SoC over SPI and QSPI, and use it as a Wi-Fi modem. At the same time, the nRF7002 has been specifically designed for low-power applications, thus enabling battery-operated projects, and Nordic has stated that it will support all common protocols including Matter, Bluetooth LE, and Thread.
Speaking of which, the Electromaker film crew took a look at the live demos at the Nordic stand during this year's Embedded World conference so if you are interested to see this thing in action, go and check out the videos we shot at the event. Spoiler alert - the demo includes Matter, Bluetooth LE, and Thread!
With regards to frequency, this chip allows for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz operation, has 20Mhz channel bandwidth, and co-existing interfaces for using different wireless protocols simultaneously.
The development board itself integrates an nRF5340 which is an insanely brilliant dual-core SoC. One of these cores is the application core, which provides you with a 128MHz ARM Cortex-M33, 1MB Flash, and 512KB RAM, while the second core, called the network processor, provides you with a 64MHz ARM Cortex-M33 with 256KB of flash and 64KB of RAM. In conjunction with this, there are a host of other peripherals and features, including trusted execution, secure key storage, and integrated Bluetooth.
Development Board Features
The development board also integrates a Segger Link programmer, meaning that you only require a single USB cable to program the nRF5340, and a host of additional features such as the Arduino shield connectors, buttons, and LEDs let you develop entire projects on this single board. Basically, it’s everything you could possibly need to play with the nRF7002!
Full specifications of this board can be found on the nRF7002 product brief.
What projects can you build with the nRF7002 DK?
The nRF7002 is perfect for any modern Wi-Fi application that needs to focus on reducing energy consumption. If used with the nRF5340, engineers can create extremely energy-efficient wearable devices such as smartwatches and health monitors, with the nRF7002 providing remote connectivity.
Our very own Electomaker community member Knaveen has built an impressive remote-controlled plant watering System Using nRF7002 DK. The project is a great example of how an IoT-based device is able to send soil moisture data over MQTT and can be watered automatically or remotely.
The nRF7002 DK is also excellent for developing asset trackers, small devices that are attached to something of importance that need tracking. One such example of where you would need to use something like this would be remote monitoring of a shipping crate whose contents could be pharmaceuticals (this is because specific environmental conditions need to be met).
Another excellent use of the nRF7002 DK is prototyping smart city and smart home devices. The rise of protocols such as Matter will undoubtedly see the vast majority of the industry work together, so using the nRF7002 ensures that your projects will be compatible with other devices and software environments.
Should you buy the nRF7002 DK?
To summarise, the nRF7002 DK is an all-in-one development tool for working with the Nordic nRF7002 Wi-Fi 6 companion IC, integrating an nRF5340, and Segger Link programmer. The combination of the two Nordic chips allows engineers to create projects focused on wireless connectivity and low-energy requirements, and the many connectors, including the Arduino shield pin sockets, enable quick expansion with other development boards. If you want to experiment with the development of low-power Wi-Fi applications, then the nRF7002 DK is an excellent choice. Check out the full list of distributors here.