The NORA-W30 and W36 modules from u-blox add dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, two Arm processors, and optional antennas, simplifying wireless designs.
My connected dehumidifier, like many consumer and industrial devices, has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. To set up the appliance, I first used Bluetooth to connect the appliance to an iPhone app that let me then connect the appliance to my home network. Engineers designing connected appliances and industrial systems can do the entire design using dedicated ICs or choose a module that integrates the radios and even the appliance’s microcontroller into one unit. The NORA-W30 and NORA-W36 modules from u-blox contain much of what you need to connect and control your devices.
My dehumidifier supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi only. There’s no support for 5GHz. Perhaps the next model will include the NORA-W30 or W36 modules, which adds 5 GHz Wi-Fi. That’s an upgrade from previous u-blox models. The modules support dual band Wi-Fi 4 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.4 and Bluetooth 5 (LE). Wi-Fi 4 provides plenty of data transfer for most IoT devices.
Both modules include two microcontrollers (MCUs): an Arm Cortex®-M33 compatible, 200 MHz as the main MCU, and an Arm Cortex®-M23 compatible, 20 MHz for when low-power operation takes priority.
Both models use the common AT command set for control. I/O interfaces include UART, USB, I2C, SDIO, GPIO, ADC, SPI, and PWM, making the modules compatible with just about any host system. In addition, u-blox’s u‑connectXpress software significantly reduces software effort because you don’t need much experience with embedded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE. The module takes much of the design burden out of your hands.
The NORA-W36 module contains u-connectXpress software pre-flashed to the module, which simplifies end-product integration. The host controller configures the wireless communication through AT commands without, removing you from the need to understand the details of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocol stacks. The NORA-W30 module lacks the pre-flashed software, leaving you free to configure the module as you see fit.
Both models come in two variants based on your antenna needs. One provides a pin for an external antenna while another embeds to antenna right into the module.