STMicroelectronics Long-Range Wireless Microcontrollers Offer Energy-Efficient Connectivity

By Ken Briodagh

Senior Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

November 29, 2023


STMicroelectronics Long-Range Wireless Microcontrollers Offer Energy-Efficient Connectivity

According to a recent announcement, STMicroelectronics has released a new microcontroller (MCU) that is designed to fuse wireless-device design with high-performance and efficient architecture. The company said that the novel power-saving features will enable the battery life in the new wireless MCU to extend beyond 15 years.

The company said that the new STM32WL3 wireless MCU is especially valuable in remotely deployed applications like metering and monitoring devices and data from alarm systems, actuators, and sensors in smart buildings, smart factories, and smart cities, because of the ability to help limit power consumption and prioritize activities.

The STM32WL3 reportedly contains a power-efficient multi-protocol radio suitable for long-range communication using license-free frequency bands reserved globally for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) applications. In addition to the main radio, ST also said it has integrated an industry-unique ultra-low-power radio the system can power-down to save energy while listening continuously for a wake-up signal.

The new MCU is already in use, according to the release, and customers are using them to add value to smart connected devices. For example, Lierda Internet of Things Technology, reportedly is using the STM32WL33 to monitor and maintain network equipment across a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint wireless connection. Another ST customer announced in the release, Silent Smart Technology, has created a family of modules based on STM32WL3 wireless MCUs that operate in various sub-1GHz frequency bands and support multiple transmission modes, channel monitoring, wireless relay, and other functions.

“ST’s new highly featured, long-range STM32WL3 wireless microcontrollers help customers like Lierda and Silent Smart create innovative and flexible products, achieving very low power and fast time to market,” said Benoit Rodriguez, Wireless Business Line General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “Special features such as the wake-up radio and our flow-metering LC sensor controller enable energy-saving designs in smart metering, smart agriculture, and asset tracking that run for up to 15 years from a small battery.”

The new MCUs feature set includes:

  • The long-range radio on the STM32WL3 MCUs operates in the internationally designated license-free frequency bands, 413MHz - 479MHz and 826MHz - 958MHz, with the support for 169MHz coming in 2024.
  • The radio is multi-protocol and multi-modulation capable, supporting 4-(G)FSK up to 600kbit/s, 2-(G)FSK, (G)MSK, DBPSK, DSSS, OOK, ASK modulation schemes to maximize versatility and ease deployment.
  • On-board peripherals include an LCD driver, a 12-bit 1Msample/s ADC, analog comparator, DAC, and multiple timers. Together with an integrated balun, RF power amplifier, and SMPS, they minimize external BoM for a cost-optimized solution with short time-to-market.

 Prices start from $2.04 for orders of 10,000 pieces. Evaluation kits will be available shortly.   

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers, he would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars. In previous lives, he’s been a short order cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician, mover of the bodies at a funeral home, pirate, poet, partial alliterist, parent, partner and pretender to various thrones. Most of his exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false.

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