Espressif’s ESP32-C6 brings the next generation wireless connectivity

ESP32-C6_SoC

Espressif recently launched the ESP32-C6, which adds up to its long list of ESP32 series of SoCs. The ESP32-C6 is claimed to be the company’s first low-power and cost-effective Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5 (LE) SoC making it one of the most powerful wireless connectivity on a chip. Recently, we have seen the implementation of ESP32-C3 SoC on a development board that aids several smart applications. The new ESP32-C6 SoC features a 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller, designed for low-power IoT devices. As mentioned earlier,  the success of their ESP32-C3 SoC based on Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 5 launched in 2020 has persuaded the company to level up the IoT projects based on these SoCs using the new ESP32-C6.

What’s new in ESP32-C6 SoC?

Wi-Fi 6 is the sixth generation of Wi-Fi (also known as IEEE 802.11ax), becoming the emerging wireless connectivity as the latest industry Wi-Fi standard limits the use of these SoC for several applications.. ESP32-C6 is one of those few that can provide 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 6, but if you’re looking for 5 GHz Wi-Fi, you might have to wait for some more time as this SoC does not support it.

Apart from that, the onboard Wi-Fi 6 radio supports the IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi standards for backward compatibility. It supports a 20MHz bandwidth for 802.11ax mode and a 20/40MHz bandwidth for 802.11b/g/n mode. The 802.11ax mode also supports the station interface and provides an excellent transmission efficiency with very low power consumption. Additionally, Bluetooth 5 (LE) radio gets the support for long-range operation through advertisement extension and coded PHY.

A look at ESP32-C6’s block diagram

ESP32-C6-block-diagram

A 32-bit microprocessor that is based on the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) powers the ESP32-C6 and runs to 160MHz. Along with that, it comes with a 384KB ROM, a 400KB SRAM, and has support for external flash through SPI, Dual SPI, Quad SPI, and QPI interfaces if you need more memory.

Talking about the peripherals, it features 22 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins which provide the user with a plethora of functionalities. These include ADC, SPI, UART, I2C, I2S, RMT, TWAI, and PWM. ESP32-C6 also has an onboard temperature sensor. According to Espressif, most of the other SoC specifications are similar to its predecessor ESP32-C3.

With the support for Wi-Fi 6, the ESP32-C6 comes with extended benefits, including OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) for both uplink and downlink connections. It also supports MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) capabilities for downlink. With these techniques, the SoC has the ability to work with high efficiency and low latency in congested wireless environments. Another important benefit is that it features the Target Wake Time (TWT), allowing the SoC to sleep for an extended time period, thus making it much more suitable for battery-operated systems.

Security features and software support of ESP32-C6

Coming to the security features, ESP32-C6 comes with RSA-3072-based secure boot, HMAC and digital signature system, and support for flash encryption using AES-128-XTS. Like its predecessors, this chip will support Espressif’s mature IoT Development Framework (ESP-IDF), which allows the existing customers to benefit from it. Espressif will also provide ESP-Hosted and ESP-AT firmware for the users who want to control the chip from an external host.

Currently, Espressif has not provided the documentation or the pricing of the ESP32-C6 but tells the interested customers to contact their customer support in the press release.

The product page is the source for all the information and images.

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