STMicroelectronics’ World’s First Dual Core Wireless MCU STM32WL5x


STMicroelectronics recently launched STM32WL5x Wireless MCU, an updated version of its STM32WL wireless MCU. The main attraction is the dual-core architecture, which provides a lot more security and flexibility than its predecessor. By leveraging the features of the two ARM-based MCUs, the chip is designed for applications like smart cities or smart agriculture.

The state-of-the-art STM32WL5x wireless MCU contains a Cortex-M0+ and a Cortex-M4. These two MCUs allow for the independent processing of different tasks under the same package. The sub-gigahertz transceiver of the STM32WLx is compatible with LoRa, (G)FSK, (G)MSK, and BPSK modulation schemes. Since such features are available in a single package, it serves as a great and simpler platform for wireless communication-based applications. Many MCUs are wireless modems (Semtech’s LoRa transceivers) or a standard MCU (PIC, AVR series). STM32WL5x combines them all with not only one but two cores. This gives it an edge over other available MCUs.

The need for dual-core architecture came up in large applications consisting of multiple protocols requiring frequent updates. With single-core, network and applications are on the same stack. Thus modifying the code means re-certifying the communication protocol. STM32WL5x wireless MCU eliminates this by running the network stack on Cortex-M0+ and the application stack on Cortex-M4, so updating the code does not affect the network stack.

Going further, the chip features an ARM Cortex-M4 & DSP working at a frequency up to 48 MHz, ARM Cortex-M0+ up to 48 MHz, 256 KB Flash, and 64 KB SRAM. The chip is also popular for its ultra-low power consumption of less than 71μA/MHz in active mode and 31 nA in shutdown mode. This makes it much more power-efficient than ever before.

Block Diagram of STM32WL5x Wireless MCU

STM32WL5x hardware features

The chip also features multiple peripherals, which include 3xI²C, 2xUSART, 1xLP-UART, 2xSPI ports. It also contains a total of 7 timers and 2 ULP Comparators. On the software side, it comes with support for the latest version of the STM32CubeWL IDE. This IDE supports programming in C/C++. It also now includes examples to help with faster prototyping of projects. The MCU is predominantly used for IoT purposes but is not limited to it. One such application is an automated tree sap collection, which uses MCU to send alerts to the cloud. The MCU comes in two different packaging grades: the UFQFPN48 package, which is a 7×7 mm package, and the UFBGA73 package, which is a 5×5 mm package.

For those interested, you can find more information about this MCU on its product page.

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