Nordic’s nRF9161 SiP and DK support cellular IoT and DECT NR+ non-cellular 5G technology

Nordic Semiconductor recently announced the availability of the nRF9161 system in package (SiP) and pre-certified Development Kit designed to power both cellular IoT and non-cellular 5G technologies. This new device can connect to LTE-M, NB-IoT, and DECT NR+ networks while maintaining long battery life, better location tracking, and strong connectivity. Additionally, Nordic offers support through their nRF Connect SDK and the Nordic Developer Academy.

The nRF9161 SiP is an improved version of the nRF9160 SiP, which has been the basis for various projects like the Actinius Icarus SoM DK, Conexio Stratus, nRF9160 Feather LTE IoT and GPS BoardRuuvi Node, and many other projects. Feel free to check those out if interested.

Nordic nRF9161 SiP and Development Kit

The press release mentions that this new chip is an update of the nRF9160 and includes features like an Arm Cortex-M33 processor, 1 MB flash, 256 KB RAM, along with SPI, I2C, UART, PWM, and a 12-bit ADC and other features. It also includes a GNSS receiver, LTE modem, RF Front End, and a power management system.

Now looking at the updates, this new module will add in B65(2100 MHz) and B85(700 MHz) LTE bands for wider global coverage and support for DECT NR+ mesh network for long-range low-power applications that work at 1.9 GHz and support up to one million nodes. It also improves power efficiency with updated firmware while offering a power-saving mode and a sleep mode functionality for networks that do not support PSM (Power Saving Mode).

Key Features of Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF9161 SiP:

  • System-in-Package (SiP) – Fully integrated for cellular IoT and DECT NR+.
  • Processor and Memory – 64 MHz Arm Cortex-M33, 1 MB flash, and 256 KB RAM.
  • Modem – Multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT with DECT NR+ support and GNSS.
  • Frequency Support – 700-2200 MHz LTE band and 1.9 GHz NR+ band.
  • Connectivity – Supports global LTE bands without regional limitations.
  • Security Features – Arm TrustZone and Arm CryptoCell for enhanced security.
  • Power Efficiency – Advanced power-saving features like eDRX, PSM, and AS-RAI.
  • Firmware Updates: Secure Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) updates.
  • Location Tracking: Built-in GNSS receiver and support for cellular-based location features.
  • Interfaces and Peripherals: Includes ADC, RTC, SPI, I²C, I²S, UARTE, PDM, and PWM.
  • LTE Bands: Covers a wide range of LTE bands for global connectivity.
  • DECT NR+ Stack: Enables massive mesh applications with reliability and scalability.
  • Development Tools: nRF Connect SDK and nRF Connect for Desktop for diverse development needs.

The nRF9161 Development Kit (DK) extends the nRF9161 SiP’s functionality with additional features for development ease. The dev kit is pre-certified meaning it has full access to GPIOs and interfaces, the board also comes with Arduino Uno-style pin headers which you can use to enable WI-Fi 6 capability with Nordic’s nRF7002EK evaluation kit. Additionally, it has user-programmable LEDs and buttons for interactive applications.

nRF9161 DK with nRF7002 EK
nRF9161 DK with nRF7002 EK

The kit supports both plug-in and soldered (e)SIMs with a nano/4FF SIM slot and an MFF2 SIM footprint and comes with a pre-loaded SIM card. A key feature is the on-board SEGGER J-Link debugger for simplified programming and debugging of both the SiP and external targets.

In terms of support, the nRF Connect SDK for VS Code gives developers essential tools directly in the IDE  while the nRF Connect for Desktop offers IoT tools for evaluating, monitoring, and debugging network connectivity.  Additionally, the Nordic Developer Academy has an online course focused on teaching cellular IoT quickly with the nRF9161 DK.

As of now, both the nRF9161 SiP and the nRF9161 Development Kit can be purchased from major distributors like Mouser, Digi-Key, and Avnet. The SiP is priced at $26.73(on Mouser) for a single unit, while the Development Kit is available for $128.77(on Avnet). Additional information may be found on the product page.

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Georgi Angelov
5 months ago

perfect module for Arduino ( master, inside SoC )
unfortunately expensive…

Georgi Angelov
5 months ago

sorry … it’s actually not expensive

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