Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Renesas microcontrollers target IoT modules and edge devices

Steve Rogerson
August 1, 2019



Japanese electronics giant Renesas is introducing four ultra-small 32bit microcontrollers for IoT connectivity modules and space-constrained edge devices.
 
The RX651 MCUs are supplied in 64-pin BGA and LQFP packages. The line expands Renesas’ RX651 MCU Group with a 64-pin 4.5 by 4.5mm BGA package that reduces footprint size by 59 per cent compared with the 100-pin LGA, and a 64-pin 10 by 10mm LQFP that offers a 49 per cent reduction versus the 100-pin LQFP.
 
The MCUs address security needs for endpoint devices employing compact sensor and communication modules in industrial, network control, building automation and smart metering systems operating at the IoT edge.
 
“The explosive growth of the IoT and Industry 4.0 has sparked the need for higher performance, smaller form factor connectivity modules that support the various security aspects required with IoT connectivity, such as confidentiality, data integrity and availability,” said Daryl Khoo, vice president at Renesas Electronics. “The RX651 delivers on this need with smaller MCU package sizes that are ideal for compact IoT applications, without compromising performance. The 64-pin RX651 MCUs give customers the small footprint, high performance and security features they need to safeguard their connected industrial and manufacturing systems against cyber attacks.”
 
The MCUs integrate connectivity, trusted secure IP (TSIP) and trusted flash area protection that enable flash firmware updates in the field through secure network communications. The increase in endpoint devices operating at the edge has increased the need for secure over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates.
 
The devices support this reprogramming requirement with integrated TSIP, flash protection and other technology advancements that offer security and stability.
 
They are are based on the RXv2 core and 40nm process that provide a 520 CoreMark score at 120MHz, and power efficiency with a 35 CoreMark/mA score as measured by EEMBC benchmarks.
 
The integrated dual bank flash memory enables engineers to realise high root-of-trust levels through a combination of TSIP that protects the encryption key; encryption hardware accelerators including AES, 3DES, RSA, SHA and TRNG; and code flash area protection to protect boot code from reprogramming. The dual bank flash function supports both BGO background operation and SWAP, making it easier for manufacturers to execute in-the-field firmware updates securely and reliably.
 
Optimised for connected industrial environments, the MCUs can monitor the operating state of machinery from both inside and outside the factory, enabling data exchanges to change production instructions, and reprogramme MCU memory to update equipment settings.
 
Prices start at US$4.58 in 10,000-unit quantities. Low-cost target boards and starter kits, combined with the e² Studio integrated development environment, are also available to confirm performance and jumpstart development.