Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Winbond tunes memory to Qualcomm NB-IoT modem

Steve Rogerson
June 17, 2020

Taiwanese company Winbond Electronics has developed a type of semiconductor memory designed for use with cellular NB-IoT modules. An early user is Qualcomm for its LTE modems.
The QspiNAND flash is being used in the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem. The 1.8V, 512Mbit (64Mbyte) QspiNAND flash is said to provide the right density for cellular NB-IoT modules.
"Quad SPI-NAND adoption rate may increase four to five fold within a few years," said Alan Niebel, president of WebFeet Research, an independent market-research firm. "Winbond's 1.8V QspiNAND flash is suitable for both automotive and IoT segments. NB-IoT is poised to grow in this new connected world with shipments that may reach 685m units worldwide by 2023."
Winbond has expanded its reach from traditional QSPI-NOR flash to QSPI-NAND flash, giving users the flexibility to choose their code storage feature-set to expand with little cost. This is done by using the same six-pin signals and QSPI command-set for SLC NAND flash densities without compromising performance by using the new continuous read feature at 104MHz read speed. The continuous read mode allows for efficient access to the entire memory array with a single read command that is suitable for code shadowing applications.
"Winbond is proud and committed to innovate and differentiate by designing our QspiNAND flash KGD for use with the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem," said Syed Hussain, director of segment marketing at Winbond Electronics. "We continue to work closely with Qualcomm on the memory components for the next-generation LTE modems for IoT applications."
W25N QspiNAND flash devices are offered in eight-pin packages. This was not possible in the past for typical SLC NAND flash memory. W25N512GW is a 512Mbit memory array organised into 32,768 programmable pages of 2112byte each.
"Qualcomm Technologies has tested and qualified the Winbond QspiNAND flash as a stacked KGD with the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem, allowing our OEM customers to create extremely small form factor systems," said Vieri Vanghi, vice president at Qualcomm. "We are proud of our long-standing collaboration with Winbond, and look forward to continuing to provide leading IoT technology together."
Clock speeds of 104MHz allow equivalent 416MHz (104MHz x 4) speed for quad IO performance when using the fast read dual and quad IO instructions. To provide better NAND flash memory manageability, an on-chip feature is provided to perform bad block management.
To ensure meeting the growing global demand for high-volume, the flash memories are manufactured in the company's 12in wafer fabrication facility in Taichung, Taiwan. Winbond is expanding capacity to meet and to ensure support for business growth anticipated in both automotive and IoT segments.
"Expanding the SpiFlash family to include QspiNAND flash will benefit the NOR market and SLC NAND flash conversion from both QSPI-NOR flash and parallel NAND flash," said JW Park, technology executive of Winbond Flash Memory. "Winbond jointly developed this new 512Mbit QspiNAND flash with Baseband Engineering-Team in delivering high performance with cost-benefit in mind."
Winbond is headquartered in the Central Taiwan Science Park and has subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, Israel, China and Hong Kong.