Marvell’s NFC controller enables tiny antennas for mobile, IoT, wearables

January 7, 2016  - By
Image: GPS World

Marvell, a connectivity and semiconductor company, has launched its Near Field Communication (NFC) 88NF100 Controller with Active Load Modulation (ALM) to support the smallest antenna sizes critical to mobile, IoT, wearable and automotive applications.

Adhering to the NFC Controller Interface (NCI) Technical Specification version 1.1, the 88NF100 provides an extended operating range and is extremely energy-efficient to enable extended battery life for power critical applications.

The 88NF100’s ALM technology supports the smallest antenna sizes to enable OEMs to implement NFC capabilities into small form factor designs, such as for mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable and automotive applications. The controller has extremely low power operation in polling mode to provide increased battery life for power critical applications and three single-wire protocol (SWP) interfaces to secure element (eSE) devices, for for secure payments.

The patented two-pin antenna interface supports a maximum distance of two meters between the chip and antenna, supporting devices where the antenna must be located far away from the chip, such as with automotive and printer applications, in addition to designs with tight space constraints, including smartphones and wearable devices.

Seamlessly integrating with Marvell’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee solutions, the 88NF100 is compliant with the NCI Technical Specification version 1.1 to leverage existing middleware and applications and supports GSMA, ISO and EMVCo industry standards.

“As consumers demand smarter and more connected devices every year, manufacturers are increasingly faced with the challenge of incorporating advanced technology features into elegant and small form-factor designs. Marvell’s 88NF100 controller with ALM technology is designed to enable OEMs to incorporate advanced NFC technology into compact and energy-efficient designs with ultra-small antennas,” said Kevin Tang, senior director of marketing, Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at Marvell. “Marvell’s wireless technology enables the ultimate performance, battery life and operating range, making the 88NF100 ideal for NFC applications in Mobile payments, point of sale (POS) systems, Smart home connected devices, Smart watches and vehicles.”

Key features of the Marvell 88NF100 include:

  • Low-power consumption.­ The 88NF100 supports all data rates up to 848 kbps and operates with a low polling current of 60uA, making it ideally suited for power critical applications.
  • ALM integration.­ The controller’s ALM technology supports smaller antennas; and allows placement of the antenna up to two meters from the 88NF100.
  • Advanced digital processing for reader mode. The 88NF100’s signal processing has been optimized for better performance, enabling better reading distance in peer-to-peer (P2P) modes.
  • Advanced low-battery operating mode. The controller can operate on a very low current from the battery, ensuring that mobile applications deliver the same performance level in card emulation (CE) mode when the phone is powered on or off.
  • Compact package with low pin count.­ The 88NF100 has embedded wafer level ball grid array (eWLB) 2.5 x 2.5 and a compact 4 x 4 quad-flat no-leads (QFN) package.
  • Local Interconnect Network (LIN) interface.  The LIN interface is designed to enable developers to build low cost NFC LIN nodes for the automotive industry and natively support the automotive LIN communication protocol.

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