STMicroelectronics releases long-range wireless microcontrollers

STMicroelectronics has released a new microcontroller (MCU) that combines the company’s experience in wireless-device design with its STM32 architecture.

According to ST, novel power-saving features enable the extension of battery life in the new wireless MCUs beyond 15 years which will be especially valuable in remotely deployed applications including metering and monitoring devices and data from alarm systems, actuators, and sensors in smart buildings, smart factories, and smart cities.

The STM32WL3 wireless MCUs have been designed to limit power consumption and prioritise activities. The use of these MCUs is expected to improve user experience, service delivery, and reduce the environmental footprint.

The STM32WL3 contains an advanced, power-efficient multi-protocol radio suitable for long-range communication using license-free frequency bands reserved globally for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) applications. In addition to the main radio, ST has integrated an industry-unique ultra-low-power radio the system can power-down to save energy while listening continuously for a wake-up signal.

The long-range radio on the STM32WL3 MCUs operates in the internationally designated license-free frequency bands, 413MHz - 479MHz and 826MHz - 958MHz, with the support for 169MHz coming in 2024.

The radio is multi-protocol and multi-modulation capable, supporting 4-(G)FSK up to 600kbit/s, 2-(G)FSK, (G)MSK, DBPSK, DSSS, OOK, ASK modulation schemes to maximise versatility and ease deployment.

On-board peripherals include an LCD driver, a 12-bit 1Msample/s ADC, analogue comparator, DAC, and multiple timers. Together with an integrated balun, RF power amplifier, and SMPS, they minimise external BoM for a cost-optimized solution with short time-to-market.

The complete lineup contains devices with Flash density from 64KB to 256KB and 16KB or 32KB RAM, in a 32-pin or 48-pin VFQFPN package. There is also an extended temperature range option, from -40°C to 105°C. All variants are covered with ST’s 10-year longevity guarantee for industrial products. Sample quantities are available now.

Tailored to the specific needs of smart-metering applications, the STM32WL3 embeds an LCD controller and a specific peripheral - LC sensor controller - for fluid flow measurement that eases the design of water meters and heat-cost allocators.

Multi-protocol support enables cost-efficient deployment of one single platform over different long-range wireless technologies, including Sigfox, KNX, mioty, M-Bus, and others.