Broadcom unleashes its first BCM2079x NFC chips
Posted by Seth PlanckSeptember 26th, 2011 at 11:01 AM Filed Under Latest News, Press Release
Broadcom outs its first BCM2079x NFC chips in 40 NM that brings connectivity to Bluetooth and WiFi
Broadcom has announced that its first NFC chips are ready to roll in a 40 NM flavor. We are pretty excited about Broadcom’s announcement because its NFC chips represent an evolution that is already taking place in near field communications hardware. The BCM2079x is the first near field communications (NFC) chip to be manufactured in 40 NM CMOS process which allows for a smaller size and subsequent power consumption, the company explains. In fact, Broadcom goes on to explain that these new NFC chips are an industry first.
“Broadcom BCM2079x family slashes power consumption by more than 90 percent, uses 40 percent fewer components and has a 40 percent smaller board area, making it the smallest and most power efficient NFC solution on the market,” the company says in its release.
“Broadcom is committed to making NFC as ubiquitous as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are today. These solutions provide the features and performance that enable disruptive innovation that will reshape the mobile consumer experience. Our leadership and proficiency in wireless connectivity influenced the architecture of these new chips to meet the performance required by OEMs, allowing them to more easily add NFC to their designs,” said Craig Ochikubo, VP and GM of Wireless Personal Area Networks at Broadcom Corporation.
Broadcom BCM2079x NFC chip supports multiple secure element types
Until now you have either had to have a SIM based NFC setup, a setup that takes an internal Secure Element or a separate one for a microSD solution. What separates Broadcom’s BCM2079x out from the crowd is the fact that the NFC chipset plays nicely with multiple Secure Element types which may help solve the issue of space available on SIM cards with another dedicated secure element housed within the NFC phone. This obviously makes the Broadcom BCM2079x perfect for NFC payments and secure applications. If it is possible to have more than one Secure Element in an NFC phone that will also allow for more than one provisioning service to deliver secure contact and apps to a phone. An example of this would be when you have one SE for NFC payments and then another that is protecting access control data, like what you would find with ASSA ABLOY’s digital key system.
“Broadcom has already demonstrated its leadership in helping drive adoption of technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in smartphones and other consumer electronics products, having established itself as the leading supplier of wireless connectivity combo chips to handset makers. The features and capabilities of these new solutions position the company to follow a similar trajectory with NFC.” John Devlin, Group Director of Security and Identification, ABI Research, commented.
“The NFC controllers are platform agnostic with support for multiple secure elements or SIM cards – or both at the same time.”
Main features and benefits of the Broadcom BCM2079x NFC Chip
- Reduces power consumption:
- Low power target detection mode, which leverages Broadcom’s innovative low-power techniques, reduces polling power consumption by more than 90 percent for longer battery life.
- Support for field power harvesting allows the chip to draw energy from the environment so it can support transactions even if the phone battery has expired.
- Reduces board space requirements and design complexity:
- Industry’s smallest size chip integrates more external components, reducing total solution BOM (bill of materials) costs.
- Easily pairs with Broadcom’s InConcert® BCM4330 Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and FM combo chip for comprehensive connectivity solution.
- Complete Broadcom software stack including Maestro™ middleware rounds out end-to-end solution for reduced design complexity, creative connectivity options and faster time to market.
- Provides support and flexibility for all business models and future wireless innovation:
- Only NFC controller to integrate transaction-based Application ID (AID) routing for simultaneous support of multiple Secure Elements (both SIM and non-SIM) within a single device.
- Multiple SWP (single wire protocol) interfaces allow for standards-based SIM and embedded Secure Element integration.
- Broadcom is also working closely with the NFC Forum to define and drive standards to ensure interoperability with other NFC devices.
As we have said many times before, an accelerated adoption of NFC could transform the use of smartphones. Broadcom sees that by advancing beyond contactless mobile payments and ticketing to enable radically simplified connectivity between the handset and other devices, we will likely soon see Bluetooth headsets and Wi-Fi-enabled digital televisions. Of course, we have not yet seen how well the Broadcom NFC chip does on performance, but this is a great step forward nonetheless. For us the low power consumption attributes and the multi-secure element features are the real boon for the NFC ecosystem and we hope to hear about OEM handset manufacturers embedding the Broadcom BCM2079x NFC chip into new phones soon.