All-in-one Non-Volatile Memory enables new design possibilities for ultra-low power IoT modules

IoT modules are common solutions found in IoT edge or endpoint devices to speed up time to market and circumvent the difficulties of miniaturization and ultra-low power operation. IoT modules operate in standalone mode to datalog, and connect to the cloud for exchanging data packets and downloading firmware in batches over the air. These actions are very energy-intensive, yet power concerns in battery-operated modules (instant wake-up, controlled current surge, average power dissipation) are critical for long device lifetime.

A Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) buffer tailored for ultra-low power, efficient datalogging and fast upload/download, can enhance module efficiency while minimizing power dissipation.

In 2022, ST brings you a new high-density, all-in-one Non-Volatile Memory family.

Based on ST-patented CMOS NVM technology, combined with over 20 years of expertise in EEPROM development, this product family is a game changer for ultra-low power embedded systems and very small IoT modules.

7 NVM design considerations to overcome the challenges of ultra-low power embedded systems:

Ultra-low power consumption

Reaching the right balance between size, performance and power consumption is challenging, especially with battery-operated modules. Designers need to use an NVM for parameter update, datalogging, event recording, and over-the-air mixed operation, while reducing their energy budget.

ST’s new NVM increases power efficiency. It saves up to 5 times more energy in read mode and up to 10 times in write mode, compared to similar devices in the industry.

Parameter setting and datalogging

IoT applications embed many sensor nodes and modules to monitor motion and environmental data. Datalogging and event recording functions carry out further analysis. This is usually easy to implement in EEPROM devices, but they often only provide a memory capacity of up to 4Mbit.

A flexible Non-Volatile Memory, with up to 64Mbit, byte and page write ability and high cycling performance, eliminates the need for a software emulation stack and a wear-leveling strategy. At the same time, it ensures robust data retention after cycling.

Handling ASIC bootloader

Application-Specific Controllers (ASICs) use RAM for code execution, but they need an external Non-Volatile Memory for boot code download at power-up.

A 64-Mbit NVM, with very fast power-up availability and SPI quad output, can speed up module wake-up time and improve end-user experience.

Fast Firmware update Over the Air (FOTA)

IoT devices connect to the cloud to upgrade their firmware version, which means device owners cannot use them while they perform the updates. Upgrading firmware ensures long-term performance and often provides security improvements at the same time.

With sector and block erase times down to a few milliseconds, and a fast page programming mode, a fast 64-Mbit NVM can boost firmware updates and shorten module downtime.

Reliable device operation on small battery

Small IoT modules for complex environment-sensing require small batteries for flexible use and integration. Direct battery plug-in implies limited instant power and a drop in the output voltage in time.

A tolerant Non-Volatile Memory with a wide supply range and controlled peak current preserves the battery, and ensures reliable operation over time.

Robust long-lasting retention

Designers of high-end applications with challenging mission profiles dream of using a single NVM for read-only parameters, calibration tables, boot code, cycled data, and that would ensure data reliability over time.

A reliable Non-Volatile Memory with up to 64Mbit and user-transparent Error Code Correction (ECC) simplifies data integrity strategies and ensures long-term robustness. With ST’s new NVM, there is no need for complex strategies!

Small form factors

Mobile applications require small, highly integrated components. This constraint also applies to the NVM that is at the heart of the system.

An 8-pin SPI NVM, available in a small and robust SO8N, DFN8, or a tiny WLCSP8 package, is ideal for space-efficient designs.

All-in-one efficient, flexible, ultra-low power Non-Volatile Memory

All-in-one efficient, flexible, ultra-low power
Non-Volatile Memory