The convenience of our connected devices is enhancing our lives in ways we couldn’t image a decade ago. From getting health and wellness feedback via smart phones and smart watches to optimizing the climate control settings in our homes, the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving adoption of connected devices at a pace that industry leaders predict will surpass 50 billion nodes by 2020.
In other words, the IoT is quickly becoming a big thing in our daily lives. With IoT’s ubiquitous presence in our lives, embedded designers are increasingly concerned about two issues: security and power management.
As IoT devices become more prevalent, they’re also becoming popular (and sometimes easy) targets for would-be hackers. Each connected device represents a potential gateway to more secure networks (pro tip: don’t use the same password for everything). At the same time, energy usage is important for reducing footprint of space-constrained applications and extending battery life for nodes that may be expected to perform continuously for months or even years.
With these challenges in mind, we’ve announced the next generation of Gecko technology with the new Jade and Pearl Gecko microcontrollers (MCU). These MCUs deliver a combination of state-of-the-art hardware cryptography and advanced power management for IoT applications.
Both Jade and Pearl Gecko MCUs feature on-chip cryptography engines for autonomous encryption and decryption of Internet security protocols including TLS/SSL. They also support advanced AES algorithms with 128- of 256-bit keys, elliptical curve cryptography (ECC) and SHA-1 and SHA-224/256. Making these functions of the hardware allows low power analog peripherals to operate while the core sleeps. Without encryption hardware, the MCU would have to run the algorithm in software, creating a power drag that can be avoided.
These MCUs also integrate a high-efficiency dc-dc buck converter for ultra-low-power operation without sacrificing control and connectivity. It also makes it possible for devices to operate down to the lowest usable voltage of the batteries. These products are ideally suited for energy-sensitive applications including smart home devices, wearables and security sensors. And you can achieve these power efficiencies without sacrificing security.
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To help you get started with both new Gecko system designs, visit our comprehensive Simplicity Studio development platform where you will find application notes, example designs and other resources.