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STMicroelectronics Unveils STM32WL3: A Long-Range, Low-Power MCU for Smart Grid Applications

STMicroelectronics has introduced the STM32WL3, a sub-GHz wireless microcontroller unit (MCU) designed for applications such as smart metering, smart building, and industrial monitoring. The STM32WL3 is a low-power, long-range MCU that operates in sub-GHz ISM frequency bands, including 413MHz – 479MHz and 826MHz – 958MHz. It will also support the 169MHz frequency band in 2024. The MCU features multi-protocol and multi-modulation radio, supporting various wireless protocols such as Sigfox, KNX, WiSun, mioty, and M-Bus.

In addition to its wide range of supported protocols, the STM32WL3 boasts new power-saving features that can extend the battery life of devices to up to 15 years. The MCU is equipped with an Arm Cortex-M0+ core, with a clock speed of up to 64 MHz. It offers options for 16KB or 32KB of SRAM with full retention, as well as 128KB or 256KB of flash storage.

The STM32WL3 supports data rates ranging from 0.1 to 600 kbit/s and has a maximum transmit power of up to +20dBm. It also features a configurable hardware sequencer for autonomous radio operations, including sniff mode, frequency hopping, low duty cycle mode, and listen before talk. The MCU includes a low-power autonomous wakeup receiver (LPAWUR) with -50 dBm sensitivity, allowing devices to wake up from sleep mode when necessary.

In terms of peripherals, the STM32WL3 offers a range of options, including an LCD driver, up to 32 GPIOs, USART, LPUART, SPI, I2C, and a DMA controller. It also includes a 12-bit ADC, a comparator, and a 6-bit sample-and-hold DAC output. The MCU features clock sources and timers, including a 16-bit general-purpose timer and an RTC.

Security is a key consideration for IoT devices, and the STM32WL3 includes features such as a secure bootloader with SWD disabling, an AES-128 co-processor, and a 16-bit true random number generator (TRNG). It also has an embedded UART bootloader with selectable write and read-out protection.

The power management capabilities of the STM32WL3 are impressive, with a supply voltage range of 1.7 to 3.6V DC. The MCU has ultra-low-power power-on-reset and power-down-reset, as well as a programmable voltage detector. It consumes only 14 µA/MHz of dynamic current and has a low standby current of 14 nA in shutdown mode.

With its wide range of supported protocols, power-saving features, and robust security capabilities, the STM32WL3 is well-suited for applications in the smart metering, smart building, and industrial monitoring sectors. Its long-range capabilities and low-power consumption make it an ideal choice for IoT devices that require reliable wireless connectivity and extended battery life.

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