Next gen wireless apps with FRAM-based MCUs
Posted:14 May 2012
Despite its remarkable and steady growth, the embedded wireless segment has not yet realized its full potential as some fundamental design problems remain unsolved.
These challenges are due to limitations in battery and supply solutions, varying memory requirements, wireless security, and reliability.
The recent revolutionary change in memory technology, highlighted by the release of embedded ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM), offers developers the best option to tackle these design obstacles.
This article will explore these design challenges and the unique features FRAM offers as a memory alternative for embedded wireless applications.
FRAM behaves similarly to DRAM, allowing for random individual bit access for both read and write.
Unlike EEPROM or Flash memory technology, FRAM access requires no special sequence or higher programming voltage. However, FRAM is non-volatile, thus retaining its contents when power is removed and offers more flexibility, eliminating any design compromises bi-partisan memory traditionally causes.
Though standalone FRAM has been available in the market, its adoption has been limited to general usage in memory storage devices. However, the recent advancement of FRAM technology by on-chipmicrocontroller (MCU) integration has rightfully promoted and popularized this next-generation memory technology to a much broader application space.
The coupling of FRAM with MCUs has in fact enabled the full realization and utilization of the unique memory features in FRAM: universal memory, low-power access, flexibility, high endurance and reliability.
The importance of these features can be advantageous and essential in any embedded system; they also happen to be the empowering key features embedded wireless applications have been missing all this time.
Figure 1: Selecting memory configuration with universal memory.