Q&A for "Introduction to nRF Connect SDK" webinar

This blog post contains answers to questions asked during the "Introduction to nRF Connect SDK" webinar hosted by Nordic Semiconductor 25.09.2019.

You can watch a recording of the webinar here. You can download the slides at the bottom of this post.

We have tried to answer the questions as best as we can, but some are difficult to answer without being able to ask follow-up questions. Redundant questions were discarded. If anything is still unclear please do not comment here, but instead ask your question in the DevZone Q&A section here


Q1: You say for nRF52 we should still use the old SDK. But if we would like to have a Bluetooth® controller that is used from the nRF91 we need to run Zephyr on the nRF52 and expose the raw HCI, right? (as you do in your Bluetooth® LTE gateway example)

Yes, if you just want to develop a product using the nRF52 Series, use the nRF5 SDK. However, if you want to use both the nRF9160 & nRF52 Series in a product, you can take a look at the Zephyr HCI UART example here, which is used in the LTE Gateway example.

Q2: Can we use PPI function with Zephyr peripheral API? 

Here is a sample that uses DPPI. Note that there is a patch for SPM there, to enable it as a non-secure peripheral.

Q3: Are all NB-IoT bands supported for Europe? 

See which bands are supported here.

Q4: Zephyr has a "google_iot_mqtt" sample ... is this ported to nrf91 ? 

AFAIK no. However, we do have a simple mqtt example here.

Q5: Using micrium OS is an option ? 

No, we do not have support for micrium OS unfortunately.

Q6: Can you please clarify embedded studio license. It is free for commercial deployment as well as long as we use nordic ICs 

Yes, it is free for commercial deployment if you use Nordic ICs (link 1, link 2).

Q7: Is there a benefit for using the SPM? as opposed to just having your application running and using the whole memory space? 

Like I mentioned in the webinar, the Secure Partition Manager (SPM) sets the TrustZone functionality with secure & non-secure regions of flash & peripherals. The SPM is required because the modem only works in the non-secure mode and the reset value of a ARM Cortex M33 is to run in the secure mode. The SPM allows you to jump to the non-secure mode.

Q8: Will the nRF91 stuff be "upstreamed" to zephyr ? 

We upstream as much as we can, but not everything fits in upstream, due to licensing and so forth. The nRF9160 DK board files have been upstreamed to zephyr for example.

Q9: Is there a clear example on how to setup/map pin & peripherals ? 

The webinar gives a short introduction to the secure partition manager & using the device tree. This blog post gives a more in depth introduction to nRF Connect SDK.

Q10: Will zephyr support be provided by Nordic when using the nRF91 Series or is it unsupported and we must refer to the zephyr community? 

Yes, Zephyr support is provided.

Q11: How do you track version dependencies between all these repos? 

Using git & west.

Q12: What is the support for Cellular IoT with Bluetooth mesh? 

Right now, we do not have support for Bluetooth mesh on the nRF9160 DK or Nordic Thingy:91 out of the box. However, you could run Bluetooth mesh on the nRF52840 SoC using the nRF5 SDK for Mesh & run nRF Connect SDK on the nRF9160 SiP. (Both nRF52840 SoC and nRF9160 SiP are on the nRF9160 DK and Nordic Thingy:91)

Q13: Have been tested with eclipse, gcc and gdb? 

Eclipse as an editor, using ninja in the background + GDB is natively supported by cmake output generator cmake <> -G“Eclipse CDT4 - Ninja”

Q14: Could you please discuss RAM usage, in particular what is the largest contiguous static RAM buffer that an application could allocate?

As much as you have available for the region you’re in (non-secure or secure)

Q15: Can the nRF91 sleep in eDRX, as opposed to PSM, while using GPS? This is to avoid a reconnection to LTE.

Not yet. However, we do plan to implement this in the near term. As mentioned in the webinar, if you only want to send data every once in a while (i.e. > 10 min), it is recommended to use PSM instead.

Q16: How do you enable 'thin mode' for NB-IoT with an external application processor?

You need to run a special application on the nRF9160 SiP application MCU that communicates from your external application processor via the nR9160 SiP application processor to the nRF9160 SiP modem. Take a look at this pull request, which should be merged into the master branch soon hopefully. Just wait until the sample is merged into the master branch of nRF Connect SDK & you should be good to go!

Q17: What is the timeline for new releases of nRF Connect SDK? When is next planned released? How often will you make releases in the future?

Ask you local Regional Sales Manager for updates. We will make releases as fast as possible when we have new features to add. You can take a look at the nRF Connect SDK master branch to see the newest features out.

Q18: Is the nRF Connect SDK just for the nRF91 Series? Or is it also for nRF52 Series? I would love to fork and contribute to the nRF5 SDK on GitHub

The nRF Connect SDK is only for the nRF9160 SiP. The nRF52840 SoC on the nRF9160 DK does run the Zephyr HCI UART example, so it is possible to use nRF Connect SDK on the nRF52 Series. However, if you wish to develop a Bluetooth Low Energy Project on the nRF52 Series, we recommend you to use the nRF5 SDK.

Q19: You cannot run 15.4 directly on a nRF91, are you running the some of the protocol on the 91 app processor and the rest in a 811?

802.15.4 would need to run on the nRF52840 SoC on the nRF9160 DK or Thingy:91. You could then communicate via the nRF52840 SoC & the nRF9160 SiP via e.g. UART.

Q20: nRF Connect SDK able to port on to the nrf5 controller without nrf91?

Take a look at the HCI UART example.

Q21: Only Embedded Studio no IAR or Keil support?

Yes, only Segger Embedded Studio is supported as of now.

Q22: Where I can get sample codes for the Thingy91? (example of Sensors, GPS, Cellulars,...)

Take a look at the nRF Connect SDK Master branch. The Nordic Thingy:91 code has been merged into the master branch already. I have tested the code & it works perfectly. Make sure to use the nrf9160_pca20035 board located here: ncs_master\nrf\boards\arm\nrf9160_pca20035.

Q23: Will you record and publish the webinar with the attendees? The time doesn't fit in my time-zone.

Yes. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.

Q24: Hello, we are developing using nRF52 SDK for BLE Mesh. Could this webinar be interesting for us? Do you think that mesh will be integrated to Connect SDK in the future? Thank you 

Please contact your local Regional Sales Manager for questions about future plans and releases.

Q25: If I can’t attend the webinar, will the recording be available later?

Yes. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.

Again, if anything is still unclear please do not comment here, but instead ask your question in the DevZone Q&A section here.

Introduction to nRF Connect SDK.pdf