Posts Tagged ‘wifi’

Music802 Linux Audio & IoT Board is Powered by Atheros AR9331 SoC (Crowdfunding)

July 26th, 2016 4 comments

When Link Card evaluated processors for a Linux audio IoT board, they considered candidates like Allwinner H3 and Ralink RT5350, but eventually went with Atheros AR9331 due to cost, simplicity, features, and power consumption reasons for their Music802 board based on LC930 system-on-module.

Music802Music802 board specifications:

  • SoC – Atheros AR9331 MIPS 24K WiSoC @ 400 MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 16MB SPI Flash
  • Audio – Cirrus Logic WM8960 Codec; 2x 3.5 mm jacks for Line IN and headphone; optical S/PDIF output; on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100M Ethernet ports (WAN & LAN), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with 1x IPEX antenna connector
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host, 1x micro USB port for power only
  • Debugging –  3-pin 2.54mm pitch header for serial console
  • Expansion – 16-pin 2.0mm pitch header for GPIO, UART, I2C, etc..
  • Misc – Power, system, and 2x user LEDs, 1x reset button, 1x power switch
  • Power Supply – 5V/1A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 83 x 77mm

The board runs u-boot + OpenWrt, the company claims the project is open source, and promises to release source code and hardware files to backers. The latter is often promised on crowdfunding campaigns, but no always followed through. I’ve asked the company whether they had any github account or similar, and will update the post accordingly if I get an answer.There’s a github account with u-boot code, but the OpenWrt repo is empty for now.

Audio_IoT_BoardMusic802 project has launched on Indiegogo (flexible campaign), and the company aims to raise $7,500. You’ll need to pledge $19 to get the board with an external antenna, and if you are interested in LC930 CPU module instead, there are rewards for the system-on-module starting at $40 for 5 LC930 modules. The board price is probably OK, but sadly the $25 to $35 shipping fee makes it completely unattractive. The first 50 boards would be shipped one week after the campaign, and other boards about 3 weeks later. Bear in mind that one reason for raising funds is to pass CE and FCC certifications, so I assume none of the Music802 boards will have it at that time. LC930 module is likely already certified since it was released in 2013, and you can find more details on the product page.

AsiaRF AP7620-MPE-1 OpenWrt WiFi Router mini PCIe Card is Made for Computers and Embedded Systems

July 26th, 2016 5 comments

There are many mini PCIe WiFi modules on the market, but what AsiaRF provides with AP7620-MPE-1 is a little different, as it’s a router based on Mediatek MT7620A fitted into a mini PCIe card to be plugged inside a computer or embedded system.

WiFi_mini_PCIe_OpenWrt_RouterAP7620-MPE-1 mini PCIe card specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7620A MIPS 24KEc CPU @ 580MHz with 2T2R WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (but board only supports 1×1)
  • 802.11ac WiFI Chipset – Mediatek MT7612E AC1200 chipset limited to 433 Mbps [Changed to MT7610E chipset @ 433 Mbps]
  • System Memory – 64 or 128MB DDR2
  • Storage – 8 or 16MB SPI flash
  • WiFI features
    • Security: 64/128-bit WEP, TKIP, WPA, WPA2, AES; 802.1X Authentication with RADIUS Client
    • Multi-mode support: Access Point/Client mode
    • Support Multiple SSIDs
  • mini PCIe interface with USB2.0 to Ethernet, UART, 8 GPIOs, 1.5V, 3.3V and ground
  • Dimensions – 60 x 41.5 mm (bigger than standard mini card: 50.95 x 30 mm)

The card is seen as a USB 2.0 to Ethernet dongle from the system, with the dongle connected to a router. The reason why the AC1200 chipset is limited to 433 Mbps is because of the USB 2.0 interface in the mini PCIe card itself limited to 480 Mbps.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The company also told me there will be three versions of firmware SDK for this router:

  • Mediatek official SDK
  • Mediatek OpenWrt SDK with Mediatek WiFi driver
  • SDK with “public” WiFi driver (most of time uses less power)

The company does not have an habit of release firmware and documentation publicly, so you’ll probably get them after you purchase the card. In case you wonder why you’d ever need such mini PCIe card the company claims “it is ideal for multi-purpose installations for sharing wireless connections”.

The first engineering samples have just been produced. Price will be around $20 per unit, with discount in larger quantities. You can find some more technical details on the product page.

Onion Omega2 is a $5 Linux WiFi IoT Board (Crowdfunding)

July 20th, 2016 5 comments

Onion Omega board was first introduced in 2015. The tiny OpenWrt Linux board featured an Atheros AR9331 processor with GPIO headers, and various baseboards and add-ons. The company has now launched a Kickstarter campaign for the second versions – Omega2 & Omega2 Plus – with a faster processor @ 580 MHz, compatible with docks and add-ons boards used for Omega, and a much lower price with $5 for the Omega2, and $9 for Omega2 Plus with more storage and memory.

Omega vs Omega2 / Omega2 Plus Board

Omega vs Omega2

Omega2 & Omega2 Plus specifications:

  • WiSoC – 580 MHz processor, possibly Mediatek MT7688 MIPS processor used in LinkIt Smart 7688
  • System Memory
    • Omega2 – 64MB
    • Omega2 Plus – 128MB
  • Storage
    • Omage2 – 16MB flash
    • Omega 2 Plus – 32MB flash + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity
    • Built-in – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with on-board and external antenna support
    • Via add-on boards – Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS, and 2G/3G
  • Expansion – 15x GPIO, 2x PWM, 2x UART, 1x I2C, 1x SPI, 1xI2S
  • Power Supply –
  • Dimensions – A fourth the size of the Raspberry Pi, and less than a third the size of the Arduino UNO
Omega2 with Dock and Arduino Shield

Omega2 with Dock and Arduino Shield

Although the module can be used own its own, it’s much easier and fun to use with docks with the Expansion dock, mini dock,  power dock, or Arduino dock shown above, and combined with one or more add-on boards adding relays, OLED displays, servo board, Ethernet, Bluetooth, GPS, or 2G/3G cellular connectivity. The developers also partnered with ControlEverything to provide for sensors add-ons.

Omega2_ProgrammingOmega2 runs Linux, likely OpenWrt, and can be programming with visual editor like Node-RED, as well as programming languages like C, C++, Node.js, Python, and php. You can checkout their github repositories to see what they’ve done for the original Omega board.

The campaign has reached its funding target within a few hours. Beside Omega2 and Omega2 Plus board, you may also consider get a bundle with a dock of your choice for $20 or $24, and various other kits are also offered as rewards. Please note that shipping is not included, and they’ll ask you to pay shipping later when the board is ready to ship with the price for the board only expected to be around $2 for most people, but it can be as high as $15 to some countries. Delivery is scheduled for November 2016.

Thanks to Freire & Nanik for the tip.

PSF-A85 is a $2 ESP8285 WiFi Board for IoT and Wearables

July 15th, 2016 5 comments

Last month, we found out that Espressif has made a smaller version of ESP8266 targeting wearables called ESP8285, but the only development board available at the time was quite more expensive than usual at about $25. ITEAD has now released an ESP8285 module with some I/Os and an IPEX connector which they sell for just $1.99 + shipping.


PSF-A85 specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif ESP8285 Tensila WiFi SoC @ 80/160 MHz with 1MB flash
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/d/e/i/k/r with support for STA/AP/STA+AP modes, WPA/WPA2 PSK and WEP security
    • Antenna – IPEX connector (antenna not included) or “stamp hole interface”
  • Expansion – 24-pin with GPIO, PWM, UART up to 460800 bps, SPI, ADC,
  • Power Supply – 3.3 V
  • Dimensions – 13.7 x 13.4 mm
Click to Enlarge

PSF-A85 Schematics – Click to Enlarge

More technical information include the schematics (PDF only) and ESP8285 datasheet can be found in the Wiki, which sadly does not contain any software / getting started information, but those should be the exactly same as for ESP8266.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac Wave 2 Products Support MU-MIMO, 160 MHz Channels, and More

July 5th, 2016 No comments

802.11ac WiFi is now found in many routers and devices, and the Wi-Fi alliance has so far certified close to 3,000 “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac” products. I understand that certification is not mandatory, but if you want to make sure a device works well, the certification at least means the devices have been tested for interoperability, security and application specific protocols, and found to work in a satisfactory manner.


Now the Wi-Fi alliance has announced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac Wave 2 certification program with the following new requirements:

  • MU-MIMO (Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output) in order to send data to multiple devices at once to improve overall  network efficiency and throughput
  • 160 MHz channels support (not only 80 MHz) potentially doubling transmission speeds
  • Four spatial streams instead of just three spatial streams.
  • Extended 5 GHz channel support by adding more channels in the 5 GHz to reduce interference and congestion.

Currently the following WiFi SoCs, routers, and reference designs are said to be certified with Wave 2 features:

  • Broadcom BCM94709R4366AC
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8964
  • MediaTek MT7615 AP Reference Design and MT6632 STA Reference Design
  • Qualcomm IPQ8065 802.11ac 4-stream Dual-band, Dual-concurrent Router
  • Quantenna QSR1000 4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 Chipset Family

WiFi_CERTIFIED_ac_Wave_2_featuresAccording to Wi-Fi alliance website, You can check “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac (with wave 2 features)” products by following this link, and at the time of writing there are 9 products listed. However, if you show “advanced filters” in that link, only “DL MU-MIMO” is selected, and if you  start selecting “160 MHz channels” and “Extended 5 GHz Channel Support”, the number drops to two items: Broadcom BCM94709R4366AC and Mediatek MT6632. So either there’s a temporary issue with the website, or the certification does not guarantee all features are included, only MU-MIMO.

WiReboot is a Watchdog Device Rebooting Your Router if the WiFi Connection is Lost (Crowdfunding)

July 4th, 2016 17 comments

Routers are usually pretty stable devices, but sometimes they still hang, and I think I must reboot my router about 2 to 3 times a year as I lose (Ethernet) connectivity. I’m usually at home, so it’s not really an issue as I can just walk a few meters to manually reboot the router.  But if you are often on the go, and have a few WiFi devices such as smoker alarms, smart lights, and other home automation products that you may want to control over the Internet, if WiFi goes down nothing works. Luckily there’s a solution: WiReboot, a small device powered by ESP8266 that will check your WiFi and Internet connection, and automatically restart the router if it fails.WiReboot_InstallationKey features of WiReboot:

  • ESP8266 module for 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connection
  • USB – 1x USB input port to connect your router power supply, and 1x USB output to connect to the router.
  • Expansion – 6 through holes for
  • Input Voltage – 5V to 12V
  • Optional add-on modules – temperature, humidity, light, 433 transmitter.

The system also supports remote reboot. As with many ESP8266, you’ll be able to hack it, and run your own Arduino sketch, NodeMCU (Lua) program, and so on.

WiReboot_BoardThe project has well surpassed its $1,000 target on Kickstarter. WiReboot with USB-DC cables requires a $18 CAD pledge ($13.88 US), and other rewards with add-on boards are also available starting at $22 CAD (~$17.74 US). Shipping adds $5, and delivery is scheduled for September 2016. Note that the included USB DC may or may not be compatible with your router (due to different jack sizes), but adapters are usually inexpensive and easy to find.

Thanks to TLS for the tip.

WiThumb is an ESP8266 WiFi USB Adapter with Motion and Temperature Sensors (Crowdfunding)

July 1st, 2016 9 comments

There are now plenty of Espressif ESP8266 boards or module to play with, but most of them require some cables or wires, at least for power. WiThumb does not need any of that as it’s designed to be plugged into any USB ports, and includes a 6-axis motion sensor, and a temperature sensor.


WiThumb USB dongle specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif ESP8266 32-bit MCU with 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Storage – 4MB Flash memory
  • Sensors – Temperature sensor (+/- 0.25C typical accuracy, -40 to 125 C range), 6-axis gyroscope + accelerometer
  • Expansion – Breadboard friendly through holes with 1x 10-bit ADC, I2C and 4x GPIOs
  • USB – USB type A connector
  • Misc – Reset and flash buttons
  • Power – 5V via USB port
  • Dimensions – 4.8 x 2.2 cm

The USB stick can be programmed like most ESP8266 board, i.e. via USB using the Arduino IDE.

WiThumb_Car_Monitoring_TV_MonitoringIn case you wonder what kind of application it could be useful for, the developer has come up with a few ideas including an Internet connected thermometer, an IMU (Inertial measurement unit) for drones and robots, home/office security (using motion sensors), IoT gateway,WiFi sniffer,Monitor or TV usage logging, driving habits logger (with accelerometer), and many others with you augment the USB stick capabilities through I2C, GPIO or ADC.

As many other projects, WiThumb has gone to Kickstarter to get funds for mass production, and has almost reached its lowly $2,000 funding target. A $19 pledge should get you WiThumb, but you may want to add $3 more to get the plastic case too, and there are rewards with multiple WiThumb. Shipping adds $4 to the US, and $10 to the rest of the world for one unit, and only a little more if you purchase several units. Delivery is scheduled for November 2016, except the “developer’s deal” reward (September 2016). You may also want to checkout for info about previous projects by the developer, and access to support forums.

$25 Ameba Arduino IoT Board Powered by Realtek RTL8195AM MCU Supports WiFi and NFC

June 29th, 2016 No comments

Ameba Arduino is another development board for the Internet of Things, but beside WiFi connectivity, it also includes an NFC tag, and can support Ethernet via Arduino compatible headers. The brain of the board is Realtek RTL8195AM ARM Cortex M3 MCU that includes WiFi connectivity, hardware SSL, SRAM, and flash.


Ameba Arduino Specifications:

  • MCU – Realtek RTL8195AM ARM Cortex M3 @  up to 166MHz with 512KB SRAM, 1MB ROM, WiFi connectivity, hardware SSL engine
  • Memory – 2MB SDRAM
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 1T1R with PCB antenna and external antenna connector, NFC tag with read/write Function, 10/100M Ethernet via expansion headers
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB host port
  • Expansion Headers
    • SDIO Device/SD card controller
    • Up to 30x GPIOs
    • 2x SPI interfaces supporting master and slave modes
    • 3x UART interfaces including 2 HS-UART and one log UART
    • 4x I2C Interfaces supporting master and slave mode
    • 2x I2S/PCM interfaces supporting master and slave mode
    • 4x PWM interfaces
    • 2x ADC interfaces, 1x DAC interface
  • Debugging – micro USB for CMSIS-DAP debugger, UART console, and JTAG
  • Misc – DAP update, DAP reset, and Ameba reset buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port

    Pinout Diagram - Click to Enlarge

    Pinout Diagram – Click to Enlarge

A sensor board with motion sensors (9-axis), a temperature and humidity sensor, a proximity sensor, a pressure sensor, an hear rate sensor, and a buzzer is also mentioned in the documentation, but I could not find pictures or more much details about this extension board.

You’ll need a (Windows) PC, a micro USB to USB cable, an RS-232 to UART board, and optionally a JTAG cable to work with the board.

Beside programming with the Arduino IDE, the company also provides an mbed + FreeRTOS SDK for more flexibility.

Ameba_mbed_SDKMore technical details, including detailed tutorials, can be found on, and the Ameba Arduino board can be purchased on eBay for $24.99 + shipping.