After TI and Qualcomm, here’s another WiFi solution for MCU aimed at the internet of things (IoT). Yesterday, Microchip Technology announced the Wi-Fi Comm Demo Board, which combines a Microchip 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller (PIC32MX695F512H) with a low-power MRF24WB0MA embedded Wi-Fi radio transceiver module.
This small (and cheap) demo board can be used to integrate with existing embedded designs and/or to evaluate Wi-Fi connectivity with a 32-bit MCU.
Contrary to TI and Qualcomm, the IP network stack is not implemented in hardware, but Microchip provides a TCP/IP stack that can be freely downloaded at http://www.microchip.com/get/A3VP. This TCP/IP stack includes HTML, DHCP, DNS, IPv4/v6, SSL, etc… (See diagram below) The memory footprint is 28-34 KB depending on the modules used.
I could not find details about power consumption, but the company claims their solution can also run with just 2 AAA batteries.
Microchip explains that this solution can enable the rapid growth of the embedded “Internet of Things” in applications such as thermostats, appliances, meters, pumps, security systems and sensors.
This board can be used as an expansion of existing systems by adding WiFi connectivity without installing wires.
Here are the key features of Micochip MCU/WiFi evaluation board:
- WiFi solution compatible with IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Access Points
- Supports Infrastructure and Ad hoc networks
- MRF24WB0MA module is FCC, IC, Wi-Fi® certified and ETSI compliant
- Powered by 2 AAA batteries
- Supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 security protocols
- The board has sensor I/O interface (8-pin) enabling application specific demos
The Wi-Fi Comm Demo Board (# DV102411) is available now for 49.99 USD on Microchip online store (MicrochipDirect). The company also provides the schematics and source code for the kit. Bear in mind that this board does not come with sensors, but a 8-pin connector allows you to connect your own sensors to the devkit.