ESP8266 WiFi Serial Module Costs Just $5

Wi-Fi is great because it’s ubiquitous, and rather fast for a wireless standard. However, it drains batteries fast, and Wi-Fi modules are usually much more expensive than Bluetooth modules for instance. There’s not much that can be done with regards to power consumption, but thanks to ESP8266 module, it’s now feasible to add Wi-Fi to your Arduino board, or others, for just $5 including shipping on Aliexpress, but SeeedStudio also have it for $6.95. If you buy 1,000 pieces, it goes down to about $3 per unit.

As reported by Hackaday, this module embeds ESP8266 SoC which takes care off all IP stacks, a bit like Texas Instruments CC3000 SoC, but it’s just much cheaper.

Here are some of the specifications of the module (and processor):

  • SoC – Espressif Systems ESP8266 32-bit RISC processor with 802.11 b/g/n support(32-pin QFN package), Interfaces: SDIO 2.0, SPI, UART, I2S
  • Wi-Fi – 802.112 b/g/n with WEP, TKIP, AES, and WAPI engines, Wi-Fi direct (P2P), and soft-AP
  • Header – 8-pin header with GND, VCC (3.3V), Rx and RX, and 4 NC pins.
  • Standby power consumption – < 1.0mW (DTIM3)
  • Dimensions – 21 x 11 mm
  • Weight – 3 grams

SeeedStudio has provided documentation for the module including the AT Instruction Set and ESP8266 Specifications both in Chinese only, but there’s also a translation of the datasheet in English. There;s also a “IoT SDK” available for the board that includes tools, scripts, binary libraries, and an IoT demo programmed in C language.

Schematics with ESP8622 Wi-Fi SoC
Schematics with ESP8622 Wi-Fi SoC

There are very few references to ESP8266 on the net for now, so even if it’s feasible to use it with Arduino boards for example, somebody (YOU!) still have to write the AT command set to control the module, and it won’t be as easy as using an already supported Wi-Fi shield, until a library makes it to the Arduino IDE. One developer plans to interface it with TI MSP430 MCU.

Thanks to Freire!

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cnxsoftJon SmirldeetsGeorg Recent comment authors
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Having a look at the Linkerfile (of the IOT SDK) – probably reveals the following specs:

dport0_0_seg : org = 0x3FF00000, len = 0x10
dram0_0_seg : org = 0x3FFE8000, len = 0x14000
iram1_0_seg : org = 0x40100000, len = 0x8000
irom0_0_seg : org = 0x40240000, len = 0x32000



Interesting to compare to QCA400x products which also I think use Xtensa core. Nice to have lots of competition in this area!


Can you compile SDK with free tools or is SDK from Tensilica needed?


Some info on tool chains here. I’m building myadk currently.


Discussion about getting this chip working are here:


[…] Wi-Fi modules are pretty popular this year. After modules such as VoCore, AsiaRF AWM002, and ESP8622, here’s come xWifi. This module is based on Mediatek MT7681 SoC which includes a TCP/IP […]


[…] [3]… […]


[…] at $39 it may have started to feel a little expensive compared to the new IoT Wi-Fi modules such as ESP82666 or xWiFi, so the company has unveiled a new Wi-Fi board called Photon that’s smaller, better, […]


[…] has been some buzz around ESP8266 Wi-Fi module, mostly because of its price, and SDK availability, meaning it could become the Wi-Fi equivalent of […]


[…] ESP8622 has drastically brought down the price of adding Wi-Fi to MCU boards such as Arduino UNO,  but you need to add some cables, and take care of 3.3V to 5V conversion for the UART pins either with a divider made of 2 resistors, or a FET level shifter, and you may not be able to access all I/O of ESP8622 on the popular ESP-01 version of the module. For a neater solution, Freetronics had designed ESP-01 WiFi Module Shield that takes care of all these small issues. […]


[…] ESP8266 revolutionized the IoT world by offering an ultra low cost Wi-Fi solution either standalone or connected to a micro-controller board via SPI or UART. There are plenty of tutorials on the web to play with the Wi-Fi module, but it’s only recently an Arduino IDE has added support for ESP8266. […]


[…] ESP8266 WiFi modules are very popular in the maker community, but so far I have not seen it in any devices myself, until I saw a tweet from @EspressifSystem about a Mini K smart socket. A search on Aliexpress lead me to two devices made by Konke, who also made Kankun KK-SP3 WiFi socket, with Mini K and Mini Pro smart sockets. […]