We now have several options to add WiFi to IoT / embedded projects at relatively low cost, and ESP8266 based solutions clearly wins on costs, but are there some advantages to other higher priced modules? To help us find out, Mike Barela has put up a comparison table with some Wi-FI modules based on Espressif ESP8266, Texas Instruments CC3000, Microchip RN131, and H&D Wireless HDG204 processors.
- Note 1 – Also comes in Arduino Shield size with SD card slot for $39.95
- Note 2 & 3 – Adafruit and Sparkfun sell tested units with AT Firmware for $6.95. lower prices are available on eBay, but quality may vary.
- Note 4 – Currents are probably somewhat higher than stock ESP-12 due to onboard LED and regulator.
The comparison is not exhaustive, but it still appears to show ESP8266 solutions support most features than pricer competing modules. There are however case where competing solutions have an edge, for example if you need an Arduino shield, although ESP8622 can be programmed with the Arduino IDE, and some ESP8266 based shields are available, but probably not as well supported (yet?) as the ones from Sparkfun and Adafruit. Mike also considers Arduino shields and CC3000 to have better software support and documentation, although he acknowledges ESP8266 community has help narrowing the gap.
Finally, for battery powered systems, TI CC3000 is the best of the list, with Arduino shields not really suitable, and ESP8266 modules could be used but a lack of documented projects with optimized power usage may make such project a little more complicated. You can read Mike’s complete blog post for more on his take.