Realtek RTL8710 Witty-like WiFi IoT Board with micro USB Port Sells for $8 / 35 RMB

Realtek RTL8710 could eventually become a serious competitor to ESP8266, as it’s based on ARM Cortex M3, provides many of the same features, and sells for roughly the same price. While currently software support is still work in progress and community is very small, I’ve recently written a quick start guide  using AT commands to control RTL8710 connectivity in station and access point mode, and commands are also available for GPIO, OTA firmware updates, servers… This however requires some soldering and a USB to TTL debug board, and is not quite as convenient as ESP8266 board like NodeMCU. Some RTL8710 and RTL8195 development boards are already available but they cost over $25, but I’ve been informed of a cheap no-name RTL8710 board with a micro USB port for programming and power, and well as headers with GPIOs, UARTs, NFC, and power pins, that looks somewhat similar to ESP8266 Witty board. […]

Getting Started with B&T RTL-00 RTL8710 Module – Serial Console, AT Commands, and ESP8266 Pin-to-Pin Compatibility

The announcement of the ultra-low cost ARM based Realtek RTL8710 WiFi modules for IoT applications generated quite a lot of buzz since they can potentially compete with the popular ESP8266 modules. The main problem at the time was documentation and software support, but after some searches we could find that RTL8710 was part of Realtek Ameba family, and found some documents and an SDK for RTL8710/RTL8711/RTL8195. ICStation also kindly provided one B&T RTL-00 module for review, which costs $3.55 shipped per unit, and as low as $2.85 if you purchase 10 or more. The question here is how to get started? The answer can be found in page 8 of the Chinese datasheet for the module with GB0 and GB1 pins used for Tx and Rx to access the serial console. Time for some soldering… For the first test, we’ll just need Tx (GB1), Rx (GB0), GND and 3.3V, and […]

Development Resources for Realtek “Ameba” RTL8710, RTL8711, and RTL8195 WiFi SoCs

We were made aware of a potential ARM based ESP8266 competitor last week with Realtek RTL8710 WiFi modules selling for about $3.5 shipped per unit, and under $2 per unit for larger orders (100+ pieces). Hardware is good, but for a platform to be successful, or even just useful, you also need software support. So I started doing some research into IoT-Tech BBS and asked ICStation for an “SDK” for the module they sold. I ended up on this forum post providing an “Realtek RTL8710 SDK” via Baidu (password: brwp), which turned out to be about the same as the Google Drive link provided by ICStation, and only contain minimal documents, as well as cracked Windows IAR Embedded Workshop and JLink tools. There are also some more technical details in Chinese only in another forum post, and well as B&T RTL8710 module datasheet (PDF). However, if you don’t read Chinese […]

An Alternative to ESP8266? Realtek RTL8710 ARM Cortex-M3 WiFi IoT Modules Sell for $2 and Up

ESP8266 WiFi modules initially stormed the maker market for IoT applications thanks to their low price, and later it became the dominant WiFi IoT platform for hobbyists thanks to its large community of developers. But technology progresses over time, and it’s always fun to look out for new solutions, and Realtek RTL8710 could prove to be an interesting alternative with its ARM Cortex-M3 processor @ 166 MHz, a little more user memory (48KB), audio support, faster WiFi performance, while still keeping a low price, as modules can be purchased for $3.90 on ICS station, a little more on eBay, and as low as $1.95 per unit on Aliexpress including shipping if you purchase 100 pieces or more. A Chinese website as a side-by-side comparison between Realtek RTL8710 and Espressif ESP8266, which I also found translated into English. Realtek RTL8710 Espresif ESP8266 Package QFN-48 (6×6 mm) QFN-32 (5×5 mm) CPU ARM […]

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