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Best way to get wireless networking on microcontroller?

  1. Apr 30, 2009 #1
    Hi. I am planning to build a controller for a machine I have built. I can handle all the normal operation with any standard microcontroller and a few other components. However, I want my board to be able to communicate over a wireless network as well as wired network.

    Can anyone point me to a decent starting point for using wireless networking with a microcontroller?

    PS: By "best", I mean cheapest.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2009 #2


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    Start here http://www.freeduino.org/
    The arduino (atmel uC board) has a range of Wifi/Bluetooth/416Mhz RF boards

    Generally the design has to be certified (for power output/interference etc) so it's easier to buy a finished module to connect to your uC
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  4. Apr 30, 2009 #3
    You would need a wireless transceiver or controller of the specific wireless standard you want to use (802.11, zigbee, bluetooth etc.). If you want to use ethernet, you may want to check out something from here, although I think broadcom chips might be hard to get a hold of and hard to solder by hand:

    You just have to know the proper interface to your microcontroller and if it suits a specific solution, such as a memory mapped device, USB, UART, SPI etc.

    Some microcontrollers come with ethernet controllers, and you could possibly find a wireless transceiver/PHY that interfaces on a MII or RMII channel. Not sure what you're using.

    Also, when you build this, be careful that you have the proper impedance matching signals required on the physical layer.
  5. Apr 30, 2009 #4


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    Microchip makes a few microcontrollers with built-in ethernet handling capabilities. They also have some with built-in ZigBee or RFID, but, to the best of my knowledge, they don't have any with 802.11a, b, or g.

    If you search through your favourite online components dealer (e.g. DigiKey, Mouser, etc.) you should be able to find some add-on WiFi modules. In addition to what mgb_phys says, you can also try Gumstix or Rabbit Semiconductor for some all-in-one type modules.

  6. May 4, 2010 #5
    If your application needs extra fast latency but doesn't require a lot of bandwidth I'd like to suggest DataBridge modules from Starman Electric. These modules provide an easy wireless link, and allow you to treat the wireless like a regular wire. For more information on this, visit http://www.starmanelectric.com

    - mstarman

    << note that the above like has been posted by an employee of that company -- I'm okay with this for now (berkeman) >>
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2010
  7. May 4, 2010 #6


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    Interesting: ADC on one end and DAC on the other? What sort of sampling / refresh / slew rate do you get? The datasheet doesn't mention that specification.
  8. May 4, 2010 #7

    Hi MATLABdude,

    The sampling rate is 200hz, with a latency of 5 milliseconds. All inputs (analog, digital, and uart) are sampled and repeated at this rate.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    - mstarman
  9. May 4, 2010 #8
    The cheapest would def. be bluetooth, but I have seen it done with a wi-fi print server
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