Friday, November 15, 2013

WIFI for Our Projects

I remember reading (many years ago); With the invent of the Internet, we would eventually have many in-home devices that would be addressable and controlled via an IP Address. The prediction suggested that even the common Light Bulb would someday be networked.

To date, there are many "computer devices" that are controlled via an IP Address, and many of them are connected via WIFI.

But so far, many Light Bulbs (or LED) still do not have IP Addresses.  The big reason for this is the expense of the compute power needed by each addressable device. A computer or controller is needed to perform the complex network functions, like; TCP/IP Stack, DHCP. Authentication, and General Data Transfer. For most hobby project developers, the complex networking software development is the most difficult impediment.

But, a relatively new device, the TI CC3000MOD (at $20.00) does all the network hard stuff at a relatively low cost. The CC3000 is programmed and data is sent to/from a project device via a simple two wire SPI interface. The actual chip is a little hard to work with, because of its physical small size, board layout, antenna requirements, and soldering methods.

But, Adafruit.com has a new product which uses the CC3000 to make it easy to include WIFI Networking in a controller project.  (Yes I know, my blog is starting to sound like a Adafruit commercial, but they are one of the leaders, and provide some great inexpensive project components. And, No, as stated in other blogs entries, I do NOT work for them. I just really like some of their products.)

Adafruit CC3000 Breakout Board, with Integrated WIFI Antenna *
The Adafruit.com CC3000 Breakout Board (at $35.00) is a small pre-assembled board that can be attached to any project with only a simple 9 pin header. Programming, control, and data transfer is via the 2 wire SPI interface. Complex TCIP/IP stack programming is NOT necessary, as all of the hard work is done by the chip and/or included libraries.

Note: other configurations are available which include external antenna connector and Protoboard space.

I plan to order a couple to experiment with for my future projects.


* As stated before, the photos has been taken from the Adafruit web site without their permission, hopefully they will not mind for this use and recommendation.


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