Connect One: Tiny WiFi module for embedded devices

Connect One Nano WiReach is an embedded WiFi bridge that quickly connects any embedded device to 802.11b/g wireless LANs with minimal programming. It measures 1.7 x 3.3 cm.
By Control Engineering Staff October 22, 2008

San Jose, CAConnect One has released Nano WiReach, an embedded WiFi bridge that quickly connects any embedded device to 802.11b/g wireless LANs with minimal programming. Measuring 1.7 x 3.3 centimeters, the Nano WiReach’s multiple hardware interfaces and firmware functionality make it a suitable WiFi solution for embedded devices.

Connect One

The product’s tiny footprint, flexible firmware, hardware options, and hardened Internet security is expected to appeal to device manufacturers, says Ariel Shulman, vice president sales for Connect One. Based on Connect One’s iChipSec CO2144 IP controller chip, the product includes a suite of Internet protocols and applications, enabling immediate connectivity for embedded solutions without WiFi driver development or porting.
The firmware supports several modes of operation, including LAN-to-WiFi bridge; serial-to-WiFi bridge; full Internet controller mode; embedded IP routing; and PPP emulation. Nano WiReach includes RMII, USB, SPI, and fast UART interfaces for integration into existing or new designs. It comes in two versions — one with an antenna connector and one with a built-in antenna.
A high level of Internet security is supported by the latest WiFi encryption algorithms (WPA/WPA2, in PSK and enterprise modes) and Internet SSL encryption algorithms and serves as an inherent firewall, protecting the embedded application from attacks originating from the Internet.
Nano WiReach WiFi-enables devices that use any kind of embedded real-time operating system. Designers do not need to port/write WiFi drivers or significantly reprogram applications to connect to WiFi. In Internet controller mode, Nano WiReach is driven by simple text commands and offloads the WiFi drivers, WPA supplicant, Internet security, networking protocols, and all communication tasks from the host microcontroller and application. This frees up host processing bandwidth and simplifies the wireless design process. Because firmware is remotely updateable, new security or connectivity protocols do not require application redesign, increased memory, or faster processor speeds. The module operates at an industrial temperature range of -40 °C to 85 °C (-40 °F to 185 °F) and is RoHS-compliant.
Large-volume customers can benefit from functionality identical to the Nano WiReach’s while realizing significant cost savings by opting for an onboard implementation of the iChipSec CO2144 and a Marvell 88W8686-based chipset, Shulman says. Reference designs outlining the transition, can be downloaded from the Connect One Website.
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