WiFly - What kind of processor if any?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Karmicads, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. Karmicads

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    2
    0
    Hi all,

    This is my first post here, so please excuse me if it seems like a dumb question. I am attempting to come up with the basic overview of a stand alone WiFi network and I planned to use a WiFly unit, as it seems like the most affordable and useful for my purpose. My system will have a separate FPGA board with USB interface for a dedicated network application. I need to run some extra software for this, so the system needs a processor of some sort.


    I had hoped I might be able to use the WiFly device to run the extra process too, but I can't seem to find any info on what kind of processor it has (if any). My guess is it has an AVR tucked in there somewhere.

    I assumed the WiFly has some processor or another, as the specifications say it's running the ECOS - OS (as well as a TCP/IP stack, telnet, client DNS etc... etc.). I read somewhere that this was designed to only run one process. Does anybody know what processor the WiFly uses and whether it's feasible to run extra software. Otherwise I have to look at some other embedded system to include I suppose.

    Thanks for any help in advance. ;)
     
  2. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
    35
    I can't help you with what processor is on board that wifi module. But in terms of price (ignoring the form factor for the moment), it seems a wifi router would easily be half price of the breakout board, and include all the supporting hardware.

    Several open source projects are available like OpenWRT , DDWRT, and others, which allow you to add packages to a small footprint linux OS. Lots of routers are supported, with some models having a couple of USB ports, and extra ROM/RAM which could be handy.

    I picked up a popular model, the Linksys WRT54GL, at the thrift store. I'm a complete newb at networking and linux, so this is going to be a slow process for me. Managed to brick it, so it now has a JTAG and the RS232 port hooked up, with the ultimate goal of talking to a microcontroller over the second UART port. USB also seems possible on the WRT54GL, and will probably bring those out too.
     
  3. Karmicads

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    2
    0
    It really needs to be purpose built I think, as I intent to make them for sale. Buying the wifi routers new/wholesale vs the WiFly will be hard to compete on price I expect. The routers would have more stuff than I need. The breakout board I can make or have made myself in batches (I only used that one as an example), but the WiFly module itself, I have seen advertised for lower than $20, from China. That's retail. ;) The specifications of the WiFly are ideal. It's designed precisely for the application I'm intending on using it for. The only bug bare, is getting some extra processing power from somewhere to run the FGPA unit (and perhaps porting it).

    Thanks. That could come in handy whichever way I do it.

    You're in good company then. ;)

    Sounds like you're having fun. :D
     
  4. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
    35
    In my browsing around, and looking at the innards of the WRT54GL the wifi radio chips are unto themselves, not to mention the extra flash and ram chips. Hard to imagine one chip doing it all but who knows. I think TI puts there Zigbee style transceivers in a general purpose chip.

    There are small footprint microprocessor projects that could be emulated or sourced. The Bifferboard comes with OpenWrt installed. Then there is soon to be released Raspberry Pi for $25, or is that the marketing dept. speak for 25 pounds?

    Good luck with the project, sounds interesting:).
     
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