Microchip has released new expansion boards that interface the Wi-Fi modules from recent acquisition Roving Networks into its modular Explorer development systems, which support all of the manufacturer's 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers. The boards allow adding Wi-Fi connectivity to the entire portfolio of PIC microcontrollers without the effort of integrating a TCP/IP stack whilst using standard development tools.
The RN-131 and RN-171 PICtail and PICtail Plus daughter boards use a simple serial interface to connect with any PIC microcontroller. The Roving Networks modules include a true 802.11b/g radio, a baseband processor, a TCP/IP stack and a host of networking application features. No external processor drivers are required to enable Wi-Fi connectivity. This on-board-stack approach significantly reduces integration time while offering ultra-low current consumption of only 4 µA in sleep mode, rising to 35 mA in receive mode and 120 mA in transmit mode.