chipKIT® Development Platform

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Question: Which WiFi Board for UNO32?

Created Mon, 29 Aug 2011 18:49:43 +0000 by avenue33


Mon, 29 Aug 2011 18:49:43 +0000


Which WiFi board do you recommend? There're so many...

It would be nice to find one with hardwired TCP/IP stack, as does the WIZnet W5100 for Ethernet, or with serial I/O.

I don't know the specifics of the MicroChip range but the MRF24WB0MA seems to requires a software TCP/IP stack.

Any idea :?:

Thank you.


Mon, 29 Aug 2011 23:11:56 +0000

The Microchip MRF24WB0MA requires a network stack running on the main processor. I believe that there is a processor on the module handling the 802.11 RF network protocol, but it doesn't provide the TCP/IP level protocol. This comes from the Microchip Applications Library.

The ethernet library for the Network Shield uses the Microchip Application Library TCP/IP stack and we plan to add support for the MRF24WB0MA in an upcoming version.

Gene Apperson Digilent


Mon, 29 Aug 2011 23:37:14 +0000


Thank you for your answer and the glimpse of the roadmap of future libraries.

I'll wait for them!

Best regards,


Sun, 11 Sep 2011 02:23:54 +0000

Any update on this? Maybe give a specific date?


Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:34:53 +0000

The current plan is to have it available around the end of October.

Gene Apperson Digilent


Wed, 09 Nov 2011 18:16:34 +0000

bump for an update - also just to clearify this will be for Uno32?


Thu, 10 Nov 2011 16:21:18 +0000

I have interest in this release too. I´m wanting to use a MRF24WB0MA with a Digilent chipKIT32.
Please nudge me when this RF modulo support releases. ok? Thanks.


Thu, 01 Dec 2011 02:27:31 +0000

Any news about the WiFi library for MRF24WB0MA :?:


Wed, 07 Dec 2011 20:53:42 +0000

How about using the Lantronix MatchPort® b/g Embedded Wireless Device Server?


It's used on the Surveyor SRV-1 Blackfin Robot.

Alan KM6VV


Thu, 08 Dec 2011 03:34:12 +0000

I do the software for Surveyor (since Howard died) and I'm very familiar with the Matchport radio. It would work great with a chipKIT board. As long as you only need to use it as a 'network' serial port. The only thing it does is serve up to IP ports that correspond to the two hardware UARTs on it. So you tunnel serial data over TCP/IP. It works great, for what it does.

If you need a web server, or more sophisticated functionality like SSH, FTP, HTTP client, etc. etc. then you need to move to a solution that allows you complete control over the whole TCP/IP stack and the applications (like the Microchip WiFi unit).

The Matchport is very good, and as a networkable serial port, I highly recommend it. But if you want to have your chipKIT be a web server, you'll have to write your own, or use one of the other WiFi radios that already come with a web server that you can control. (Like the Microchip one.) Also, in very heavily congested WiFi, the Matchports can have horrible latency (like >2s). I haven't tested the Microchip solution to see if it's any better - my guess is it's not.



Thu, 08 Dec 2011 18:02:14 +0000

Hi Brian,

Good to know about the Lantronix. All I really want to do is run video and a 2nd serial channel for control. No need of a server (yet, anyway) on my 'bots.

I asked over on the Surveyor forum about what software was needed in the Surveyor code to setup/control the Matchport radio, but I got the answer (impression?) that it was a proprietary module that was just linked in.

Yes, it is sad to hear about Howard passing last year. It's getting a little iffy getting an order through for the camera and some of the other modules I wanted to use. I do know about sunshine...

So you're saying that after the Matchport radio is configured, all that has to be done is "talk" through it? I have some extra modules that I want to put on a 'bot! I'm currently using the the Arduino UNO, and the UNO32 looks very promising.


Alan KM6VV


Thu, 08 Dec 2011 19:20:12 +0000


Yes, the current situation at Surveyor is not good. There are some really important things going on behind the scenes that will eliminate the current problems with customer support and getting orders shipped. I can't say anymore, or when the changes will take effect. But (hopefully) Surveyor can be turned around and has a very bright future ahead.

That being said, the Matchport is perfect for running video and serial, just as we do on Surveyor. In fact, we do video and 'commands' on the same serial data channel, so that leaves the other serial data channel free for other things. Works really well.

I'm pretty sure I'm the guy who gave you the impressions about the Matchpor, and for that I'm sorry - your impressions are in fact not correct, and I didn't mean to mislead. There is no proprietary anything in dealing with the Matchport, with the exception of a special radio firmware version that Lantronix did for Surveyor which boosts the top speed of the UART to 2.5Mbps. That's it. Other than that, we (SRV firmware) talk to the radio through a normal UART, and we just huck bytes at it, and they just come out the other end (on the PC, as a TCP/IP stream). It's really, really simple. The radio just acts as a really long serial port where you connect to the serial port via TCP/IP socket on the PC side. To set up the radio, you can use the web interface from the PC side, or you can connect a serial cable to the Matchport and configure it that way. The web interface is broken for the special firmware version that Lantronix made for Surveyor. Note that all of the source code (on the PC side and the SRV side) is open source and available for you to look at and use.

As this pertains to chipKIT, the Matchport presents two serial ports to the chipKIT, and to the network side it presents to TCP/IP ports to talk to. What you say over these ports is up to you, and the radio is 'transparent'. In fact, I think it would be very, very simple to hook up the Matchport radio to your chipKIT such that it takes the place of the USB connection for programming new sketches. (As the Matchport supports hardware handshaking signals.) There's nothing special - you need to write code on both sides to talk and listen, but that's a given.



Thu, 08 Dec 2011 19:37:58 +0000

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the through response!

I'll be working the Matchport module into my 'bot projects. Good to know I don't need any special driver for it.

'Hope Surveyor gets better, and hope they fill my order before Christmas!

Alan KM6VV


Tue, 14 Feb 2012 00:14:41 +0000

I have used the MatchPort b/g module and as Brian stated it is a good WiFi module for those who are not interested in digging too far under the hood.

Another decent module is the RN-XV from Roving Networks. It's a little cheaper, ~$35, than the MatchPort because it only has one serial-to-WiFi channel.

The RN-XV works well with the UNO32. I have created a stackable PCB for my Open-Robot design. Everything is open-source, so download and modify the design files to suite your needs.

Regards, Abe


Tue, 14 Feb 2012 01:28:05 +0000

Thanks for the comments Abe.

Surveyor failed to fill my order or respond. Canceled.

I'll still proceed with the MatchPort b/g module.

Alan KM6VV


Tue, 14 Feb 2012 13:38:34 +0000

The MatchPort consumes a fair amount of current and I don't think the 3.3v regulator on the UNO32 will support it. I use a high efficiency 1amp regulator from Recom. Other than that you should be able to wire directly to uart1 or uart2. Uart1 is tied to the usb chip.



Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:28:20 +0000

That's right, I recall the Recom regulator IC being used on the Surveyor.


Alan KM6VV


Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:31:16 +0000

Yes, I recall the SRV-1 MatchPort board leveraged the Recom. Here is the Recom part# for anyone interested.


I used to purchase from Cypower, but just found that they don't seem to stock anymore.

Before that I bought from Allied and it looks like they still stock.

Hope this helps out.

Regards, Abe


Sun, 19 Feb 2012 15:55:32 +0000

There's one caveat with the MRF24WB0MA/MB: the lack of TCP/IP stack.

Microchip has a specifically-designed chip for that: the MCW1001A

MCW1001A is a companion chip to the MRF24WB0 802.11 module. It provides simple socket based method of sending and receiving data from the MRF24WB0 802.11 module. The MCW1001A has an on-board TCP/IP stack and 802.11 connection manager to simplify the connection between a wireless network and the TCP/IP stack management. After the initial configuration is set, the MCW1001A can access the MRF24WB0 802.11 module to connect to a network and send/receive serial data over a simple UART interface from the Host controller.

Sounds interesting, even if UART serial connection limits max speed at 230400bps.