Wireless Applications

Microchip Enables Embedded Wi-Fi in PIC MCUs

June 9, 2009

The ZeroG Wireless modules, development tools for Explorer 16, and PICtail daughter board, available from microchipDIRECT, enable Wi-Fi networks, using 8-, 16- or 32-bit PIC MCUs.

CHANDLER, AZ -- Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced from the Sensors Expo in Chicago the immediate availability of the ZeroG Wireless ZG2100M and ZG2101M Wi-Fi modules, ZeroG IEEE 802.11 Development Kit for Explorer 16 (part # AC164136) and the ZeroG Wi-Fi PICtail/PICtail Plus Daughter Board (part # AC164136-2) on the company's Web site and through the Microchip sales team. Microchip and ZeroG Wireless Inc. signed a multi-year, nonexclusive deal, which began with a joint engineering program to develop an optimized Wi-Fi solution for embedded designers and resulted in modules for Microchip's 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs) and dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs). The agreement ensures long-term compatibility and availability of this joint solution.

The ZeroG Wireless "Wi-Fi I/O" (ZG2100M and ZG2101M) is an easy-to-implement, low-power, low-system-cost Wi-Fi solution that provides Wi-Fi connectivity for nearly any electronic device. The new Microchip development tools are based on the standard Microchip PICtail and PICtail Plus daughter-board connectors, which allow a designer to easily plug Wi-Fi connectivity into a variety of Microchip development kits. These kits allow easy development with the 8-bit PIC18, 16-bit PIC24, and 32-bit PIC32 MCUs, as well as the dsPIC DSCs, using the broad Microchip development tools and MPLAB Integrated Development Environment.

"We have watched the Wi-Fi market continue to grow, and have correspondingly seen an increase in our customers' requests for an embedded Wi-Fi solution," said Steve Caldwell, Director of Microchip's RF Products Division. "ZeroG Wireless has developed an embedded Wi-Fi product that meets the needs of PIC microcontroller designers, and our tools make it easy to integrate."

"Partnering with Microchip to develop and distribute a highly optimized solution for their customers has provided us with an opportunity to directly reach thousands of customers who would like to 'just add Wi-Fi' to their embedded design," said Tim Colleran, Vice President of Marketing, ZeroG Wireless. "Microchip is a leader in the embedded market, and we feel our unique business model has provided us with the opportunity to team with such leaders."

The ZeroG Wi-Fi PICtail/PICtail Plus Daughter Board (part # AC164136-2) is available for $59.99, and consists of the ZeroG ZG2100M FCC- and Wi-Fi-certified module. This daughter board allows designers to quickly create a direct connection to the Internet by seamlessly connecting to standard wireless access points. In managing the connection, the ZeroG ZG2100M module controls the MAC and baseband layers, and is connected to the host MCU or DSC via an SPI port. The 8/16/32-bit PIC MCU or dsPIC DSC that resides on the Microchip development board controls the free Microchip TCP/IP networking stack and runs the system application. Additional key features of the daughter board include:

  • FCC, IC, and ETSI certification, providing considerable cost savings and quick time to market
  • Wi-Fi-certified and IEEE 802.11b-compliant wireless solution
  • ZG2100M small-footprint module, with integrated antenna, MAC, baseband, RF, and power amplifier
  • Microchip's free TCP/IP stack, which supports a standard suite of Internet Protocols
  • Supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security protocols

The ZeroG IEEE 802.11 Development Kit for Explorer 16 (part # AC164136) is available for $189.99. The kit demonstrates 802.11 Wi-Fi connectivity, using the separately available Explorer 16 development board, which supports all of Microchip's 16-bit PIC24 MCUs, 32-bit PIC32 MCUs, and dsPIC DSCs. Everything you need to connect and begin development with the Explorer 16 is contained within the kit, including:

  • ZeroG Wi-Fi PICtail/PICtail Plus Daughter Board
  • Pre-programmed PIC24FJ128GA010 plug-in module for the Explorer 16, with TCP/IP and Web server application
  • Pre-configured wireless broadband router

The ZeroG ZG2100M and ZG2101M Wi-Fi transceiver modules are also available for $31.95 each, in single-unit quantities. The modules provide a complete Wi-Fi wireless connection, with full FCC, ETSI, IC, and Wi-Fi certification, which reduces the overall design risk, eliminates design and certification cost, and enables quick time-to-market for customers wanting to add Wi-Fi to their PIC microcontroller-based products.

For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip's online Wireless Design Center.

About ZeroG Wireless
ZeroG Wireless Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company focused on creating a world of connected devices, the "Internet of Things." With ZeroG low-power Wi-Fi chips, there is no limit to the type of device that can now leverage the massive and rapidly growing Wi-Fi infrastructure. The company's products are designed from the ground up to enable simple, low-cost connectivity for nearly any system, regardless of architecture. The result: faster time to market and significantly lower overall system cost. Privately held, ZeroG Wireless is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. Investors are Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures, and Miven.

Microchip Customer Support
Microchip is committed to supporting its customers by helping design engineers develop products faster and more efficiently. Customers can access four main service areas on the company's Web site. The support area provides a fast way to get questions answered. The sample area offers evaluation samples of any Microchip device. microchipDIRECT provides 24-hour pricing, ordering, inventory, and credit for convenient purchasing of all Microchip devices and development tools. Finally, the training area educates customers through webinars, sign-ups for local seminar and workshop courses, and information about the annual MASTERs events held throughout the world.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost, and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, AZ, Microchip offers outstanding technical support, along with dependable delivery and quality.

The Microchip name and logo, PIC, dsPIC, and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. PICtail is a trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies.

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