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WLAN modules simplify Wi-Fi transition for M2Ms

Posted: 26 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WLAN module? Wi-Fi? wireless network?

Laird Technologies Inc. has released a new range of 802.11 WLAN processor modules that provide a wide range of AT commands and web configuration to make the Wi-Fi transition simple for machine-to-machine (M2M) designers.

The WLAN modules include pre-approved 802.11b/g radio; full web server for remote control and access; integrated interpreter and poweful wireless scripting language and drivers and TCP/IP stack. The modules also feature full UART interface; integrated or external antenna and low power operation for battery-powered applications. In addition, modules offer secure WEP, WPA, and WPA2 implementation; Bluetooth coexistence and co-location support and a low-cost development kit.

Ease for M2Ms
Traditionally, most M2M implementations used cellular modems to provide communication, however, these carry a high cost and making it difficult to justify for many M2M applications. The growing popularity of Wi-Fi in-home networks, hotspots and public Muni-Fi installations enables a new era of M2M using the wireless network to transmit data back over the internet to monitor applications.

Because configuring devices to connect to a wireless access point is very different from connecting to a cellular modem (a barrier to early adoption), Laird has developed a range of wireless modules with innovative configuration options that address this issue and build on designers' existing experience.

In order to cater to cellular and fixed-line modem designers, comprehensive AT commands are provided that allow configuration and connection to wireless access points. Another unique feature is the ability for designers to further customize and integrate additional commands that provide the flexibility to emulate other connection devices.

Web convenience
Web and internet designers have the option of a web configuration page that allows Laird's WLAN modules to be configured in situ. The configuration pages include useful features such as a local scan of access points. The modules are shipped pre-loaded with a standard configuration page that can be fully customized or extended by designers.

These WLAN modules also include an advanced scripting engine, allowing users to write programmable scripts to control the wireless behavior. A default configuration script is included that can be invoked from the M2M application to automatically connect to an access point and middleware or to place it under customer control.

"The widespread availability of internet connectivity via Wi-Fi is set to transform M2M," said Chris Shannon, Laird Technologies' general manager of wireless systems. "We have removed the technology barriers for designers so they can easily transition existing products to take advantage of the benefits of wireless LAN."

Laird Technologies' wireless LAN processor modules offer a complete solution with a UART interface for data and control, 12 GPIO lines, two 10bit ADCs, 802.11 drivers and TCP/IP stack, as well as a powerful Web server.

"Most embedded servers are limited to setting up the device parameters, which is not enough for today's designer," said Nick Hunn, Laird Technologies' Business Development Director of Wireless Systems. "We've extended that with functionality to access and embed local information that provides dynamic web content for a new generation of Web 2.0 applications."

The module includes an interpreter running a powerful scripting language that removes the need for any host processing capability. This allows the implementation of complete applications (such as Internet-enabled energy monitors, appliances, and healthcare devices) inside the WISM module, drastically reducing production costs of wirelessly-enabled products.

The modules are available in two form factors: a compact 25mm x 35mm module that is pin-compatible with the BISM Bluetooth module and a larger module that is pin-compatible with Siemens' MC55/56 GPRS modules. These combinations allow designers to lay out their PCBs to accommodate a variety of different wireless standards.





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