Connecting Devices to the IoT with Wi-Fi – IoT Applications

November 26, 2020
EnrgtechLTD

IoT and Wi-Fi

Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly growing across the globe. Its application is now broadening into the various sectors of the economy from manufacturing to agriculture. Wi-Fi has played a critical role in this growth. IoT applications have numerous connectivity requirements with regards to data throughput, energy efficiency range, and cost of the device. Wi-Fi has often been an obvious choice. This can be attributed to the many reasons as discussed below;

Pros and cons of Wi-Fi

Pros

Cons

  • Security- Improper configuration of the network could result in security breaches
  • Distance- Wi-Fi is not ideal over long distances
  • Interference- Network radio waves are likely to interfere with other equipment.
  • Bandwidth- In the absence of wires, Wi-Fi offers lower bandwidth

Required Hardware

To be able to connect an IoT device to Wi-Fi you need the following;

  • Wi-Fi enabled chip- The IoT device needs to have a Wi-Fi enable chip. Such a chip is often embedded within its microcontroller.
  • Wireless access point- You need to have a wireless LAN. To create one, you need to able to access a wireless network. This could be an existing or newly installed home or corporate network.

 

Required Software

There are numerous software programs and solutions are readily available. These programs help connect the IoT device to the Wi-Fi. They include;

  • TI’s smart config- This software can automatically set the Wi-Fi credentials from a mobile application.
  • WPS Wi-Fi Protected Setup– The enables the use of a button on the router to configure the Wi-Fi
  • Access Point Mode
  • Wi-Fi direct

Connecting devices to the IoT with Wi-Fi

Traditionally, many devices that consumers have been connecting to the Wi-Fi network have been equipped with displays, keyboards among other computing resources. However, many IoT devices don’t come equipped with these abilities. They require to be configured by smarter devices that can transmit the relevant configuration information to join the network. One way to connect such a device to the Wi-Fi is by using Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS) button on the IoT device if the wireless router has a WPS button as well. Press the button on the device and that on the router as well.

Alternatively, have the device appear on the access point with its SSID and passphrase supplied on the manufacturer’s quick start card. As such, when the device is plugged in and powered on, the devices’ SSID is broadcast thus is easily identified. The shortcoming of this approach is that it requires advanced technological expertise and is time-consuming. It’s also susceptible to a security breach.

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