Connecting a device to the Internet for remote monitoring or control in machine-to-machine (M2M) applications isn't easy. Yet Wi-Fi is quickly becoming the most asked for requirement in M2M applications, such as point of sale, medical devices, and security. While the hardware is well known, the project is more of a software development effort. Now you can add Internet connectivity via any Wi-Fi 802.11 wireless local-area network (WLAN) access point or hot spot with a drop-in module that requires no software effort.
Device networking company Connect One and radio modem supplier Wi2Wi have collaborated to offer the Secure Socket iWiFi module. This module provides a fast and effective way to Wi-Fi-enable non-PC devices that use embedded real-time operating systems. It features an input via a standard RS-232 nine-pin D connector, a complete 10/100BaseT Ethernet controller, the Marvell 88W8686 802.11b/g wireless chip set, and Connect One's iChipSec CO2128 IP controller (see the figure).
The module provides for connectivity with dial-up modems as well as cellular modems using GSM, GPRS, CDMA, cdma2000, EDGE, or satellite. The CO2128 controller includes the latest encryption and hardware internalized security, as well as a full suite of Internet protocols and applications that serve as a firewall.
With this chip, all Internet connectivity, cryptography, and security is offloaded from the application processor. This frees up host-processing capability and simplifies the design process. As a co-processor, the CO2128 has a remotely updatable firmware capability, making new security or connectivity protocols easy to add without redesign, increasing memory, or boosting processor speed to meet future wireless demands. The iChipSec CO2128 has an integrated hardware-based SSL encryption engine to ensure end-to-end secure data transfers even over the Internet. It also acts as a firewall on a chip protecting the application from network attacks.
The module core operates at 1.2 V with I/Os running from 3.3 V. Typical dissipation is 200 mW. Several sleep modes further reduce power consumption. The Secure Socket iWiFi is available now for less than $40 in 5000-unit lots. The IIEVB- 361MS evaluation board is available for development and testing.