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The WiFi WildcardTM
ideal for low cost embedded web applications

Add the Convenience of Wireless Communications to Your Instrument

The tiny module adds remote wireless control capability to  Mosaic's embedded controllers, single-board computers, and operator interfaces

The WiFi Wildcard implements a wireless interface that enables communications between your instrument and other computers or wireless access points via a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) using the standard 802.11b/g packet-based protocol. Built-in software lets you send emails from the instrument, serve out static and dynamic web pages to your PC-based browser, and implement serial data exchanges with peripheral devices, known as "Serial Tunneling".

This tiny 2" by 2.5" board is a member of the Wildcard series that connects to Mosaic controllers. You can plug it into Mosaic's QCard, QScreen, or PDQ Board to deliver the benefits of wireless connectivity to your application.

WiFi is a wireless communications standard that allows the same type of packets sent via Ethernet to be sent wirelessly. WiFi is a packet-based computer networking technology for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). It defines signaling for the physical layer, and frame formats and protocols. The protocol used by the WiFi Wildcard is known as IEEE 802.11b/g.

Networked embedded controller hardware

The WiFi Wildcard uses a hardware implementation called the "WiPort" made by Lantronix. The XPort and the WiPort are controlled in a very similar way by the Mosaic controller, and this enables a common set of driver functions to control either the EtherSmart or WiFi Wildcards.

With the EtherSmart or WiFi Wildcard, your application program can send emails to alert other computers on the network when significant events occur. You can "browse into" your instrument using a web browser running on an online PC to monitor the status of your instrument. The instrument implements "Serial Tunneling" by initiating or accepting TCP/IP Ethernet connections and exchanging binary and/or ASCII text data with other devices on the local area network.

The Lantronix WiPortTM provides a WiFi co-processor and network interface built into a shielded housing with an antenna connector. A WiFi antenna is available from Mosaic; it can be mounted on the WiFi Wildcard in one of two ways:

  1. The antenna connector from the WiPort can be bolted through a mounting hole on the Wildcard, enabling the antenna to be screwed onto the board from the top. The antenna has a hinge that allows it to stand straight up or to be oriented parallel to the Wildcard.
  2. The alternative procedure is to mount a clamp (supplied by Mosaic with the WiFi antenna) onto the Wildcard, and use this to affix the antenna to the board. This allows more degrees of freedom in antenna orientation, and also eliminates the depth requirement below the Wildcard for the WiPort's antenna connection. For those who need a remote mounted antenna, a 2 foot extension cable is available from Mosaic.

Free software for cheap embedded web server

Most web pages are "static", meaning that their content does not change with each visit to the page. However, in the context of embedded computers, "dynamic" web pages that provide up-to-date status information about the computer's state (inputs, outputs, memory contents, etc.) are very useful. The pre-coded driver functions enable you to serve both static and dynamic web pages.

The "embedded web server" that runs when you execute the WiFi driver code responds to information requests from your browser. You can create a set of web pages, each with a specified name, or "URL" (Uniform Resource Locator) and an associated "handler function" that serves out the static or dynamic web content for the requested page.

Precoded software lets you open and close connections, perform networked measurements or data logging, exchange binary or ASCII data with the remote computer, send emails, and respond to sessions initiated by a web browser. By coding web content into your application, you can remotely monitor and control your instrument from your web-connected PC. See also "Six Things to Look For in an Embedded Web Server".

Specifications

Port: WiPort made by Lantronix, with speeds up to 54 mbit/sec.
Protocols: SMTP (outgoing email) , HTTP (webserver), TCP (serial tunneling), ICMP (ping), ARP, DHCP (automatic IP-address assignment)
Send Email: Delivers email with program-controlled content to a specified LAN IP address
Exchange Data: Opens or accepts a TCP/IP connection to send and receive binary or ASCII data
Browsable: Accepts connections from your web browser, serving out dynamic web pages as specified by your program. Use ay browser: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari.
Drivers: Pre-coded software manages device configuration, opens connections, exchanges data, sends email, parses web URLs, and serves out web pages

Documentation and Pricing

  • EtherSmart/WiFi Wildcard User Guide (html) | (pdf)
  • Ethersmart/WiFi Wildcard Glossary (html) | (pdf)
  • Price Info: Part#: W-WiFi (no antenna included)
    Part#: ANT-WIFI-1, WiFi antenna, 4.5" long, 0.375" diameter at base, 2.1dBi 2.4GHz whip, RPSMA male (no pin),
    Part#: CABLE-WIFI-EXT, Antenna Extension Cable Assembly

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