New chips make Wi-Fi more maker-friendly

Future Wi-Fi

Texas Instruments and MediaTek have launched new offerings aimed at making it easier to build IoT (Internet of Things) devices with Wi-Fi connectivity.

The chip makers have realized that their future isn’t just in selling products to big companies, but also to a growing maker community whose products also need Wi-Fi connectivity.

This week TI expanded its SimpleLink portfolio with two new modules, which promise to help add Wi-Fi connectivity without requiring any network experience. A similar promise came from MediaTek earlier this month when it launched a new Wi-Fi development platform.

To jump start Wi-Fi development, TI now offers the CC3100 module BoosterPack and the CC3200 module LaunchPad, which include an SDK and sample boards that can be connected directly to a PC.

The MediaTek LinkIt Connect 7681 development platform includes an SDK for Windows and Ubuntu and a hardware development kit co-designed with Seeed Studio, which helps with all aspects of small-scale product development.

Wi-Fi isn’t the only network technology that’s evolving to become more IoT-friendly. Cellular networks and so-called low-power, wide-area network technologies and even satellites are all part of the connectivity puzzle.

More and more chip makers have begun developing customized IoT components over the last six months. For example, in November Toshiba announced its TZ1021MBG processor, which can be used to power smartwatches, bracelets, glasses and even rings, according to the company. Mass production of the processor is slated to start next month.

It and other products are very much needed since the success of the sector depends on outstanding battery life and low device costs.

The new chips will compete for inclusion in the billions of wearables, smart meters, vehicles and other devices that are expected to connect to networks over the next decade.

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