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ESP8266: The Heart of IoT

 In Engineering

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been the focus of monitoring and big data industries for almost a decade. Small and medium-size companies are trying to have their share of the IoT market, and engineers demand cheap and reliable electronic modules to realize their prototypes. The most crucial feature of an IoT prototype is the Internet and WiFi connection. A complicated internet connection module can entirely slow down the prototyping and takes away the required attention from the more important sensor and power management sections of the project.

Fortunately, Ai-Thinker came up with a solution for the IoT Internet connection headache. They produced a low-cost ESP8266 Wi-Fi microchip with full TCP/IP stack and microcontroller capabilities. ESP8266 is truly magic for IoT prototyping. It is programmed easily with a simple serial Tx-Rx wiring. It also communicates with microcontrollers through serial Tx-Rx.

ESP8266 can operate in station mode, access point or both. With a bit of HTML or Android app development skills, dazzling projects are implemented with desired internet capabilities. A complete series of MCU libraries have been developed for ESP8266. These libraries make ESP8266 codes compact and modular.

Open-source Arduino Software (IDE) has stepped up its contribution to IoT by including ESP8266 boards in its menu [1] which can be installed as an add-on to IDE [2]. The whole Internet hookup for wireless applications is much easier and cheaper than before thanks to ESP8266, which gave ESP8266 the reputation as the “Heart of IoT”.

Figure 1: RF to WiFi converter with ESP8266 generic module and Arduino MCU

[1] https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/esp8266-thing-hookup-guide/installing-the-esp8266-arduino-addon

[2] http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json

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