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I am planning on building a simple device, which retrieves information over wifi. The device shall be as cheap and simple as possible, so it won't have a keyboard or a display.

My question is: What possibilities are there to connect said device with my secured home network without having the keyboard/display to chose a the right network or to type in the security credentials?

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If the device is sophisticated enough to connect to Wi-Fi, it probably has some fairly powerful microprocessor to implement enough of the stack to be able to do this. If that is the case, maybe you can support an AP mode in the device (it acts as an access point). In this mode, it exposes some trivial listener on 192.168.0.1:80 which serves up and processes an HTML form. Voila, you now have a keyboard and screen with which you can configure client credentials. A sliding switch on the device can toggle it beween AP and wireless client mode.

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There are a number of choices. You'll have to evaluate them with regard to your actual use cases and security requirements.

  • Build the credentials into the source code.
  • Put the credentials into some sort of nonvolatile memory, perhaps using the in-circuit programmer/debugger.
  • Temporarily connect to the device using a serial interface (UART, IrDA, SPI, I2C, etc.) in order to enter the credentials.
  • Use removable nonvolatile storage (USB stick, SD card, 1-wire device, etc.) to transfer the credentials to the device.
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You can use a WPS authentication if you have a router that supports it. When you want to connect the device to the network all you need to do is to press a button both on your router and on the device you want to connect.

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