A few friends and I are underway designing a senior project. We are looking for ways to make our product cheaper, and of course it comes to our most expensive ic components. We haven't gotten very far into the development of all the desired communication schemes, and I'd like to take a lot more time into researching the best approach rather then delving into writing code for a chip I wont use. I'm looking for the cheapest way to get wifi, ethernet, and Bluetooth capabilities. I'm also interested in PLC (power line communication) and AM radio though these are bonus aspects if you will. All things, considering time is a cost as well, I don't mind putting in the effort to get a cheaper final solution. This could very well turn into a long journey, but so be it- just looking for some guidance in the best way to progress forward.

Note: I'm not looking for a panda board or arduino packed with sheilds... I want some IC's such as WIZnet W5100 (for wifi) or TDA5051A ASK power line modem (PLC)...but I'd love one package...or some suggestions!

  • \$\begingroup\$ ENC28J60 is much cheaper than the wiznet chip. There's no stack in hardware though, so software is more challenging. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marko
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the reply and I look forward to checking out the chip! Do you think a solution exist that would combine many of these functions into one though? \$\endgroup\$
    – tman
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 3:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ "I'm looking for the cheapest way ..." - are you looking for a buying recommendation? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RedGrittyBrick NO! Design recommendations! Did you read the last sentence im curious about IC packages that people have used to solve these types of problems... \$\endgroup\$
    – tman
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 7:58
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Cheapest IC proficient in over 6 million forms of communication, eh? In Star Wars it was a whole robot, not a single do-it-all IC. [Sorry, I couldn't resist.] \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


I use an electric imp for these purposes, its cheap, and has internet connectivity via wifi as part of the way it works so you can make a funky web interface for the device.

Also its form-factor allows it to be an optional extra in a product so brings the price to the consumer down


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