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I am looking for a ARM based low cost SoC with an integrated WiFi, tried different search engines and still not been able to locate one.

I would like to know if anyone knows of such device that has an integrated WiFi controller that only needs and external antenna.

I may choose other architecture than ARM, but I would prefer to stay with the CPU architecture that I already have a working SW development environment.

---- Update July 27 ----- I have found a device that has an ARM Cortex M3 plus WiFi interface, the name is Imp, they are selling a small break outboard with their IC here enter image description here

http://smartmaker.com/en/home/602-electric-imp-002.html

The problem with this one is that all communication with that device MUST go through their servers. Now, the question is if there are any other companies who have such a product with an open interface rather than a closed one like Imp!

Update 2 REALTEK seems to have created the perfect low cost module for this and the modules are widely available on e-bay and AliExpress like this one:

http://fr.aliexpress.com/item/RTL8710-WiFi-Wireless-Transceiver-Module-SOC/32666025289.html

The module is sold between $2 and $4 depending on quantity and shipment. RTL8710 is based on Cortex M3 and has between 512k and 2M memory available.

There a very well written page about RTL8710 on Hackaday:

http://hackaday.com/2016/07/28/new-chip-alert-rtl8710-a-cheaper-esp8266-competitor

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Phil Frost Raspberry Pi doesn't have integrated WiFi, even if it did count as a microcontroller. \$\endgroup\$ – AndrejaKo Jul 25 '13 at 10:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may be looking at it backwards: there are wifi modules out there built around ARM cores (electric imp comes to mind) but it may be difficult to get the necessary access to run fully custom code natively. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Jul 26 '13 at 3:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are partially right Chris, but there are many new SoCs that have the RF and the Digital blocks integrated on the same device and I wonder if there is a device with WiFi on it as well. Buy maybe, I am a bit too early in my search! \$\endgroup\$ – FarhadA Jul 27 '13 at 7:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Try also Spark Core, cheaper than Electric imp I believe. Or roll out your own using Texas Instruments's wifi chip CC3000 (US $10) and your choice of ARM microprocessor. \$\endgroup\$ – boardbite Jul 27 '13 at 11:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ A good example of how these questions get outdated: the first comment is now not correct because there is a Pi with integrated WiFi. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Aug 10 '16 at 10:27
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Technexion has an OMAP-based module, with one variant having WiFi built-in: TAO-3530W. Compulab also has a similar option with another (related) member of the OMAP family.

About low-cost, it depends of what you consider it to be. Their prices are around the range of the BeagleBone ($60), plus the cost of the WiFi module (around $15). If you need REALLY low-cost, it's better to buy the ARM and the WiFi module separately. There are more low-end ARM processors that are much cheaper than that, and you'll find good WiFi modules at the same $15 price point. They usually communicate via SDIO, so any ARM processor with SD/MMC interface can be used.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I know a lot of modules, but I am looking for a IC with integrated WiFi block in it. I know there are a few companies who have the, but can't find them. \$\endgroup\$ – FarhadA Jul 25 '13 at 16:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also OMAP based devices are too expensive for my application \$\endgroup\$ – FarhadA Jul 25 '13 at 16:15
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Integrating an analog module into the same chip as the CPU core is very difficult (if not impossible) so I don't think anyone does it. Most of the WiFi modules out there are actually shielded mini-boards with CPU and analog circuitry in separate chips.

These CPUs usually have been 8051s in the past, but more and more modules switch to Cortex-M3, so in theory you don't need any external CPU and just use the one in the module.

However, programming them might be tricky - most manufacturers don't give any details about programming the core and just provide a black box interface (SDIO, SPI, UART or USB). You would have to skip modules with SDIO interface - they usually require the host to upload firmware image before they can be used for networking.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that is true, but there are plenty of devices with Zigbee and BT on them these days. I know there are devices with WiFi integrated, but can't find the reference to them. \$\endgroup\$ – FarhadA Jul 26 '13 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ This IC from TI is one example of such products: ti.com/product/cc2538 it has an ARM cortex M3 processor and the Zigbee wirless interface on the same SoC. \$\endgroup\$ – FarhadA Jul 27 '13 at 7:06
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It seems like all the low cost designs will be a 2 chip solution, either with Broadcom's WICED device:

enter image description here

http://www.broadcom.com/products/wiced/wifi/

Or as @boardbite mentioned, TI's CC3000

Thank you guys for all your help.

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