Arduino WiFi shield

Arduino fans can now take their hacking projects to a new level with the release by the Arduino crew of their WiFi shield. The shield is designed around an Atmega 32UC3 32bit microcontroller which controls the WiFi stack and the HDG104 from H&D Wireless. The Arduino communicates over SPI with the Atmega32. They use an open source version of TCP/IP and the WiFi software stack allowing for greater user control and maximum hackability.

The shield supports 802.11 b/g network along with WEP and WPA2 Personal security modes.

Links to the board files and Arduino WiFi library can be found on the WiFi shield product page.

The WiFi shield is available from the Arduino store.

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  1. Arduino WiFi Shield = $103.36
    chipKit WiFi Shield = $49.99

    Both seems to be using the Microchip Open Source TCP/IP stack. I’m sure that “Made in Italy” is fine and stuff, but personally I wouldn’t pay double the price for it….

    1. Also: Raspberry Pi + Netgear N150 Nano = $35 + $14.80 = $49.80

      And my favorite to use as an Arduino “super shield”: TP-Link TL-WR703N Wifi+Ethernet+USB Host Router = $22.98

    2. I’m pretty sure that the Arduino WiFi shield does not use the Microchip Open Source TCP/IP stack. First off, as far as I know, there is no such thing. (The TCP/IP stack contained within the MLA (Microchip Library for Applications) is not Open Source, as it does not allow redistribution, among other things) Second, the Microchip MLA TCP/IP stack only works with their WiFi chips. The WiFi chip on the Arduino WiFi is not from Microchip.


      1. Right, the “both using the Microchip stack” was a Brain Fart from my side.

        I remember actually wondering why the Arduino team, who are BFF with Atmel, would use a Microchip controller in their official shield… :-)

  2. Quoting from the “WiFi Shield Product Page”:

    “A network must broadcast its SSID for the shield to be able to connect. ”


    But a remember from one of Steve Gibson’s “Security Now” netcasts that broadcasting an SSID is actually a security benefit(?) Wish I could remember which episode of Security Now it was.

    In any case NOT being able to manually config and connect without an SSID seems like a serious problem IMHO.

    Finally, I tend to agree with Matseng. A quick look at the Aurdino WiFi Shield seems to indicate the $103.36 USD price-tag (if that is in-fact the case) as outrageous; especially considering the economies of scale the Arduino foundry is obviously working at now that it has matured.

    1. If you’ve got your SSID hidden then your client devices actually need to send probes along the lines of “Hey? Any APs out there with the SSID ?”. Your client devices need to do this for every network you’ve got configured and it’ll be doing this everywhere even if you’re in another country or in a coffee shop down the road etc…

      Not broadcasting doesn’t stop people from connecting anyway. The AP still sends out beacon broadcasts no matter what. It just doesn’t list the SSID in there. If you have a supported OS + WiFi adapter then you can just join it anyway even if you don’t know the SSID. You can snoop traffic between legitimate clients and the AP to get the SSID anyway.

  3. $100 just because it’s an official arduino board? When i bought a AsyncLabs WiFi shield v2 w/flash chip years ago I didnt even want to pay $60 for that. There’s other options out there, like those stated above, or the RN-XV ($35) u.Fl I have on a Arduino mego now that doesn’t take up program space and works great. With the Pi out now, got mine in july ordered in march, you can have a more powerful system with a cheap usb wifi dongle and still have money left. Sorry, I like Arduino, but I dont see this shield doing well.

  4. The Chipkit wireless shield is just a wireless module, and runs the tcp stack in the ChipKit’s PIC32 CPU.
    The Arduino wireless shield has a whole separate AVR32 CPU. Hopefully this runs the TCP stack and provides an API close enough to that provided by the WizNet (non-wireless ethernet) chip that it is somewhere between trivial and easy to modify existing sketches to work with the wireless shield instead. That’s what I would have done.
    It’s unfortunate that it is so expensive. The whole “Internet of Things” is doomed to be boring if the only things able to connect to it at reasonable cost are mass-produced things like power meters.

  5. I find it amusing that this is a shield. It has a much more powerful microcontroller: 66 MHz vs 16 MHz clock speed, 256K vs 32K flash, more IO pins, USB interface built in, 32 bit vs 8 bit micro controller, etc. The Arduino microcontroller is positively rinky-dink compared to this.

    I think it sometimes absurd how Arduinos are thrown into projects that don’t need them. It appears the Arduino makers are not immune– lets control a 32 bit Atmega with an Arduino!

  6. That’s OK. The wireless module itself almost certainly contains a CPU that is more powerful than the AVR on the Arduino. The trouble is that it can be tough to get “powerful” processors to do simple things.

    In the Maker Fair talk Massimo gave where he talked about the Wireless shield, he did explicitly mention that they expected it to be used “stand-alone” without connection to an actual arduino, as well.

  7. Actually I simply don’t mind why should I use Arduino with a WiFi shield when I could use (for example) a openPICUS device… I personally use Flyport wifi and Ethernet and them are both based on 16 bit microcontrollers (pic24f) and microchip’s TCP/IP stack…
    I personally haven’t used yet raspberry (too hard to order and is not a valid choose yet if you mind to get a product with this hardware since it is even not open hardware…). I tried some Arm development boards, but the price is much bigger than Flyport modules…

    The chip kit is also a valid choose but I haven’t understood if it runs arduino’s TCP/IP or microchip’s one (that is really a complete stack band full featured software stack… and free too!!). Plus microchip C30 compiler is free in his lite version and you can put both TCP/IP and (for example) fat 32 file system inside a 16 bit micro without problems…

    I personally like arduino to very fast and simple projects but for TCP/IP my choose is openPICUS devices,and them are Italian like Arduino, and it make me proud too!! ;)

  8. Arduino doesn’t have a tcp stack. Their “ethernet library” relies on the Wiznet chip doing TCP in “hardware.” (There’s a a TCP stack for shields based on the Microchip ethernet chip (cheaper), but it’s not an official library. I don’t think it’s based on the Microchip stack, either.)

  9. I like the DIY wifi shield also, but I wish they (1) would hook up the I2C on the module to the Arduino and (2) upgrade the wifi module from the 1.2 version to the 1.3 version. The 1.3 hardware accepts firmware with much nicer features, especially related to being an AP.

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