Secure 32-bit Wi-FI MCU module is pre-provisioned for cloud - Embedded.com

Secure 32-bit Wi-FI MCU module is pre-provisioned for cloud

Microchip Technology has announced an all-in-one Wi-Fi microcontroller (MCU) module pre-provisioned for leading cloud platforms with the company’s secure Trust&GO platform enabling unique, verifiable identity.

With IoT applications expanding beyond home automation and deeper into home control – including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), garage doors and fans – as well as building and industrial automation, the need for highly integrated, reliable and secured industrial IoT (IIoT) connectivity is increases too.

Microchip Wi-Fi MCU module imageSpecially designed for industrial internet of things (IoT) applications, Microchip’s new WFI32E01PC is a standalone and fully certified Wi-Fi module supporting 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n radio modes. It is compliant to Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) specification and fully certified with the following regulatory agencies: Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Industry Canada (IC) and European Radio Equipment Directive (RED).

For developers designing secure IIoT systems, the new module uses Microchip’s Trust&GO platform inside the module, streamlining the process of network authentication using secure element technology, which is preconfigured and pre-provisioned for cloud authentication.

Microchip said its new technology includes a premium PIC32 MCU core, rich peripherals and a proven hardware security platform – enabling it not only to provide Wi-Fi but also to serve as a powerful MCU core for the entire IIoT system.

The company added that discrete designs can be difficult due to the need to develop drivers and circuits for multiple chips, especially when the chips are from different vendors. Often it is difficult to receive system-level support from vendors as their expertise is only in products they produce. Hence it said embedded designers need a highly integrated module solution providing industrial-grade MCU functionality, robust Wi-Fi connection and hardware security and authentication. The WFI32E01PC provides these capabilities in an all-in-one module, improving radio frequency (RF) power and providing a higher level of security.

“With increasing attacks, traditional software data encryption is no longer sufficient to protect transmitted data. Devices need a hardcoded, verifiable, trustable identity to securely connect to the cloud,” said Steve Caldwell, vice president of Microchip’s wireless service group business unit. “This is the first secure, pre-provisioned MCU with Wi-Fi that is shipped factory direct or through distribution.”

In addition to industrial applications, the WFI32E01PC is designed for home automation devices, computing and consumer devices. Microchip offers a broad portfolio for IoT and IIoT systems when pairing the WFI32E01 module with other Microchip components, such as the KSZ8081 family of Ethernet PHYs, MCP2542WFD family of CAN transceivers, sensors and radio technologies including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Long Range (LoRa) and IEEE 802.15.4. Microchip’s system solution approach provides ready-to-use software drivers and hardware reference designs, significantly reducing project risk and time-to-market.

Microchip Wi-Fi MCU module block diagram
Microchip’s WFI32E01PC is a standalone and fully certified Wi-Fi module supporting 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n radio modes, and includes its Trust&GO security-enabled platform (Image: Microchip)

Microchip’s WFI32E01PC includes the PIC32MZW1 Curiosity Board. Microchip offers several options for software and hardware support. Software support includes Microchip’s MPLAB X integrated development environment (IDE) and MPLAB Harmony v3 embedded software development framework. Supporting tools include the on-board debugger and in-circuit serial programming header for MPLAB Snap, MPLAB PICkit 4 or MPLAB ICD 4 external programmer/debuggers.

The curiosity board is qualified with AWS IoT core and listed in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner device catalog. It contains an out-of-box demo featuring registration and communication with AWS IoT core and interaction with the onboard sensors using Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Included with the AWS IoT core qualification are code samples, WLAN software and network stack, which can be found in MPLAB Harmony v3.

The WFI32E01PC-I (54-pin SMD 24.5 x 20.5 x 2.5 mm) device is available in volume production in 10,000-unit quantities starting at $8.14. Also available are module options with external antenna, and without the Trust&GO security feature.

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