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TI’s new chip can bring Wi-Fi to your toaster

Jan 18, 2012 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Texas Instruments (TI) announced a low-cost Wi-Fi chipset for consumer devices such as exercise bikes, dishwashers, refrigerators, and much more. The SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 is operating system-independent, can work with only a microcontroller, and “integrates within hours … with any embedded application,” the chipmaker says.

Low-cost, low-power Wi-Fi chipsets are already widely available, but TI claimed a first with its Jan. 18 announcement of the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000. This "self-contained wireless processor" will bring the "Internet of things" to devices that have only low-cost microcontrollers (MCUs) and don't run any operating system, the company says.

The CC3000 can be used to bring Wi-Fi to products as varied as bicycles, dishwashers, refrigerators, thermostats, and factory automation equipment, according to TI. This is possible because the module handles TCP, UDP, and IP networking itself, while its "FirstTimeConfig" technology allows devices to be paired to an 802.11 access point "without the need of a display or user interface," the company adds.

TI's SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000

TI additionally claims the CC3000 employs standard software APIs, yet requires 0.5 percent of the resources that a traditional Wi-Fi solution would. A complete solution requires only an MCU, a transceiver, plus as little as 6KB of flash storage and 3KB of RAM, says the company.

According to TI, products employing the CC3000 solution will be interoperable with any other Wi-Fi devices, and will provide "reliable coverage throughout the entire house, building, or other area." Designers will be able to integrate the module with a new or existing embedded application within hours, the chipmaker promises.

Filomena Berardi, a connectivity market analyst with IMS Research, was quoted by TI as saying, "The number of devices shipping with Wi-Fi inside is forecast to expand to 2.6 billion annually by 2016, as the Internet of things becomes an even more prolific part of consumer lifestyles and business operations. TI's new SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 solution will take advantage of the mature Wi-Fi infrastructure, providing the optimal level of integration necessary to help drive this Wi-Fi expansion."

TI's SimpleLink Wi-FI CC3000
Source: TI via SlashGear
click to play)

A Consumer Electronics Show demo of the CC3000
Source: CABAConf
(click to play)


According to TI, the SimpleLink Wi-FI CC3000 is available now in a $199 Wi-Fi CC3000 FRAM evaluation module kit (EMK). It will also be available in the form of a 16.5 x 11.5 x 2.2mm module from Murata (the TypeVK) and a 21 x 14 x 2.8mm module from LS Research (the TiWi-SL), both designed to work with their manufacturers' respective transceivers.

A list of microcontrollers supported by the CC3000 may be found on the TI website. General information on TI's SimpleLink products, which also include 6LoWPAN, ZigBee, and ANT modules, may be found on the SimpleLink product page.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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