WIZnet Networking SolutionsBy Robert Cong
If it isn't on the Internet, does it really exist? From the way we communicate and socialize, to the way we work and develop, there is no doubt that being connected to the Internet is critical. It seems like almost every device is connected to the Internet these days, and if it isn't, people want it to be. With the line of products from WIZnet Technology, you can make just about anything internet-capable.
WIZnet has quickly gained popularity in the embedded systems world due to their ease of use and quality of products. They offer many single chips with unique fully-hardwired TCP/IP, MAC and PHY embedded cores. They consume very low power, are extremely stable, easy to use and process off-load through TCP/IP. WIZnet's Internet microcontroller units, or "iMCU" as they have coined it, and Ethernet controllers are completely packed with numerous embedded applications such as multidevice-to-Ethernet interfacing, automation, embedded servers, home-to-network solutions, and so much more. Implementing the WIZnet chips into your applications provide high performance and reliability, while taking away the dependency on user platforms without requiring any high-level programming skills.
If you're looking for something more than just the chip, they also have network and application modules, as well as evaluation boards for quick, ready-to-use projects. The iMCU is integrated within the modules, so all you have to do is program the unit and plug it into your application. Wireless modules also provide great functionality for your projects and applications. No extra drivers or software are needed for many of these modules. Personal customization of modules is even available from WIZnet if you have special needs.
If you're brainstorming about the type of projects you can create with these modules, the possibilities are endless. You can implement these modules into your Arduino or XBee/Zigbee for seamless communication interfacing. Other popular applications include CDMA repeaters, which increase signal strength for wireless phones but are usually held very high in order to be effective. With something like the WizFi210 , you can send/receive data and commands to the CDMA repeater from a distance of more than 2000 feet with a dipole antenna.
Ever wonder how long the bus will take to reach your stop? You can work with the transit system to create a sensor that will send its location data for all travelers to see on their computers or smart phones.
Smart meters are being placed in homes all across the world and the easiest way to monitor them is through your network. Homes in Europe and Korea, including more than 10 companies, have already begun using WIZnet modules in smart meter products because of the short development time and low cost. You can simply keep an eye on the energy being consumed in your home from the Web.
RFID (Radio frequency identification) readers are gaining immense popularity. Integrate one of the WIZnet iMCU's into the RFID reader and instead of sending all the information to only the main data station, it can also be sent to your website for easy monitoring.
When it comes to having access to the Internet, almost anything is possible. From markets of energy monitoring and health care/fitness to industrial automation and light control, the WIZnet line of products take our technologically-advanced world to greater heights. For some other project ideas, check out WIZnet's iMCU design contest, which challenged participants to make interesting and creative embedded design projects using the W7100 iMCU.
Robert is a graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Electrical Engineering. His interests include sports, movies, music and playing with cool, new gadgets.