By Chris Jones, Crypto Quantique
embedded.com (May 26, 2022)
Within industrial IoT deployments, wireless technologies (excluding low power) can be broadly classified as cellular or short-range wireless. Short-range wireless encompasses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and various other protocols.
Rather than design wireless communications circuits from scratch, embedded system designers often decide to use ready-made and certified wireless modules. Some of these now accommodate a variety of frequencies and protocols within a single module. This article discusses the architecture of Wi-Fi modules and the opportunities for designers to improve IoT device and network security by using the resources available in such modules. In practice, the same general approach may be applied to other modules, regardless of the wireless protocols involved.
What is a Wi-Fi module?
A Wi-Fi module comprises a wireless transceiver for 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands (or both), an antenna, and a microcontroller to run firmware, enable the radio to receive and transmit data, and operate protocols. The external interface to the microcontroller will usually be SPI, I2C, USB or a UART.
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