Bidirectional Serial Communication on Wifi from Laptop to ~20 Nodes.

Hi Everyone

I would like some advice on the most painless way to implement my project.

I need to be able to send and receive wireless serial data between~ 20 microcontrollers and my Laptop. Lets call the microcontrollers Nodes and the Laptop the base station.

  • The Nodes do not have to communicate with eachother
  • I believe WiFi is the simplest way to go, as I will not need any external hardware at the 'base station' (Correct?)
  • I need to be able to address the nodes individually

In searching for a hardware solution these are my criteria (most important first)

  • Size: It needs to be as small as possible (so most WiFi Shields are out of the question)
  • No Pain (well documented, easy to use.)
  • Power requirements (Nodes are running off batteries - I can recharge, so its not a big deal, but still - should not draw excessive amounts)
  • Scaleability (Ideally I would want to be able to scale my setup to include exponentially more nodes. I won't be doing this at this time, but in theory I want this to be possible.)

Solutions I think might be a good fit:

SparkFun WiFly (SparkFun WiFly GSX Breakout - WRL-10050 - SparkFun Electronics)

  • Appears well documented
  • Slightly larger than I'd like

XBee WiFi module (SparkFun WiFly GSX Breakout - WRL-10050 - SparkFun Electronics)

  • Nice Size
  • Appears as though its used a lot
  • Has lots of functionality that I don't need. I'd prefer something simpler

ConnectOne (

  • Can't find a whole lot of documentation

RS232 (

  • Small
  • Appears simple
  • I don't know any of the re-sellers. Worried that there will be little help if I run into problems.

RedBack (

  • Simple, Well documented
  • Feels a bit bloated hardware wise. I do not need a full fledged Arduino to connect to an Arduino.

I'd be interested in hearing what you would recommend, which modules you have experience with etc. Which ones have you chosen for your own projects? Why?

Is WiFi a reasonable way to go? I think it would make the hardware for the base-station simpler. But maybe I should got with the Nordic Semiconducter readios? (+nRF.... )

If you need more information, please let me know. I'd appreciate any advice.



What about the RN-XV module ( It's XBee form factor, allows for a simple serial connection (once configured correctly) and is much cheaper than the WiFly GSX. It's a bit picky on the serial timing, so don't use SoftwareSerial with it, but it's very reliable on the hardware serial interface.