Is there a way to connect a USB device (like a Wifi dongle) to the Arduino?

There are many very cheap Wifi dongles selling for around $5 including shipping. I was wondering if anyone has tried to use these low cost USB Wifi adapters with the Arduino...

I am asking because I don't understand why all Wifi modules/shields for the Arduino are so expensive when you can get a fully functional Wifi adapter for a fraction of the price.

The dongles require a lot of support in the operating system. You would have to implement the TCP/IP stack on the Arduino. You would also need a USB Host Shield (or equivalent) to talk to the USB device. The WiFi Shield includes a much more capable WiFi device that implements the TCP/IP stack and a secondary processor that rides herd on the WiFi device.

So what is the cheapest way to add Wifi support to my project?

szangvil: So what is the cheapest way to add Wifi support to my project?

Buy a used wireless access point and an ethernet shield.

Here is a simple example of using the WiFi shield with UNO to monitor a button state from your PC web browser:

http://openhomeautomation.net/monitor-your-home-remotely-using-the-arduino-wifi-shield/

I need a cheap solution for a product I am working on. It will be mass produced, so I need a cheap solution.

szangvil: I need a cheap solution for a product I am working on. It will be mass produced, so I need a cheap solution.

Then buy a couple million of the WiFi modules; I'm sure they'll cut you a break at that volume.

The Chinese would probable throw in the engineering too. After all someone else has already done the work... and sent it to China.

Doc

The tiny USB/WiFi dongles contain something like the Realtek RTL8192CU chip:

http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/productsView.aspx?Langid=1&PFid=48&Level=5&Conn=4&ProdID=277

You can download the Linux driver sources but I don't think the 5.5 MB of sources is going to shoehorn into the Arduino at all well.

They have other single-chip WiFi solutions but they seem to all be USB 2.0 or PCI Express interfaces.

I looked and looked but could not find a cheap solution.

How the hell the chinese make those USB modules so cheap?!

szangvil: How the hell the chinese make those USB modules so cheap?!

Single-chip USB-WiFi adapter. Design a board and make in large quantities.

Have you looked at the TI SimpleLink CC3000?

http://hackaday.com/2013/01/12/finally-ti-is-producing-simple-cheap-wifi-modules/

"Best of all, the CC3000 only costs $10 in quantities of 1000."