Each application has its own special requirement for a Wi-Fi module interface.
Wi-Fi modules are available in quite a large number of designs so as to meet the different requirements of the market. One of the most important selection criteria are the interfaces, which often depend on the type of the main processor used, the required data speeds, the form factor, and the permissible dissipation rate. In recent years, PCIe, USB, and the SPI and UART serial interfaces have become the widely accepted choices for Wi-Fi modules. The latter is often preferably used for IoT (Internet of Things) applications, since these do not require high data speeds (mostly not more than a few hundred kbps) but are all the more demanding in terms of low dissipation rates and small size.
Our suppliers in this category Wi-Fi Radios:
COMPEX can look back at 10 years of cooperation with Qualcomm Atheros, and specializes exclusively in the latter's Wi-Fi modules. COMPEX is thus an official ADC (authorized design centre) of Qualcomm Atheros and, in addition to innovative reference designs, also offers its customers the corresponding hardware and software development support.
WISTRON NeWeb Corporation (WNC), established in 1996, is a product design and manufacturing company that provides high-quality ODM services for wireless communication and module solutions as well. WNC has comprehensive capabilities in RF antenna design, software design, hardware design, mechanical design, system integration, user interface development, product testing & certification, and manufacturing. The product portfolio ranges from USB modules, stand alone mini cards, Mini PCI & PCIe modules up to combo modules for WiFi and Bluetooth.
USB 2.0, on the other hand, offers significantly higher data rates and also allows for an equally space-saving integration with 4 lanes. At a gross data rate of 480Mbps (USB 2.0, high speed), the 802.11n standard can easily be used in a MIMO 2x2 operation (antenna data rate of 300Mbps). As a result of their higher power consumption, however, these interfaces are not very suitable for battery-operated applications, especially those in IoT. PCIe Mini Card is by far the interface with the highest data rate and is therefore the preferred solution for the 802.11ac broadband standard, but also has the highest dissipation rate and space requirements. Due to the PCIe Mini Card specifications, all modules are available with the same mechanical interface, which requires a 52-pin connector on the target hardware. Therefore, PCIe modules are mostly used in PC-based systems operating with Linux or Windows.
CODICO offers a wide range of Wi-Fi modules for each interface in the standards 802.11a/b/g/n/ac in single band (2.4GHz) and dual band (2.4GHz & 5GHz). Most of these modules support several send and receive antennas (MIMO: Multiple Input Multiple Output) to increase data rates or to allow for the use of the Rx and Tx Diversity technologies. While modules with USB and serial interface are available in SISO and MIMO 2x2 designs, the PCIe modules support multiple antenna systems up to a maximum of MIMO 4x4. For 802.11ac, CODICO even offers solutions with MU-MIMO 4x4 (MU:Multi User), a new technology al owing the simultaneous transmission of independent data streams to different clients. Several modules are CE, FCC, and IC certified and are available in commercial or industrial temperature ranges.