Electronics > Open Source Hardware

Has Pinoccio wifi?


Hi guys.

I found (another) opensource arduino clone http://pinocc.io/tech-specs/

On the site it's written: "Pinoccio talks over wi-fi and runs on a long-lasting rechargeable LiPo battery"

But the dev board uses ATMega128rfa1 with 802.15.4 wireless standard, not the 802.11.
Are they trying to deceive people into thinking that the board will be able to connect to home wifi?

Or perhaps devices with 802.15.4 standard also support 802.11? I really don't know.

Please tell me your thoughts on this.


Hi there-

We're the ones working on Pinoccio, so I'm happy to answer your questions.

So, yes, we essentially have two radios, both running over 2.4GHz. 

Each board has an 802.15.4 radio that communicates with any other board on its PAN ID, in a mesh network configuration.  We also support routing between boards, so if board A and board C are out of range of each other, but they can both reach a board B, then B will route packets for A and C to reach each other.

Our starter kit also includes an 802.11 shield that goes on top of one of the Pinoccio boards.  That board/shield combo acts as a bridge between the 802.15.4 mesh network and the web.

We have a couple of reasons we went with this architecture:

- The Atmel 802.15.4 radio in the 128rfa1 chip we're using has a ridiculously low power draw for the range you get.  We can blast the radio non-stop at full power, and  a 500mAh battery will power that (and the MCU) for something like 27 hours.  It draws 17mA at full power radio, and the MCU in the highest power state.  We wanted this sort of endurance while still remaining networkable.  Thus this was the right package.

- We wanted a bunch of Pinoccio boards to have the ability to be a standalone network--with no wifi around.  We spoke with several environmental scientists about how they'd use this, and they often have sensor networks in the middle of the desert or jungle, and laying coax cable at a site can cost thousands of dollars and many manhours of laying conduit.  So we wanted to have the ability to do standalone networking, and 802.15.4 mesh with routing fit the ticket perfectly.

- We did though, want the ability to get a Pinoccio network onto the web, and to be able to reach it, (and web/mobile apps to reach a board) through a gateway.  So we settled on a shield/bridge setup, where it's easy to get Pinoccios online if you want to, but don't need to.  What's nice, is that we have the ability to upgrade the 802.15.4 network library later to support 6loWPAN, which lets IPv6 route across an 802.15.4 network.  It's still a ways out, but our grand vision is to have each Pinoccio board IPv6 pingable from the web (if you're using a wifi shield).

We could have just used 802.11 as the networking stack, but they draw up to 150mA when transmitting, and we're still at 17mA.  Plus, the wifi modules are still expensive, and we wanted to stay closer to the cost of an Arduino board, not the cost of an Arduino board and a wifi shield (which is usually over $100).

Hope that answers your questions!  If you have more, feel free to ask.


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