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Introducing Netduino 3 Wi-Fi


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#1 Chris Walker

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 11:56 PM

Dear Friends,

The future is wireless.

Over the last four and a half years together, tens of thousands of you have built amazing projects with Netduino. But we have been holding you back, literally, with a network cable.

Today we introduce a new flagship Netduino. Minus the wires. And with built-in SSL.

Introducing Netduino 3 Wi-Fi, the next-generation wireless Netduino.
Netduino 3 Wi-Fi Specs
Where to Buy (resellers)

[And yes, we know that sometimes you want to use a network cable. Netduino 3 Wi-Fi has an Ethernet-based next-generation cousin. We'll talk about that separately.]

Netduino 3 Wi-Fi builds upon the best features of previous Netduinos. And then adds a lot of great new features.
 
Here are a few highlights of what is new and improved with Netduino 3 Wi-Fi:
  • Micro: STM32F427VI Rev 3
    2MB dual-bank flash (twice as much as NP2)
    256KB RAM including 64KB core-coupled RAM (33% more than NP2)
  • Wi-Fi: TI CC3100, 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)
    Supports open networks, WEP and WPA2
  • Built-in support for the latest SSL security (including TLS 1.2)
  • Three GoBus 2.0 ports (for plug and play components)
  • Support for even more Arduino shields (with ICSP header pads)
  • New miniature shield-friendly pushbutton
  • Brand new power subsystem and power management
  • Over half of all components are new.  Too much to cover here.
On the software side, Netduino 3 Wi-Fi uses a special Netduino.IP hybrid networking stack (fully integrated into the CLR).  Just write regular NETMF code using System.Net.Socket, HttpWebRequest, SslStream, etc.
 
And of course Netduino 3 Wi-Fi is awesome for projects using Microsoft Azure.  AMQP support?  You're covered.
 
This board is engineered with the future in mind, and also great for today's Internet-connected projects.
 
Netduino 3 Wi-Fi is also firmware upgradable (including built-in firmware upgrade functionality for CC3100) and will gain even more rich functionality over time.
 
I am super excited about this new generation of Netduino hardware.  And even more excited to see the projects you build with the new functionality. 
 
Let's build the future together,
 
Chris

P.S. Even the MicroUSB jack is new.  We obsessed over finding a jack which gave users a satisfying "click".  And then obsessed over a lot of other seemingly-insignificant-but-important things.  This board is over-engineered, as usual; we admit it. :)

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#2 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 12:08 AM

P.S. A few more links:
 
Netduino 3 Wi-Fi schematic
Netduino.IP hybrid network stack for TI CC3100 (GitHub)
STMicro STM32F427VI microcontroller
TI CC3100 wireless network processor

One other note: STM32F427VI Rev 3 is a brand new microcontroller. We just received some of the very first chips off the line, for your Netduino 3 Wi-Fi boards. The hardware components on this board are really, really nice.

#3 Matt Isenhower

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 12:37 AM

P.S. Even the MicroUSB jack is new.  We obsessed over finding a jack which gave users a satisfying "click".  And then obsessed over a lot of other seemingly-insignificant-but-important things.  This board is over-engineered, as usual; we admit it. :)


Don't forget about the new mini button too :)

First off, congratulations to Chris and his team on the release of Netduino 3 Wi-Fi! I've been testing this board for the past few weeks and it really is awesome. I posted some initial thoughts on my blog here.

Being able to use GoBus on a board with network connectivity is huge. This is something I've wanted to have since the Netduino Go was first released :) I've included an example project in my blog post above where I pull weather data from wunderground.com's API and display it on a seven segment display module. It's remarkable how easy it is to implement something like this with NETMF and GoBus.

When I first received my N3W it was running very early firmware that didn't include the GoBus library. This gave me a chance to think about an alternate approach for GoBus implementation that would allow for more flexibility when using Go modules and their drivers. I ended up implementing this idea in an experimental library and had a lot of fun trying out some of the new possibilities it enabled. I wrote about this in a separate blog post here: GoBus: An Alternate Approach.

Anyway, congratulations again to Chris and his team on another awesome Netduino! I'm looking forward to see what everyone does with their new boards :)

Matt
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#4 Sukasa

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 01:43 AM

Wow, awesome...  Will PoE ever be in the cards for a Netduino Plus?



#5 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 02:57 AM

Hi Sukasa,

We have looked at making a Netduino 3 Ethernet PoE--but the added cost would put it out of the range of most makers. This is certainly something we could do for commercial customers in volume.
One good alternative I have seen for many maker applications is a PoE splitter.

What are you favorite things about Netduino 3 Wi-Fi?

Chris

#6 Sukasa

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:12 AM

Definitely the SSL and AMQP.  The Wi-Fi is nice, but I prefer hardwired ethernet.  The GoBus is a plus that'll only get bigger over time, too.

 

The extra code space feels kind of meaningless, however.  Even on my N+1 I never came close to running out of room for binaries; it was always the RAM that was constricting.



#7 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:36 AM

Definitely the SSL and AMQP.  The Wi-Fi is nice, but I prefer hardwired ethernet.  The GoBus is a plus that'll only get bigger over time, too.
 
The extra code space feels kind of meaningless, however.  Even on my N+1 I never came close to running out of room for binaries; it was always the RAM that was constricting.

Good news: you now have 64 KB more RAM too. And with Netduino.IP, even more...since it's very resourceful on memory itself :)

By default we actually allocate the flash as two 1MB sections (with 384KB available for code, as before). It's a special kind of flash called dual-bank flash which would, in theory, let us receive a complete firmware update (NETMF, app, etc.) over the air...and flash the second 1MB with it...and then reboot into the second half of flash. Would that be interesting to enable?

Or you know...extra storage for web page assets, etc. Although MicroSD already works great for that.

Chris

#8 Sukasa

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:47 AM

SD is great bulk storage, but something akin to the 'Simple Storage' mentioned in another thread, even if it was just a few bytes would be brilliant, especially for config information.

 

OTA firmware updates would be pretty sweet, especially if there was a way to balance out the firmware upgrade with the managed code running and then let managed code decide when to reboot into the new firmware...  But the killer feature of that would be the ability to roll back if something went wrong.



#9 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:51 AM

Great feedback, Sukasa.

But the killer feature of that would be the ability to roll back if something went wrong.

Dual-bank flash (and a good bootloader) are awesome that way :)

Chris

#10 neslekkim

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 12:29 PM

P.S. Even the MicroUSB jack is new.  We obsessed over finding a jack which gave users a satisfying "click".  And then obsessed over a lot of other seemingly-insignificant-but-important things.  This board is over-engineered, as usual; we admit it. :)

 

And I hope the microusb connector is throughhole for the attachment?, so they don't tear off ?


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Asbjrn


#11 Matt Isenhower

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:07 PM

And I hope the microusb connector is throughhole for the attachment?, so they don't tear off ?


It is, and it's soldered in, too (like the NP2, unlike the Netduino Go).

Here's a photo of the bottom of mine -- you can also see the new silkscreen and mini JTAG connector pads, which have been moved to the bottom of the board (and are now surface mount instead of through-hole).

n3wbottom-sm.jpg
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#12 Sukasa

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 05:27 PM

I'm also curious about the 'new' power subsystem and power management - what does that entail?



#13 EddieGarmon

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 05:55 PM

amazon is fast, hardware in hand...



#14 neslekkim

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 06:22 PM

It is, and it's soldered in, too (like the NP2, unlike the Netduino Go).

Here's a photo of the bottom of mine -- you can also see the new silkscreen and mini JTAG connector pads, which have been moved to the bottom of the board (and are now surface mount instead of through-hole).
 

 

Nice!


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Asbjrn


#15 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 06:51 PM

Hi Sukasa,
 

I'm also curious about the 'new' power subsystem and power management - what does that entail?


To sum it up: more power (mA) available to your projects, the ability to shut down unneeded subsystems intelligently and the potential for all sorts of new Netduino projects.

I'll cover this in detail in follow-up posts, including later on as we take more and more advantage of the new capabilities through firmware updates.

Chris

#16 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 06:51 PM

Hi EddieGarmon,

amazon is fast, hardware in hand...


Awesome! First impressions? Photos? Videos?

We're excited with you! :)

Chris

#17 Sukasa

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 07:05 PM

That's pretty awesome.  You kind of missed the most important thing, though - you've brought back official +12VIN support!  It's a small thing, but can be pretty important.  My existing N+2 project is stuck on an 8vdc adaptor to power the n+2 as well as a pair of +12V cooling fans, and being able to upgrade to +12vdc in future if I swap uCs is a great thing.



#18 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 07:07 PM

That's pretty awesome.  You kind of missed the most important thing, though - you've brought back official +12VIN support!  It's a small thing, but can be pretty important.  My existing N+2 project is stuck on an 8vdc adaptor to power the n+2 as well as a pair of +12V cooling fans, and being able to upgrade to +12vdc in future if I swap uCs is a great thing.

That new TI 12V->5V LDO is pretty nice, isn't it? :)

We still recommend lower voltages to keep heat down (since anything above ~7.5V is just going to get burned off by the LDO). I use 9V.

Chris

#19 Joshk

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 09:53 PM

Sukasa said: SD is great bulk storage, but something akin to the 'Simple Storage' mentioned in another thread, even if it was just a few bytes would be brilliant, especially for config information.

 

Absolutely!  All I need to store is "Boot Mode = 1,2, or 3" and for that I need to buy an SD card.  Spendy and difficult.  Which makes me wonder, will this work with SDHC cards?



#20 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 09:56 PM

Hi Joshk,
 

...will this work with SDHC cards?

The open source NETMF drivers work with standard MicroSD cards (up to 2GB).

Here's a link to the MicroSD card we use over at Amazon.com.

Chris




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