Top 3 IOT WiFi hardware prototyping platforms, EVMs and development kits reviewed

Learn to choose the best WiFi hardware prototyping tools, kits & EVMs


Reviews of the best WiFi hardware prototyping EVM, tool and development kit platforms for your wireless IOT project

IOT developers are looking at WiFi hardware development kits to develop products for a number of IOT applications such as home automation and factory automation.

Have you tried to count the number of IOT devices connected to your Wifi hardware router at home? The IOT hardware connected to the Wifi router will definitely include your laptop(perhaps a couple more laptops belonging to your family), a mobile (perhaps another few belonging to your family), a printer, and your TV at the very minimum. A colleague told me that he counted 38 wireless IOT devices connected to his WiFi hardware router!

There is no doubt that Wifi IOT devices are here to stay. No wonder companies ranging from Texas Instruments, Mediatek, Microchip, Atmel and STMicrosystems are competing to offer Wifi prototyping tools, development kits and platforms to kickstart your hardware design projects.

Summary of the top Wifi prototyping platforms (Wifi development Kits or EVMs) for your wireless IOT projects or check out the IOT Wi-Fi prototyping tools awards

Manufacturer Wifi Hardware Prototyping Platform/Development Kit Really Cool Features
Texas Instruments Simplelink CC3200 Launchpad Wifi Hardware Development Kit (CC3200-LAUNCHXL)
  • Low Power- just 2 AA batteries can last your wireless Wifi IOT application for a year
  • Fast Development-You can start developing your Wifi hardware projects in less than a day
Adafruit Adafruit HUZZAH ESP8266 Breakout Board based on ESP8266 chip from Expressif This Wifi hardware Development Board costs less than $10 and has all the features. Need we say more?
Gainspan GS2011MXX (GS2011MIZ, GS2011MIE, GS2011MIPS), GS2100XX (GS2100MIP, GS2100MIE) and GS2200MIZ Wifi Development Boards based on the GS2000 chip family Ready Application development Kits and reference designs for the most common Wifi applications

1Texas Instruments Simplelink CC3200 Launchpad Wifi hardware Development Board(CC3200-LAUNCHXL)- world’s first integrated MCU with Wifi on a single chip

Simplelink CC3200 Launchpad : Use this Wifi Development tool to launch your IOT prototype in a day!

Texas Instruments has been catching the attention of hobbyists and startups with its Launchpad series of micro controller hardware development boards. The Simplelink CC3200 Wifi Launchpad Kit is another classic hardware prototyping kit platform with on board emulation to kick start your wireless IOT Wifi project in just a few hours. The built-in sensors include :

  • Accelerometer included in the Wifi Hardware development board
  • Temperature sensor included in the Wifi Hardware development board
Low Power capability for your Wifi hardware platform

Take a typical Wifi enabled hardware application such as a fire alarm in a home automation system. The biggest pain point to adoption of this IOT technology is the human intervention for mundane tasks such as battery replacement. The biggest advantage of the CC3200 chip is that it can be powered by 2 AA batteries for the typical Wifi wireless IOT applications

No Arduino support -but try Energia

The Simplelink CC3200 Launchpad hardware development kit offers no Arduino support. But this WIfi prototyping kit supports Energia which closely mirrors the easy to code features of Arduino. Both Energia and Arduino are based on the parent Wiring framework. So, hobbyists should not feel disheartened by the lack of Arduino support.

Texas Instruments Simplelink CC3200 Wifi hardware development kit : The Decision Clincher

Ready to use sensors with low power capability make this Wifi development kit a great starting point for your next wireless IOT project

2Adafruit HUZZAH ESP8266 Wifi Breakout Board : Really, really low cost

Choose the HUZZAH ESP8266 Breakout Board to prototype your wireless IOT application : This development kit has great features at almost no cost

If you are a hobbyist or even a developer in large R&D organization, this choice is really a no-brainer. For less than $10, you can get a fully functional Wifi hardware development board

Whats more, this hardware development kit also includes a temperature sensor to kick start your training.

The low cost of the core chip platform (ESP8266 from Expressif) makes the choice compelling when your wifi product is ready for mass production

The classic problem in many IOT projects is scale- marketing would insist on your lowering the overall cost of your wifi hardware board. This may the only way to make the IOT product fit at the right price point. In this case, ESP8266 which powers this board is the ideal fit

ESP8266 supports Arduino, unlike the CC3200

Unlike the CC3200 hardware development kit, the ESP8266 based boards support Arduino.(Hooray!) Whats more, it can be programmed using open source software such as “Embedded Lua” or open source software based on the GCC toolchain.

ESP8266 : The Decision clincher

Choose the ESP8266 based board for low cost prototype development and Arduino support

3Gainspan GS2000 platform based Wifi development kits (GS2011MXX, GS2100MXX, GS2200MIZ): These Wifi modules lower your wireless IOT product development time and costs

Wifi Certifications & Product development time are key factors in choosing a WiFi hardware wireless development board and the associated hardware chip vendor. Gainspan’s GS2000 IC platform based EVMs solve these fundamental problems for wireless IOT designers

Wifi Certification : Gainspan’s GS2000 development platforms are ahead of the competition

There is no doubt the Gainspan understands the importance of WiFi certifications. GS2000 platform based modules are IEEE 802.11b/g/n compliant and also cover Wi-fi Alliance requirements. If you develop Wifi wireless IOT prototypes based on Gainspan’s GS2000 platform based modules, you will also get certified for FCC, CE, IC, Telec requirements. This will enable you to launch your IOT products seamlessly in multiple geographies such as US, Europe, Japan.

Application Development Kits (ADKs) and Reference Designs amazingly shorten IOT product development time

The development kits on the Gainspan’s GS2000 platform include application development kits such as the Audio ADK, Video ADK, Music ADK and the SmartPlug ADK. These ADKs include

    • Hardware reference designs
    • Sample code
    • Smartphone (IOS and Android) apps
    • Easy interface to cloud partners

Some of the Wifi based wireless IOT applications for which ADKs are available:

      • Smart Plug
      • Video Door Bell
      • Thermostat
      • Wifi Speakers
      • Baby Monitors
      • Walkie Talkies
Gainspan GS2000 based Wifi hardware Development Boards & Kits – The decision clincher

Choose Gainspan’s GS2000 if you want to shorten the time to market for your IOT Wifi products.


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