Wireless Connection Manager - Universal and Multipurpose IoT Connectivity Solution

About the Client

A leading provider of IoT connectivity solutions, offers seamless internet access for smart products using a network of ZipKey Wi-Fi hotspots, offering internet connectivity for any smart product, automatically and securely, right out of the box.
Software & Hi-Tech

Company’s Request

The client needed a solution to simplify the connectivity process for IoT devices, which often lack traditional input-output interfaces. They sought a wireless configuration manager that could connect devices automatically to the Internet upon activation without user intervention and maintain connectivity even after network changes. This system needed to be easily installable, highly secure, and capable of managing devices throughout their lifecycle.

Technology Set

Embedded Linux
Chosen for its robustness and flexibility, allowing customization and optimization tailored to specific hardware and performance needs. It is widely used in IoT devices for its strong support and scalability, making it ideal for complex IoT applications.
RTOS (Cypress WICED, Marvel IoT, Samsung IoT, Realtek Ameba)
These RTOS platforms are selected for their ability to handle real-time operations and responsiveness. They provide efficient and predictable performance for IoT applications requiring immediate processing and low latency.
Utilized for its lightweight nature and efficient task management capabilities, making it suitable for microcontroller-based applications where resources are limited but multitasking is required.
Employed for its fast processing capabilities and minimal footprint. It supports rapid task switching and low overhead, enhancing the performance of embedded applications.
Offers a highly configurable option with POSIX compatibility, making it an excellent choice for developers looking for a Linux-like environment on resource-constrained devices.
Used for its low-level access to memory and hardware control capabilities, essential for optimizing performance and efficiency in embedded systems where direct hardware interaction is necessary.
Bash scripting is applied to automate many system-level tasks, simplifying the deployment and management of IoT devices during development.
Chosen for its simplicity and high readability, which accelerates development processes. It's particularly useful for quick prototyping and handling non-time-critical application logic in IoT environments.

Our team developed a Linux-based software application – Wireless Connection Manager (WCM), that automates the connectivity process for IoT devices. This application automatically connects to the nearest ZipKey Wi-Fi hotspot, granting devices immediate internet access and enabling swift cloud-based product registration in environments where devices frequently switch networks or need to connect automatically without user intervention.

The application supports a worldwide network of public Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing devices to connect from almost anywhere – be it public spaces or private homes. 

A key feature of our solution is its ability to keep devices connected even when network settings, like passwords, change. This provides continuous service and enhances the user experience by removing the need for manual reconfiguration.

The Connection Manager is designed to be integrated into existing product lines without requiring additional hardware or proprietary software, making it a cost-effective solution for broad deployment.

We also integrated the WCM firmware into the standard build process for OpenWRT platforms, enabling straightforward firmware installation on devices either directly or via Over-The-Air (OTA) updates. This method simplifies the update process and confirms all devices are updated easily and uniformly without manual intervention.

While currently adapted for OpenWRT platforms, we are planning to extend this solution to Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) to include a wider range of devices. A library ready for integration into the standard SDKs of target platforms has already been prepared, setting the stage for future expansions to support more diverse hardware.

We need to maintain secure connections, especially over public networks, so we integrated top-tier encryption standards and secure authentication methods within Connection Manager to protect data transmission and prevent unauthorized access.

Value Delivered

Enhanced User Experience
The WCM simplifies the user’s interaction with IoT devices, providing a plug-and-play experience that removes the complexity of traditional setups.
Reduced Cost and Complexity for Manufacturers
By integrating WCM, manufacturers can reduce the cost and complexity associated with product setup and support, focusing instead on innovating and improving their core product offerings.
Strong Security
This solution features advanced encryption, certificates, and authentication protocols to protect against unauthorized access.
Scalable and Maintainable
Our solution is designed to be scalable across various platforms and maintainable over the long term, allowing updates and modifications with minimal effort.
Wide Support
The solution includes support not only for products with existing ZipKey technology but also for those without, enabling a fully connected product lifecycle.