Guidance for ad-hoc vs. infrastructure networks and auto-config

I just learned of the release of the XBee Wi-Fi modules recently-- these are great new products and I can’t wait to start evaluating them.

One question: is there, or will there be, any guidance provided for deploying these modules in environments or devices without a user interface? I ask because there are times where the modules will be part of a device that will allow the user to configure items like SSID, WPA, etc. but there will be other times and scenarios where these modules will need to be deployed in devices without a UI (so no ability to set SSID, password, etc. interactively).

The scenario I’m imagining is: a user with iPhone or similar WiFi device in hand, needing to access and control a number of units with XBee WiFi modules in them. The environment may or may not have an access point, so ideally I’d be looking for the XBees to auto-config via ad-hoc in a non-access-point environment. I know the XBees can be configured to be ad-hoc initiators or joiners-- again, how to manage this in an automatic fashion?

The ideal scenario would be:

  • Auto configuration of Xbees and WiFi-based control devices (i.e., iPhones, etc.) in an environment where an SSID exists. This would be used to perform an initial configuration.
  • Following the initial configuration, auto-detection of a lack of SSID in a field environment and auto-switch to ad-hoc mode. Also, auto-detection of whether an ad-hoc initiator has already been declared on the network or not. If so, join the existing ad-hoc network. If not, switch to initiator mode so other nodes can join.

The key aspects of this design are:

  • Need to use WiFi (vs. something easier like standard RF or mesh) due to requirements of the controlling devices (i.e., iPhones and other smartphones)
  • Need to have the XBee WiFi module auto-sense its network (SSID or not, ad-hoc or not) and auto-config in situations where a UI may not be present on the device with the XBee

Is there any guidance on how to design and architect for a scenario such as the one above?

Thank you!

–Rob

Hi Rob,

I have very much the same requirement. Were you able to get anything done?

How can you access the module with a PC through WiFi, like you would access a XBee 802.15.4 wirelessly using the XStick and the terminal?

Thoughts?