Sniffing WiFi with an ESP8266 microcontroller


© Lead Image © donatas1205,

© Lead Image © donatas1205,

Article from Issue 250/2021

The ESP8266 is in the core of many IoT devices. Thanks to ESP8266 sniffer mode, you can monitor the WiFi medium for diagnostics and optimization.

In recent years, Arduino has gained fame as the quintessential beginner's board, but other boards with different characteristics might be more appropriate for certain projects. The ESP8266 is a system-on-chip (SoC), similar to the ATMEGA microcontrollers found on Arduino boards, but with a wireless communications module embedded within the same package.

The main advantages of the ESP8266 are its extremely low price, low energy consumption, and relatively high performance. Apart from these advantages, the availability of a platform support package for the Arduino IDE makes it extremely accessible to beginners. Although ESP8266 modules can be used as independent microcontrollers, they are often used as WiFi modems for Arduino projects because the default firmware implements an AT modem.

The ESP8266 microcontroller can be found in several form factors [1]. One of the most commonly used for beginners is the NodeMCU board in its different variants. The NodeMCU boards are wrappers for the ESP-12 modules, which can be used in more advanced projects and final prototypes. The ESP-12 module is also in the core of the WeMos D1 board, which is designed with an Arduino Uno pinout, making it compatible with most shields.


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