A microcontroller is a small computer typically used to control electronic devices. It is often used in Internet of Things (IoT) applications because it is inexpensive, has low power consumption, and can easily integrate into various devices.
- Arduino- Simplicity and ease of use/ Vast ecosystem of compatible sensors
- Raspberry Pi- Great processing power and memory
- ESP3- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities
- Particle Photon- Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity/Cloud integration
- STM32 Series- Extensive peripheral support/Broad range of options
- Nordic nRF52 Series- BLE capabilities/Energy efficiency
- NXP Microcontrollers- Various connectivity option/Low power consumption/Rich set of IO interfaces.
- Silicon Labs Microcontrollers- Low power consumption/ Excellent energy efficiency/ Wide range of connectivity options
This article compares common microcontrollers performance of microcontrollers to help you choose the best microcontroller for IoT.
Dusun offers IoT Hardware based on best microcontroller with a full set of development resources.
What Is a Microcontroller For IoT?
A compact, low-power electronic device known as a microcontroller for IoT is intended to manage and control linked devices and sensors in an IoT system. It acts as the brain of IoT devices, letting them to collect environmental data, process it, and connect with other IoT devices or systems over the internet.
How to Choose a Microcontroller For IoT Project?
Choosing the best microcontroller for your IoT application involves considering several factors based on the specific requirements of your project. Here are some key points to consider when selecting a microcontroller:
Consider your IoT application’s processing power needs. Choose a microcontroller with the right processing power based on the complexity of the tasks the device needs to do.
Take into account the IoT application’s needed communication protocols. Decide if you require cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other types of connectivity. A microcontroller that supports the required connection standards should be used.
Input/Output (IO) Interfaces
Consider your IoT application’s smart sensor and actuator needs when choosing input/output (IO) interfaces. Think about the several IO interfaces that are needed, including analog inputs, digital inputs/outputs, UART, I2C, SPI, and others. Make sure the microcontroller has enough IO pins and ports to meet your requirements.
Consider your IoT device’s power needs. Choose a microcontroller with low power consumption and energy-saving capabilities if your application relies on batteries or is designed to be energy-efficient.
Take into account the microcontroller’s software tool accessibility and simplicity of development. Verify whether a well-known Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and a thriving developer community support the microcontroller. This guarantees the availability of libraries, documentation, and community assistance for development and troubleshooting.
Cost and Availability
Assess the cost of the microcontroller, as well as the availability of the components in your region. Ensure that the microcontroller is within your budget and readily available for purchase.
Security and Scalability
Consider the security features provided by the microcontroller, especially if your IoT application deals with sensitive data or operates in a potentially vulnerable environment. Look for features such as encryption support, secure boot, and secure communication protocols.
Evaluate the scalability potential of the microcontroller. Determine if it can accommodate future expansion or additional functionality requirements of your IoT application.
Reliability and Quality
Consider the reputation and reliability of the microcontroller manufacturer. Look for reviews, reliability data, and customer feedback to ensure you choose a trusted and high-quality microcontroller.
Compatibility and Interoperability
If your IoT application requires integration with other devices or platforms, consider the compatibility and interoperability aspects. Check if the microcontroller can communicate seamlessly with other devices, cloud platforms, or protocols relevant to your project.
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Popular Microcontroller For IoT
There are various popular microcotrollers can be chosen from to help you choose best microcontroller for IoT:
The maker and IoT communities rely heavily on Arduino boards. They are renowned for their simplicity and use and provide a variety of boards with varied capacities. A sizable community and a broad ecosystem of sensors and modules that work with Arduino boards exist.
The Raspberry Pi may be used as a microcontroller in Internet of Things applications, despite being essentially a single-board computer. In comparison to conventional microcontrollers, Raspberry Pi boards have higher processing capability and memory, making them suited for more sophisticated Internet of Things applications.
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These microcontrollers are well-known for having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, which makes them perfect for Internet of Things (IoT) applications needing wireless connection. They are often used in applications ranging from industrial IoT to residential automation, and they are frequently programmed using the Arduino IDE.
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A microcontroller created exclusively for Internet of Things applications is the Particle Photon. It has cloud integration, built-in Wi-Fi connection, and a variety of development tools. Particle Photon is well-liked in the construction of IoT devices because of how simple it is to use.
Due to its robust features, comprehensive peripheral support, and wide variety of choices, STMicroelectronics’ STM32 microcontrollers are often used in Internet of Things (IoT) applications. They provide several connection choices and are well-known for their effectiveness and dependability.
Nordic nRF52 Series
Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52 line of microcontrollers are widely utilized in IoT applications, notably in the field of wireless communication. They are renowned for their energy economy and dependable performance and provide Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) capabilities.
A variety of microcontrollers from NXP, including the i.MX RT series and Kinetis series, are appropriate for Internet of Things applications. Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are just a few of the communication choices that these microcontrollers provide. They provide outstanding performance, low power use, and a wide range of IO interfaces.
Silicon Labs Microcontrollers
The EFM32 Gecko series is one of several microcontrollers from Silicon Labs that are appropriate for Internet of Things applications. These microcontrollers provide good energy economy, low power consumption, and a variety of connection choices, including as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee.
|Microcontroller||Connectivity Options||Processing Power||IO Interfaces||Power Consumption||Development Environment||Cost||Ecosystem Support|
|Arduino||Varies based on board||Moderate||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Varies||Arduino IDE, extensive library||Low to Moderate||Strong community support|
|Raspberry Pi||Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth||High||GPIO, USB, HDMI, I2C, SPI, UART||Moderate to High||Raspberry Pi OS, extensive ecosystem||Moderate||Large community support|
|ESP32||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Cellular||Moderate to High||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Low to Moderate||Arduino IDE, ESP-IDF,||Low to Moderate||Strong community support|
|Particle Photon||Wi-Fi||Moderate||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Moderate||Particle Cloud, Particle IDE||Moderate||Extensive cloud platform|
|STM32 Series||Ethernet, USB, CAN, Bluetooth, Zigbee||Low to High||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Low to High||STM32Cube, IDEs like STM32CubeIDE||Varies||Extensive STM32 ecosystem|
|Nordic nRF52 Series||Bluetooth LE||Moderate to High||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Low to Moderate||Nordic SDK, IDEs like Keil,||Varies||Strong community support|
|NXP Microcontrollers||Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee||Low to High||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Varies||MCUXpresso, IDEs like IAR,||Varies||Extensive NXP ecosystem|
|Silicon Labs Microcontrollers||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee||Low to High||GPIO, ADC, UART, I2C, SPI, etc.||Varies||Simplicity Studio,||Varies||Strong community support|
The ESP32 offers balance of processing power, connectivity options, low power consumption, and strong community support, making it a popular choice for IoT projects.
Following closely, while primarily a SBC, Raspberry Pi can be used as a microcontroller in IoT applications that requires higher processing power and a full operating system.
And NXP microcontrollers are known for their reliability, extensive ecosystem, and comprehensive toolchain.
High-performance IoT gateways based on best microcontroller
Based on some of the best microcontrollers for IoT, Dusun IoT has developed powerful IoT gateway for various IoT application.
The DSGW-092 ESP32 gateway can support a variety of protocols, including BLE 5.2, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, LTE Cat1, and wired Ethernet (RJ45). It is frequently used in sensor-to-cloud solutions for monitoring industrial solar panel data loggers and smart home thermometers.
You can modify the Dusun ESP32 Bluetooth WiFi Gateway‘s functionality to meet the needs of your particular project by utilizing the ESP-IDF or other compatible development frameworks. Creating unique communication protocols, putting data processing algorithms into practice, integrating with cloud platforms, and other things fall under this category.
The Dusun DSGW-210 IoT gateway hardware is an off-the-shelf hardware solution with an ARM-based processor (RK3328) that runs pre-built Linux Debian 11. It offers robust edge computing capabilities for local operation (cloud & cloud free) with adjustable memory storage (RAM up to 2GB and eMMC up to 32GB).
DSGW-210 RK3328 IoT Gateway Device’s Rich built-in wireless connection (BLE/Zigbee/Z-Wave/LoRaWAN/Wi-Fi/Matter/Thread/GPS/M-Bus/Sub-GHz) and enough WAN and LAN ports are perfect options for IoT hardware developers to design based on diverse IoT applications such as smart home, building automation, energy management, and more. This gateway is also known as Dusun Pi3, which is an important part of the Dusun Pi series.
After mentioning the Dusun Pi series, I had to bring up the Dusun Pi4, which is a fantastic alternative to the Raspberry Pi 4.
An IoT gateway that supports a variety of protocols, including BLE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, LoRaWAN, Sub-G to Wi-Fi, LTE, and Ethernet, is the DSGW-290 Dusun Pi4. It was first created to satisfy customer demands for a Raspberry Pi 4 alternative that had the same processing capability but offered more wireless protocol options and improved user interfaces. Using strong CPU and storage, local edge computing is made possible.
DSGW-290 Raspberry Pi Zigbee gateway made specifically for IoT gateway hardware developers is the Dusun Pi4. Hardware encryption is supported. Dusun Pi4 is currently being used by an increasing number of developers for IoT applications outside of the industrial sector, including smart homes, agricultural greenhouses, smart cities, building automation, apartment/hospitality electricity monitoring, and any other IoT industrial 4.0 solutions.
NXP i.MX6ULL Gateway
The NXP i.MX6 ULL automative-grade processor is used in the DSGW-081 to guarantee reliable core performance. The DSGW-081 can implement agile connection, real-time data optimization, and intelligent analysis on the IoT edge with up to 8GB of eMMC.
To accommodate a variety of complex use cases, it supports both wireless and wired protocols (BLE/Zigbee/Z-Wave/Wi-Fi/LTE 4G/Ethernet/Modbus/Bacnet/CAN/KNX).
The Dusun DSGW-081 Zigbee Modbus BACnet gateway, which is extensively used in industrial automation, SCADA energy management, predictive maintenance, building automation, and other fields, is a high-performing and adaptable IoT controller, converter, and coordinator hardware that allows users to design applications and install firmware on it.
In addition to the gateways recommended above, Dusun IoT also provides a package of multi-protocol gateways based on a variety of best microcontrollers for IoT. If you have a preferred microcontroller or specific usage scenarios and requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us via the side chat or form.
You can get the latest and most complete gateway list and be served by our professional engineer team.
Best Microcontroller For IoT FAQs
What distinguishes IoT microcontrollers from IoT microprocessors?
While a microcontroller can function without an operating system, a microprocessor needs one to function. A microcontroller contains embedded memory while a microprocessor requires external memory to store data and instructions.
What could be the three most important applications for microcontrollers?
- devices for detecting and manipulating light.
- equipment for monitoring and regulating temperature.
- safety and fire detection equipment.
- instruments used in industry.
- devices for process control.
What is a 32-bit microcontroller crucial?
The term “32-bit microcontroller” denotes a device that can perform arithmetic operations on 32-bit values. The 32-bit microcontroller executes a function in less instruction cycles than an 8-bit microcontroller because of its broader data bus.