IoT... Got Windows?

October 7, 2014, 8:00 am

By Doug Moore, Systems Engineer

If I may, I would like to start by repeating the first paragraph of a previous blog post by Natalie Sheerer, Marketing Communications Specialist:

“By 2020 the Internet of Things (IoT) will be worth approximately $7 trillion with billions of connected gadgets, devices, and appliances. With such a vast number of devices an increased need for interoperability and standardization of both security and authentication has developed. The Open Interconnected Consortium is a recently founded group made up of Amtel, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, and Samsung, that will attempt to fill this massive void. According to the Consortium, they are focused on ‘… the goal of defining the connectivity requirements and ensuring interoperability of the billions of devices that will make up the emerging internet of things (IoT).’”

Needless to say Microsoft, you know the maker of Windows, wants in on that action!

Microsoft recently caught my attention with their creation of a developer program called Windows Developer Program for IoT. I stumbled upon this program by chance several months after its creation but what intrigued me, my being a Windows Embedded systems engineer for many years, was the thought of running Windows on an IoT device, not Linux, not Android ... Windows. My territory.

I have come to know and love all things Windows Embedded but this program is not based on a Windows Embedded Compact kernel as I expected. One of the benefits of Windows Embedded Compact is that it’s scalable and can have a very small footprint, which is something you need to run on small embedded systems such as an IoT device. However, the program is based on "Big Windows", a spin-off of Windows 8.1. Whether it's Big Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 RT I can't say for sure at this point because Microsoft hasn't made it clear what we're dealing with quite yet. I just know it’s Windows 8.1 “something” and the footprint is fairly small (under 200 MB).

To keep this post short, I'll wrap it up here and include a link to my work in the program thus far.

After looking at the program, I decided it had enough meat for me to take it seriously. I became interested in contributing to their effort with IoT and ultimately seeing if I could get the Laird Mini PCIe radio, the PE15N, running on the Intel Galileo (Gen1) development kit that the program currently supports.

So far I have managed to integrate our Windows 32 bit NDIS 6 radio driver with the OS image Microsoft provided and I have run that image successfully on my Galileo IoT device.

The procedures I followed and the automation I put in place are posted here.

Next up is determining whether Microsoft provided an OS image with enough OS components in it to support our WLAN adapter. Stay tuned!

For support questions, visit the Laird Embedded Wireless Solutions Support Center.

Bottom view of Intel Galileo (Gen1) with Laird PE15N Mini PCIe WLAN radio module installed.

IoT_PE15N Top view of Intel Galileo (Gen1) with Laird PE15N Mini PCIe WLAN radio module installed (underneath).