WiFi Shield (ESP8266)

This WiFi "shield" attaches to the top of an Arduino or compatible board (such as the RedBoard in the SparkFun Inventor's Kits we lend). It’s an easy (and cheap!) way to get your Arduino on the Internet! The ESP8266 is a popular, inexpensive WiFi/microcontroller system-on-chip (SoC). Although it can be programmed like any microcontroller, the ESP8266’s popularity was gained as a simple, serially-controlled WiFi gateway. 


Important Notes:

  • Watch that switch! Especially while the Arduino is connected to a computer, make sure that the switch labelled UART is flipped to SW. If it’s on HW, the Arduino, ESP8266, and your computer will all try to talk on the same line.
  • At the current time, this shield will not work on ncsu or ncsu-guest network because of the authentication process new devices must go through to gain access.
  • The shield will work on MakerspaceIOT network in the D.H. Hill Library Makerspace. This SSID has no password, but access is limited to certain websites.
  • How to set up on your own WiFi SSID:
  1. Note: if you don’t have programming experience or have no idea what the terms in these instructions mean, drop by the D.H. Hill Library Makerspace and someone can help you get connected to the MakerspaceIOT to familiarize you with the process.
  2. Start out with one of the example sketches provided in the Arduino library linked below: ESP8266_Shield_Demo is good.
  3. Towards the top of the sketch, change the variable mySSID to your network name, e.g. MakerspaceIOT, and change myPSK to your network password, or “” if you have no password. 
  4. Further down, change destServer to a website to test, say, www.google.com. Also change the value of “Host” in the variable httpRequest to that same website.
    Upload and run the sketch!
  • While it’s theoretically possible for the ESP8266 to handle HTTPS connections, the firmware on these shields does not support this.