ESPGateway: A Powerful ESP32-based Device by ThingPulse

Reporting from Shanghai, China
Jun 29, 2021

Who wouldn’t agree that two ESP32s are better than one?

“Connecting two ESP32 SoCs via a serial connection, attaching an external (Wi-Fi) antenna to each of them, and tucking them away in a pretty enclosure opens up a number of interesting opportunities”. At least this what the ThingPulse team told us, and we couldn’t agree more!

At ThingPulse, Marcel Stör and Dani Eichhorn mostly build products which they want themselves but cannot find on the market. This is how the ESPGateway came to life.


The ESPGateway comes with two ESP32-WROVER-IB modules, each with an IPEX antenna connector. The two ESP32s can communicate with each other over two GPIO lines, e.g. by using a serial protocol. Each ESP32 can display its status by using two WS2812b-3535 addressable RGB LEDs.

You can program the ESP32s over a USB-C plug connected to a CP2104/2 serial-to-UART chip. Depending on the position of a switch at the back of the device, you can choose which of the two ESP32s should be currently connected to the UART chip.

Design principles

The ThingPulse team has described in this blogpost why and how they designed the ESPGateway. Here is just a summary:

  • Two ESP32 modules give you more flexibility for concurrent communication requirements, either Wi-Fi and ESPNow, or Wi-Fi and BLE, etc.
  • The external antennas extend the reach of the gateway, compared to a pure PCB antenna.
  • One UART chip simplifies usage.
  • WS2812B status LEDs allow you to display the gateway status on each of the two ESP32 modules separately.
  • If you have the necessary soldering skills you can extend the ESPGateway with a RN2483 LoRaWAN chip.

Possible Applications

The ESPGateway can be used for a wide range of applications, such as:

  • PAX (person) counter based on beacon signals from smartphones;
  • Wi-Fi Gateway for the ESP-NOW protocol to save energy in battery-powered devices;
  • Bluetooth gateway to communicate with Bluetooth LE devices;
  • LoRaWAN gateway (RN2483 module not included)

To get a detailed description of the above-mentioned application scenarios, you can read the relevant blogpost by ThingPulse here.


For each of the two ESP32s, ThingPulse have made 18 GPIO pins available together with pins for 3V3 and GND. This allows you to extend the device and add your own sensors, displays, actuators etc.

Share this article
Reuse this content