Connect your Raspberry Pi Pico CircuitPython project to the internet by adding an AirLift breakout board. The Adafruit AirLift is a breakout board that lets you use the ESP32 as a WiFi co-processor for a Pico.

In this guide, you will wire up a Pico to an AirLift breakout and connect to the internet. Then, you'll learn how to fetch JSON and raw text data from the internet. Finally, an example is included for connecting your Pico to Adafruit IO, the Adafruit internet-of-things service, so you can interact with and visualize your project's data.

Why use AirLift?

Having WiFi managed by a separate chip means your code is simpler, you don't have to cache socket data, or compile in & debug an SSL library. With AirLift, you can send basic but powerful socket-based commands over 8MHz SPI for high speed data transfer. The ESP32 can handle all the heavy lifting of connecting to a WiFi network and transferring data from a site, and using the latest TLS/SSL encryption (it has root certificates pre-burned in).

The firmware on board is a slight variant of the Arduino WiFiNINA core, which works great, and our Adafruit IO Libraries for CircuitPython support AirLift!


Top view of Adafruit AirLift Breakout Board.
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Angle shot of Raspberry Pi Pico RP2040
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1 x USB Cable
USB cable - USB A to Micro-B - 3 foot long
1 x Breadboard
Full sized breadboard
1 x Breadboarding Wires
Breadboarding wire bundle

This guide was first published on Mar 05, 2021. It was last updated on Jun 20, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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