IoT operating system for microcontrollers

FreeRTOS is an open source operating system for microcontrollers that makes small, low-power edge devices easy to program, deploy, secure, connect, and manage. FreeRTOS extends the FreeRTOS kernel, a popular open source operating system for microcontrollers, with software libraries that make it easy to securely connect your small, low-power devices to AWS cloud services like AWS IoT Core or to more powerful edge devices running AWS IoT Greengrass.

A microcontroller (MCU) is a single chip containing a simple processor that can be found in many devices, including appliances, sensors, fitness trackers, industrial automation, and automobiles. Many of these small devices could benefit from connecting to the cloud or locally to other devices. For example, smart electricity meters need to connect to the cloud to report on usage, and building security systems need to communicate locally so that a door will unlock when you badge in. Microcontrollers have limited compute power and memory capacity and typically perform simple, functional tasks. Microcontrollers frequently run operating systems that do not have built-in functionality to connect to local networks or the cloud, making IoT applications a challenge. FreeRTOS helps solve this problem by providing both the core operating system (to run the edge device) as well as software libraries that make it easy to securely connect to the cloud (or other edge devices) so you can collect data from them for IoT applications and take action.

To get started, you can select a device from the AWS Partner Device Catalog. Then, you can use the FreeRTOS console to download FreeRTOS for your device or download from GitHub. FreeRTOS is open source and there is no charge to use it. Visit our getting started page to learn more about FreeRTOS.


Extends the FreeRTOS kernel

FreeRTOS is open source and it extends the FreeRTOS kernel, the most popular real-time operating system for microcontrollers. With FreeRTOS, you can take advantage of the large ecosystem of existing tools developed for the FreeRTOS kernel. If you are already using the FreeRTOS kernel on your existing devices, you can choose to use FreeRTOS and take advantage of the functionality provided by the additional libraries, or continue to use just the kernel operating system. 

Easily program, deploy, and manage low-power connected devices

FreeRTOS includes software libraries that make it easy to program commonly needed IoT capabilities into your device, including libraries that help configure devices to a local network using common connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Ethernet, or connect to a mobile device using Bluetooth Low Energy. FreeRTOS also includes an over-the-air (OTA) update feature to remotely update devices with feature enhancements or security patches. 

Secure data and device connections

FreeRTOS comes with libraries to help secure device data and connections, including support for data encryption and key management. FreeRTOS includes support for Transport Layer Security (TLS v1.2) to help your devices connect securely to the cloud. FreeRTOS also has a code signing feature to ensure your device code is not compromised during deployment and OTA updates. 

Connect to the cloud or to a local edge device

FreeRTOS devices can connect directly to cloud services like AWS IoT Core, to a local edge device like an AWS IoT Greengrass device, or to a mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy. By connecting FreeRTOS devices to an IoT Greengrass Core device, you can continue to communicate with the device even if it loses connection to the cloud.

Broad hardware and technology ecosystem

FreeRTOS gives you the flexibility to easily build IoT solutions on a variety of chipsets and supports a variety of architectures. The AWS Partner Device Catalog lists IoT devices that work with AWS IoT. For new devices, you can choose and purchase from a variety of qualified chipsets from the AWS Partner Device Catalog, a curated catalog of AWS enabled hardware from our trusted APN partners.

Integrated high quality tools

AWS IoT Device Tester for FreeRTOS is a test automation tool for microcontrollers. With AWS IoT Device Tester, you can easily perform testing to determine if your device will run FreeRTOS and interoperate with AWS IoT services.

How it works

FreeRTOS provides everything you need to easily program connected microcontroller-based devices and collect data from them for IoT applications. You can get started by choosing a FreeRTOS-qualified microcontroller from the AWS Partner Device Catalog. Then, you can use the FreeRTOS console or GitHub to select the relevant software libraries for your devices and download the complete FreeRTOS operating system, including the device and application specific libraries. Visit our getting started page to learn more about all the options.

Once FreeRTOS is deployed to your devices, you can securely connect them to cloud services like AWS IoT Core, to a local edge device, or to a mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy, and update them remotely using the OTA update feature.

How to use Amazon FreeRTOS

Use cases

Industrial applications

Industrial customers utilize microcontroller-based devices that generate data about business critical workloads. Industrial sensors, actuators, pumps, and components of automation utilize microcontrollers because they are low-cost, low-power, and can perform real-time actions. For instance, a single pump on an oil rig is controlled by a microcontroller and has the potential to completely shut down production if there is a failure. FreeRTOS enables these customers to collect data on system performance and stress through a direct connection to the cloud, and to take critical, local actions in real-time with AWS IoT Greengrass to prevent such disruptive outages.

Consumer products

FreeRTOS can help consumer products companies like appliance, wearable technology, or smart lighting manufacturers standardize microcontroller-based device development, delivery, and maintenance across a wide variety of products and models.FreeRTOS provides a single microcontroller operating system that can support a wide range of microcontroller hardware of varying power and capacity. This lets these companies focus on product innovation instead of managing the complexity of software development across multiple product lines. FreeRTOS also provides the ability to securely update features of existing consumer products in the field with the OTA update feature.

B2B solutions

Microcontrollers are commonly used in B2B commercial devices because of their low-power requirements and low cost. For example, security equipment manufacturers are increasingly adding connectivity to microcontroller-based devices like commercial door locks and sensor systems. FreeRTOS allows these companies to accelerate the release of new connected products by simplifying the design and development process. Development is simplified because the AWS Partner Device Catalog lets you quickly find and purchase FreeRTOS qualified microcontrollers. These manufacturers can also securely apply patches to commercial door locks with the OTA update feature.

Get started with FreeRTOS

Step 1 Sign up for an AWS account

Sign up for an AWS account

Getting started is easy – visit the  FreeRTOS console.
Step 2 Learn with documentation

Learn with documentation

Visit  FreeRTOS documentation for more information.
Step 3 Start building with AWS

Start building with AWS

Learn more about FreeRTOS features.

Learn more about FreeRTOS features

Visit the features page
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