The ESP8266 WiFi Module is a self contained SOC with integrated TCP/IP protocol stack that can give any microcontroller access to your WiFi network. The ESP8266 is capable of either hosting an application or offloading all Wi-Fi networking functions from another application processor. Each ESP8266 module comes pre-programmed with an AT command set firmware, meaning, you can simply hook this up to your Arduino device and get about as much WiFi-ability as a WiFi Shield offers (and that’s just out of the box)! The ESP8266 module is an extremely cost effective board with a huge, and ever growing, community.
The ESP8266 Module is not capable of 5-3V logic shifting and will require an external Logic Level Converter. Please do not power it directly from your 5V development board.