The chip is the CYW43455, which can operate 802.11ac Wi-Fi at 2.4 and 5GHz, as well as simultaneous Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
Prior to this, Raspberry Pi used the firm’s CYW43438 802.11n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo.
“The 802.11ac transmissions enable superior network performance, faster downloads and better range,” claimed Cypress.
Model B+ was designed after speaking with professional users, according to Farnell – which along with RS Components makes and distributes Raspberry Pi boards.
“Achieving reliable wireless connectivity in crowded airwaves is a foremost concern for developers of industrial IoT and smart home systems, which lead us to select Cypress’ 802.11ac combo SoC for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ board,” said Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading. “Our new board democratises high-performance, interoperable and reliable 802.11ac Wi-Fi for use across a huge range of IoT products.”
The new Raspberry Pi has the same 64bit, quad-core processor as the earlier non-plus version, but now clocked at 1.4GHz. It also has the same 1GB RAM, HDMI and four USB ports. Ethernet is now Gigabit, rather than 100Mbit, but limited to 300Mbit/s because it comes over an internal USB2 link. Added is an option to receive power via Power over Ethernet, so long as a special HAT board is added.
As usual, there are the CSI camera connector and a DSI display connector. “The platform’s resources, together with its 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth/BLE wireless connectivity, provide a compact solution for the intelligent edge of connected devices,” said Cypress.
CYW43455 with its dual-band 2.4 and 5GHz radio can operate over 20, 40 and 80MHz channels at up to 433Mbit/s.
According to Cypress, the higher throughput of ac Wi-Fi can be used to get devices on and off of the network more quickly, reducing network congestion – and prolonging battery life by letting devices spend more time in asleep.
The SoC includes Linux open source ‘full media access control’ (FMAC) driver support with enterprise and industrial features enabled, including security, roaming, voice and location. And is supported in Cypress’ Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) software development kit (SDK).