BeagleBone Black Wireless speeds development


Which is a good reason to highlight some developments around the BeagleBone Black single-board computer: there’s a new version and two new Capes from the BeagleBone team.

As well as as the BeagleBone Black Wireless (below), there are also two new ‘cape’ add-on boards for the existing BeagleBone Black.

element14 wireless Cape

BeagleBone Black Wireless

First of all the BeagleBone Black Wireless, which is basically a BeagleBone Black with on-board 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s following in the path of the Raspberry Pi 3 by building in Wi-Fi support to simplify wireless comms.

It’s engine is the Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8

“Just like the BeagleBone Black, the wireless retains HDMI output, serial debug port, PC USB interface, USB 2.0 host, reset and power buttons, and adds two more status LEDs for WiFi and Bluetooth,” writes

“Also retained is the 4GB of onboard eMMC memory with Debian Linux preinstalled, allowing the BeagleBone Wireless to boot in around 10 seconds and have you developing through your web browser in less than 5 minutes using just a single USB cable.”

You can see the details of the board by expanding the graphic above, and a data sheet is online.

Note that it marks the introduction of the Octavo OSD3358 SiP, integrating BeagleBone functionality into one BGA package.

Given that we are talking about credt card-sizes peices of kit, room has to be made for new features. It means this particular BeagleBone has lost its 10/100 Ethernet port, making room for a TI WL1835 WiLink wireless interface.

The full specification is:

• AM335x 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8
• SGX530 graphics accelerator
• NEON floating-point accelerator
• 2x PRU 32-bit 200MHzmicrocontrollers

• WiLink 1835 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz WiFi, Bluetooth, and Bluetooth Smart Module
• USB client: power, debug and device
• USB host
• Micro HDMI output
• 2x 46 pin headers

• 512MB DDR3 800MHZ RAM
• 4GB Embedded eMMC Flash with Debian Distribution
• microSD Card Slot

Software Compatibility
• Debian
• Android
• Ubuntu
• Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library

Not forgetting the the two new capes…

Wireless Cape

Note that the new Wireless Cape takes BeagleBone Black beyond the capabilities of BeagleBone Black Wireless, points out Steve Bush in his news piece on the release. It is based on Texas Instruments WiLink 8 (WL1837) industrial dual‑band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart (aka Bluetooth LE), which also has Zigbee and NFC.

The cape comes Debian Linux pre-installed and 4Gbyte of onboard eMMC memory. “Designers can be developing using their web browser in less than 5 minutes using just one USB cable,” said Farnell.

Display cape

Note there’s also a Display cape available too. It has connections for a 4.3 inch colour touchscreen an LED backlight and capacitive overlay “for a smartphone-like interface”.

The cape is aimed at interactive projects, embedded systems and standalone installations.


Pricing is around £55 for the BeagleBone Black Wireless, £35 for the display cape and £44 for the wireless cape.

You can see the availability and pricing for the board via our EW Compare tool »


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