tinyDebian’s NanoPi Neo Air Clone Packs 5GHz Wi-Fi

FriendlyARM’s NanoPi Neo Air is great little development board with similar capabilities to the Raspberry Pi Zero but packs a much faster…

Cabe Atwell
a year ago

FriendlyARM’s NanoPi Neo Air is great little development board with similar capabilities to the Raspberry Pi Zero but packs a much faster processor — an Allwinner H3 vs. the Zero’s Broadcom BCM2835. Considering that the NanoPi Neo Air (along with the original Neo) is open source, it wasn’t long before some software developers took the designs and altered the board to make it faster in the communication department.

tinyDebian’s NanoPi Neo Air clone is purportedly identical to the FriendlyARM version, as their spec sheet links directly to FriendlyARMs Neo Air Wiki page. The only difference between the two boards is their Wi-Fi capabilities — the Neo Air uses a 2.4GHz Ampak AP6212 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 LE module, while the clone sports a dual-band 5GHz Realtek RTL8821CS chip that supports 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 LE.

According to tinyDebian, the developers created the board because “2.4GHz channels are crowded, 5GHz channels are much better. Low-cost boards with 5GHz Wi-Fi are hard to find.” Fair enough, faster is better.

Without supplying any hardware data of their own, it’s safe to assume the clone does include the same features as the Neo Air, which is outfitted with an Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with a Mali-400MP2 GPU, 512Mb of DDR3 RAM, and 8Gb of eMMC storage.

As far as ports and headers, the board is equipped with 1X micro USB OTG port, 2X USB via headers, 1X DVP camera interface, 24-pin header (I2C, 2X UART, SPI, PWM), and a 12-pin header (2X USB, IR pin, SPDIF, I2S). tinyDibian is offering their clone on Tindie for $59, which gets you the board, a dual-band Wi-Fi antenna, and a USB-A to micro USB-B cable.

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