WiFi module for Arietta G25 Linux Board

After some time playing with the Arietta G25 I decided to design a WiFi module for it. This board has a dedicated USB port where a USB-to-WiFi module can be connected. You can buy one from their website, but we are makers, so lets make one.

USB to WiFi pins on Arietta G25 board

USB to WiFi pins on Arietta G25 board

 

First step was to find a USB to WiFi module relatively cheap and with LINUX drivers, after some googling I found the RTL8188CUS module from Realtek. Found out that a similar module is used on a board named WiFiG25 . Also WiFi dongles with this chipset have been used with the Raspberry Pi so I was confident to give it a try.

RTL8188CUS WiFi module from Realtek

RTL8188CUS WiFi module from Realtek

I found some modules at a reasonable price and then was time to design a breakout board for them. The schematic is very simple for making it I just have created a new part for Eagle for the WiFi module.

schematic

After sending the gerber files to my trusted PCB fabricator I received these on a Saturday mail. The PCB has few components, the WiFi module a capacitor, a ceramic antenna and a U.FL connector for an external antenna.

PCB breakout for RTL8188CUS WiFi Module

PCB breakout for RTL8188CUS WiFi Module

After some soldering the module is ready to go on the Arietta board and some kernel building has to be done.

IMG_0025.v01pcb

After dealing with the compilation and configuration, the Arrieta G25 board has now WiFi conectivity. Here you can see the screenshots of the console showing the WiFi Network up and running also a small measurement about the signal quality using the ceramic antenna vs. the external antenna.

 

ifconfig command

ifconfig command

 

ping to google.com

ping to google.com

signal level

The first level 58/100 is the signal strength with the ceramic antenna and the second one 86/100 is the strength when the external antenna is connected.

Update: The full instructions how to compile the kernel to get the drivers working can be found on this tutorial.

Your comments and questions are always welcomed.

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