Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless is ready for networking action

The Pi Foundation's Raspberry Pi Zero caused quite a stir when it was unveiled in November 2015. The $5 computer has most of the capabilities of the Foundation's Pi Model A, in a much smaller package and for one-fifth of the asking price. The biggest complaint people have had about the Zero since its launch has been the lack of connectivity options, since it had no built-in networking and a single USB OTG port. The freshly-picked Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless adds 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, just like the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Zero Wireless represents the third revision to the Pi Zero board. The second version of the $5 computer added support for the Pi Foundation's popular camera modules. Its lack of networking capabilities led to something of a cottage industry devoted to Pi Zero networking, with solutions ranging from soldering cut-up USB cables, to standard USB Wi-Fi dongles, all the way up to specially-designed USB OTG hubs.

Wireless connectivity on the Zero Wireless is provided by the well-supported Cypress CYW43438 chip. The rest of the Pi Zero hardware remains unchanged, meaning the device is still packing a single-core Broadcom BCM2835 SoC running at 1GHz, and 512MB of system memory.  The physical connectivity options haven't changed. The Zero Wireless still has a a ribbon cable connector for the camera, a microHDMI connector for display output, a microUSB OTG port for devices, and a microUSB connector for power. Forty general purpose input-output (GPIO) pins are available for those with soldering skills.

The Pi Foundation has also launched an official case for all versions of the Zero. The case goes for $5 and includes a conversion cable to wire the Pi camera module to the smaller connector on the camera-enabled Pi Zero boards. There are three options for the layout of the top panel, for users that want a closed top, a small hole for the camera cable, or a larger hole for full GPIO pin access.

The Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless launches today for $10, though supplies appear to be limited. Eben Upton of the Pi Foundation says that 80,000 units have been produced so far, and that the Foundation expects to manufacture about 25,000 additional units per week going forward.

Comments closed
    • willmore
    • 3 years ago

    Looks like the Raspberry Pi foundation is trying to catch up to the C.H.I.P.

      • nico1982
      • 3 years ago

      I don’t understand the reference :\

        • tacitust
        • 3 years ago

        It’s a device from one of the many companies hoping to capitalize on the new form factor that the Raspberry Pi Foundation has popularized. It’s a silly comment really, given the low cost of entry into the market, and the abundance of companies that have jumped in. It would be ridiculous to expect the Raspberry Pi line to always stay ahead of their many imitators, and given their charitable status, it’s not as though it’s their number one priority anyway.

          • nico1982
          • 3 years ago

          Oh, I see, thanks. The only thing that came up in my mind was the CHiPs series 😛

          • willmore
          • 3 years ago

          That’s an inaccurate statement. C.H.I.P. is like many other SBCs there have been around for well longer than the Raspberry Pi.

          The RPI foundation gets credit for more than they deserve.

      • psuedonymous
      • 3 years ago

      The CHIP is a fair bit chunkier, with an outboard (rather than PCB) antenna. The more powerful SoC will also consume more power.
      If you want a device to do on-board processing of data, then the CHIP makes sense. If you just want a wireless datalogger that sends data elsewhere for processing, the Zero W may be the better choice.

    • bthylafh
    • 3 years ago

    Rumor has it that there will be no Pi 4 this year.

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      Liz outright said that. Since she’s the communications director, I think that goes beyond ‘rumor’.

      • TravelMug
      • 3 years ago

      Don’t really see the need for one really, for anything that is out there the Pi 3 is powerful enough. It would be nice to have a model with a SATA port on it so that people wanting desperately to use it as a NAS wouldn’t have the need to be sad anymore, but otherwise it seems fine. There are a ton of other ones with better hardware for same or not much more money, maybe this would give the chance to some of them to spread a bit more and get some market share so that there is continued support for the ecosystem around them. Then we have more choice.

      Loving this new Zero W though, great stuff to have the WiFi and BT built-in, makes for easier setup and neater looks for a lof of projects.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This