Version without wifi

Will there be a BeagleV version without wifi?

There are several motivations:

  • Security: For such a common use as a mini-server, wifi is not only unnecessary but an undesirable addition (securization by reducing the attack surface).
  • Not using non-free software (in the case of using a wifi chip that only works with non-free software).
  • Offer a cheaper version.
  • Other reasons.

Thank you very much.

There are no plans to make a version without WiFi. However, the WiFi can be removed from the device tree board file and the brcmfmac driver will not probe the device.

I don’t get the impression that at $130/$150 that BeagleV is meant to be a super price-sensitive board. There are a lot of components that can be left off for special cases.

I wasn’t exactly in the room (hey, I’m a just a fan…) but I suspect that BeagleV was meant to be a general-purpose board both to accelerate/bootstrap the development of “real” OSes and tools (and that’s working, though it’s just below public eye) and to have a board that’s useful as a general purpose desktop class system, media encoder, chrome box, etc. WiFi is pretty much expected by the mass market.

It’s open source hardware, so if you really wanted a cost optimized board that left off the audio chip or the speaker or HDMI jacks, the GPIO headers (those things cost more than you’d guess…) or wired ethernet or whatever to save a few nickels, that should be possible. If you wanted to put a different WiFi chip on the bus, that should be possible, too…once the SoC is available in quantity from StarFive, of course.

This board, indeed this SoC, really isn’t trying to be that $12.50 RV64G Linux board that was announced by another company. Leaving off parts is WAY easier than putting them on - and getting an entire ecosystem up and using those parts. (Working on that driver on this board is on my list for late next week or so, in fact…)

If security really is your concern, you’re building minimal kernels that don’t contain drivers for any hardware you don’t use anyway.

I second this request for security applications. Couldn’t recommend no wireless connectivity more. Open hardware allows true EBT usage but this gets ad absurdum with wireless connectiivity let alone proprietary drivers for that.