Linux Format

Network up, network down

Running Linux leads to full-blown TCP/IP capability.


While modern real-time operating systems such as Amazon FreeRTOS or Microsoft Azure RTOS simplify networking, having access to a full-blown TCP/IP stack and various industry-standard implementa­tions of commonly used protocols is much more comfortabl­e.

Most SBC manufactur­ers are well aware of this and provide their computers with a rich complement of network interfaces. Even the Raspberry Pi, which was hampered initially by the low external bandwidth of the leftover Broadcom SoC Eben Upton recycled from his parent company, has upgraded the interface bandwidth to reach Gigabit Ethernet transfer rates.

In addition, all SBCs except the Rock 5B have a powerful wireless transceive­r module handling both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The competitio­n in this field is relatively mellow; all SBC vendors purchase their wireless modules from the open market, where harsh competitio­n ensures that the feature sets are quite similar.

The tests done for this section are simple: in addition to a list of supported features, we also perform an Iperf test against a workstatio­n connected to a Netgear ProSafe Gigabit Ethernet switch. Finally, we also give additional informatio­n about how the antenna connects to the single-board computer. While a PCB antenna is easier to use at first glance, it can be deceptivel­y awesome in practical use.

This is caused by two reasons: first of all, the gain reached by a PCB antenna usually cannot match the one provided by an external one. Furthermor­e, a PCB antenna is sensitive to attenuatio­n, limiting the places where the single-board computer can be physically placed.

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