Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


Bring openwifi to PYNQ-Z1 with ultra low cost

Both software-defined radio and FPGA are interesting. Especially, the combination of AD936X RF transceiver and ZYNQ 7020 level FPGA SoC is capable of running openwifi. Price has been keeping average DIYers away from this kind of platform as evaluation boards from ADI and Xilinx are both extremely expensive. Cheaper ones like ANTSDR exist, but seems all of them have tied the RF and ZYNQ chip together, so these are not suitable for generic ZYNQ development anymore.

In this talk, I want to introduce an openwifi capable low-cost AD936X extension board design and realization for the wildly available PYNQ-Z1 board by Digilent. This provides openwifi and PlutoSDR functionalities meanwhile keeping the major if not all functions of PYNQ-Z1 intact, with summed price potentially lower than all currently available openwifi capable platforms. Similar designs may also be applicable to other ZYNQ boards like ZYBO Z7-20 or Arty Z7-20, thus these could make openwifi available to much more people, especially those who already have a ZYNQ board. Besides this extension board, I'll also touch on tools and workflows for "modern" circuit board DIY, which enabled me to build this 4-layer board with BGA chip comfortably at home.

For more about openwifi, please visit the Free Software Radio devroom for "Opensource WiFi chip (openwifi) progress and future plan" on Sunday afternoon.


Yimin Gu