I was wondering if the built-in Wi-Fi supports 5 GHz networks?

Will it need an external antenna to be attached to work properly?

  • I'm afraid there is no external antenna connector. – EDP Feb 29 '16 at 17:37
  • 1
    I'm guess from the info in this question that it may only support 2.4GHz – Wilf Mar 3 '16 at 12:17
up vote 30 down vote accepted

The network module is a a BCM43438. I'm having trouble finding a source I fully trust, but from a cursory view, it looks like it only supports 2.4 GHz. Since the Raspberry Pi foundation doesn't specify, it'd be normal to assume a lack of 5 GHz.

An image on raspi.tv displays a very compact antenna. Reception with the default antenna may not be stellar, but we won't really know until it starts getting into reviewers' hands.

Image of the wireless module

Image of the antenna

Edit:

As @EDP has pointed out, there appears to be only one Wi-Fi antenna. This further implies that there is only support for 2.4 GHz.

  • In this picture the antenna is on the opposite side right next to the chip. This used to be where the LED's of the Pi2 where. It seems to be a small module, and not a simple thread on the PCB like most manufacturers do for integrated antennas. – EDP Feb 29 '16 at 17:40
  • @EDP: whoops, forgot the second picture... Hope that makes it more clear. – Jacobm001 Feb 29 '16 at 17:42
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    I have an RPI3 loaded with Raspbian, it can only do 2.4GHz – nos Mar 1 '16 at 19:51
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    The Ingenic Newton2 also uses the BCM43438 chip, and its features state: 'Single-band 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/n'. – goobering Mar 4 '16 at 13:39
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    The BCM43438 datasheet confirms that "The chip includes a 2.4 GHz WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n MAC/baseband/radio": cypress.com/file/298076/download – Arto Bendiken Jul 10 '16 at 23:01

You can run:

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan

... which should show you all broadcasting Wifi channels.

You'll notice all frequencies are in the 2.4 GHz range. For 5 GHz, you'd need a 5ghz USB adapter and compatible wifi router.

Hope that helps!

  • 1
    if iwlist command not found: apt-get install wireless-tools – Halil Kaskavalci Mar 25 at 19:02

According to this article (I'm sorry it's in German) the new Raspberry Pi only supports the 2.4 GHz WiFi network.

edited based on comments

The Pi3 uses a BCM43438 wireless “combo” chip. Broadcom doesn't have a product page (that I could find). But, it appears be in the same family of chips as the BCM4334:

https://www.broadcom.com/products/Wireless-LAN/802.11-Wireless-LAN-Solutions/BCM4334

Since, that is an older chip in the same family that supports both 2.5 and 5 GHz, it seems like it was probably at least an available option for the Pi3 designers. Guess, we'll have to get our hands on one to know for sure.

The antenna is built into the board, and the chip likely has a pin for it. According to the product release, "... the only change is to the position of the LEDs, which have moved to the other side of the SD card socket to make room for the antenna."

  • 1
    You linked to the wrong chip. – Jacobm001 Mar 1 '16 at 19:41
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    I saw exactly the same link used by Makezine the other day. I don't think the chip you're linking to (the BCM4334) is the same as the one used on the Pi (the BCM43438). – goobering Mar 1 '16 at 19:42
  • My bad! The one I linked to is the 4334 not the 43438. It is still a BCM or Broadcom chip though, and the one I linked to is possibly an ancestor of the one on the Pi3, since their numbers are closely sequenced. This wiki doesn't seem to have the full specs, but does list the chip generations. wikidevi.com/wiki/Broadcom – evlrbot Mar 1 '16 at 20:51
  • The search tool on the Broadcom website is rubbish. A supplier's website mustn't blatantly - and without warning - show the 4334 chip when searching for a 4343 chip. – EDP Mar 2 '16 at 4:15

Mine shows my 2.4 but not my 5.0 wireless, so I'm going to say it doesn't support 5.0 as shipped.

  • Whilst you have answered the question, it might be nice if you answered the second part of the question and also include some relevant detail. – Darth Vader Oct 16 '16 at 14:13
  • This is as much as I know, I looked at the Wifi signals available and my 5.0 didn't show. – Philip C Roberts Oct 16 '16 at 21:08

No, I've read it's 2.4 GHz only.

Based on the FCC documents, it looks like the new Raspberry Pi 3 does support Bluetooth and WiFi, but it only seems to support 2.4 GHz networks, not 5 GHz. http://liliputing.com/2016/02/raspberry-pi-3-to-feature-on-board-wifi-bluetooth.html

No, I've read it has a "chip antenna".

The radio is connected to a small surface mount ceramic antenna. http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/raspberry-pi-3-is-here-but-is-it-a-worthy-successor/

  • 3
    How do you know it's 2.4 GHz only? – Jacobm001 Feb 29 '16 at 17:37
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    According to the adafruit screencast there would be a fourth line in the FCC test certification. So your answer is corrrect, but without any proof. – Steve Robillard Feb 29 '16 at 22:52
  • If you could expand your answer by providing the links to where you have read these facts, and a quote or a brief synopsis, that would improve your answer significantly. – Greenonline Mar 1 '16 at 19:53

FYI the Raspberry Pi 3B+ does support 5GHz - you can see the available Frequencies using this command:

iw list

To set up an Access Point using hostapd you need to set the following in the hostapd.conf file (the channel can vary between 34-165 - see output from iw list):

hw_mode=a
channel=36

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