Wireless Chipset

What is the wireless chipset used in the Pocket P.C.?

Thank you.

Our initial choice is the Realtek RTL8723DS module which is 11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.
We chose it because we are very familiar with the drivers for this chipset.

We are considering the AP6256 module which has a Broadcom chipset and is capable of 11ac + Bluetooth V5.0. More testing will have to be completed before we choose this module for final production. Since this chipset operates in the 5GHz band this introduces more regulatory hurdles in terms of testing required before we ship the product. This may introduce an additional delay in shipment of the initial batch which we will be unacceptable.

More likely than not, we will be choosing the RTL8723DS module for mass production. We’ll keep everyone posted of our decision in one of our monthly updates as we get closer to mass production.


Is this chipset capable of packet injections?

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I would kindly suggest you ensure the chipset you choose has patched drivers available, if it isnt too late. A great resource for this is https://www.aircrack-ng.org/doku.php?id=compatible_cards The support offered for monitor mode would mean a great deal to networking professionals and pentesters, increasing the marketability of the pocket p.c. by a good margin. As it stands the pocket pc will be hardware-identical to the pinephone. While this does mean there will be some crossover on development breakthroughs (good) there won’t be much keeping people from just buying a pinephone for 50-150 less than the pocket instead (bad). The pinephone targets the market seeking a daily driver, while the pocket fits the needs of i.t. professionals, developers, and hackers who favor a hardware keyboard. You’d be sweetening the pot so to speak for your entire target audience by ensuring that access to low-level wifi protocols and raw packet interaction come out of the box, without too much on your end.
I’ve been working in the development community on the pinephone since the first dev editions shipped, and i assure you, getting usb host functionality on the allwinner a64 is still a long way away. (We’ve all tried) so a usb wifi adapter is probably not going to be a viable alternative for a long, long time. And let me tell ya, if you can’t sniff packets with it when it ships, you’ll end up with a bunch of people who’ll feel they got burnt by a product marketed as a tool for the people i mentioned, when in reality it won’t serve their needs at all.

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Hi @Idle

Thanks for your suggestion. Technically, the RTL8723DS chipset has support for monitor mode. This will soon be tested and validated by us soon. Also, one of the advantages of using the SOM package we chose is that it is possible to swap out for a different chipset before production if we find that the RTL8723DS doesn’t meet our needs.

Note: The PinePhone uses the RTL8723CS chipset which is different from the RTL8723DS we use on Pocket P.C. currently.

I’m a little confused by your comment about USB host functionality. Perhaps you mean OTG functionality?
The A64 SoC has two USB peripherals, a USB0 - device/OTG port and USB1 - host port. USB1 on Pocket P.C. is connected to a USB Hub which connects to the left two USB ports. We tested USB devices on this port and they work fine. Also, on the Pinephone USB1 is connected to the 4G modem. If this host port didn’t work then people wouldn’t be able to use the 4G modem.

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Firstly, i feel quite honored to get a direct reply from a member of your team. I’m glad to be backing (in a small, one pocket p.c. part) a project that is being so openly developed and addresses the concerns of it’s community so readily like you guys do.
While doing some more homework about why no one has gotten any further with usb-otg (a protocol i admittedly need to study further) on pinephone, its because there is a usb-c controller sitting between the SOC and external port, a driver for which that enables otg communication (for the particular ic they chose) does not yet exist. So as far as braveheart pinephones go, its still dead in the water. But that rules it out as an immediate problem for your team, as it isnt a limitation imposed by the A64 at all. (Sigh of relief).
The wnic on the pinephone is (in my hours of compiling every potential driver for archARM i could find)… not the most well supported, at least as of writing. So it’s absolutely awesome that you’re putting in the work hours to ensure monitor mode is possible for the end user. Network admins will rejoice knowing they can play diablo on lunch and figure out who’s printer is spamming malformed packets across the air afterwards on the same cool handheld device.
Furthermore, to capitalize on the fact that pinephone’s 4g modem sits on usb1, with all the software needed for interfacing it nicely with the A64 already floating around, it shouldn’t be much of a hassel for the community to get 4g connectivity spun up for the pocket p.c. in the future
Lastly, thank you to your team for the contributions your are making toward affordable linux handhelds for all.