By Eric Brown
Gateworks’ headless “Ventana GW5910” SBC runs OpenWrt or Ubuntu on a dual-core i.MX6 and provides GbE with PoE, WiFi/BT, optional GPS, Sub-1 GHz, and 2.4 GHz radios, and dual mini-PCIe slots for further wireless expansion.
Freescale’s i.MX6 was ahead of its time when it launched in 2011, and in the NXP era it it has continued to hold on in the embedded Linux market far longer and with greater dominance than any other processor. It’s only a matter of time before i.MX6-focused embedded vendors like Gateworks move on to the i.MX8 or other SoCs, but in the meantime there’s something to be said for working with a consistent SoC and platform/software platform rather than starting from scratch every few years.
Gateworks has just added to its i.MX6 collection by posting a product page for a new member of its Linux-supported, i.MX6-driven Ventana SBC family. Like other Ventana boards, the headless, wireless-oriented Ventana GW5910 supports -40 to 85°C temperatures.
Ventana GW5910 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)
The Ventana GW5910 has the same 100 x 70mm form factor as the Ventana GW5220. Other Ventana boards include the 140 x 100mm Ventana GW5400, 100 x 35mm Ventana GW5530, and 70 x 35mm Ventana GW5510. The complete family of Ventana boards are compared here.
This is the first Ventana board to offer built-in WiFi/BT, via a Laird Sterling module with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 LE. There’s also an optional Ti CC1352P module with dual-band sub-1GHz and 2.4GHz RF support, enabling 802.15.4g wireless protocols like 6LoWPAN, Thread, and Zigbee. There’s also an option for a u-blox ZOE-M8 GNSS Receiver.
Like the Ventana GW5530, the Ventana GW5910 offers mini-PCIe expansion, and this time there are two slots instead of one. One of them supports mSATA storage and the other is accompanied by a nano-SIM slot with LTE support.
The 802.15.4g and GPS modules do not use the mini-PCIe slots, so you could conceivably have five different wireless technologies onboard at once, as well as a GbE port with both passive and active 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet support.
Like most of the Ventana boards, the GW5910 uses the dual Cortex-A9 version of NXP’s i.MX6. The board defaults to an OpenWrt BSP with U-Boot, and there’s also an Ubuntu BSP available. It lacks the Yocto, Debian, and Android support found on the other boards.
Ventana GW5910 detail views
(click images to enlarge)
The Ventana GW5910 ships with the usual 512MB DDR3 and 256MB flash, but you can bump those up to 2GB for volume customization orders. There’s also a microSD slot and connectors for 2x serial, SPI, and DIO. There are no USB or display ports, but you get JTAG, an accelerometer, an RTC with battery, an 8-60VDC input, and the Gateworks System Controller.
The Gateworks boards are extensively documented for both software and hardware. However, as noted in the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the GW5910, the software wiki has yet to post details specific to the SBC.
Specifications listed for the Ventana GW5910 SBC include:
- Processor — NXP i.MX6 Dual (2x ARM Cortex-A9 cores @ 800MHz); Vivante GPU
- 512MB DDR3-800 RAM (up to 2GB with volume customization)
- 256MB flash (up to 2GB with volume customization)
- MicroSD slot
- Gigabit Ethernet port with Passive or 802.3af (36-60VDC) PoE
- 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 LE (Laird Sterling) with ant. connector
- Optional Ti CC1352P module with dual-band sub-1GHz (+20dBm TX Power) and 2.4GHz RF, supporting 802.15.4g protocols like 6LoWPAN, Thread, Zigbee, Wi-Sun, BLE 5
- Optional u-blox ZOE-M8 GNSS Receiver with GPS/Galileo/GLONASS/BeiDou (72-ch., -167dBm)
- Other I/O:
- 2x serial interfaces
- DIO and SPI connectors
- JTAG interface
- 2x mini-PCIe Gen 2 slots (1x with PCIe/USB 2.0 and mSATA, 1x USB 2.0) with 16W power
- Nano-SIM slot with LTE and CATM1 support
- Other features:
- 3-axis accelerometer/magnetometer
- Gateworks System Controller with watchdog, etc.
- RTC with coin cell battery holder
- Optional dev kit with PoE injector, power adapter, JTAG-USB programmer, pre-loaded BSP, and Ventana Wire Terminal Breakout Adapter
- Power — 8-60VDC; 3W (0.125A@24VDC) typical consumption; reverse voltage and transient protection
- Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C; humidity resistance (20% to 90% non-condensing)
- Dimensions — 100 x 70 x 21mm
- Operating system — OpenWrt and Ubuntu BSPs with U-boot
The Ventana GW5910 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found on Gateworks’ Ventana GW5910 product page.
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