We first found out about Intel CNVi (Connectivity Integration Architecture) for WiFi in a block diagram for Gemini Lake processors in 2017. CNVi integrates a WiFi MAC, Bluetooth MAC, and Baseband Modem into the processor, and connect over a CNVio interface to a separate CRF (Companion RF) module handling the RF part. This allows overall cost & power savings and reduction in size.
AFAIK, all new Intel desktop and mobile processors come with a CNVi block, but somehow only a few SBC’s are made with M.2 slot compliant with CNVi WiFi cards. But Kontron 3.5″-SBC-WLU single board computer powered by an Intel Whiskey Lake processor is one of those and features an M.2 E-key slot that supports Intel Integrated Connectivity (CNVi) WiFi & Bluetooth modules.
Kontron 3.5″-SBC-WLU specifications:
- SoC (one or the other)
- Intel Core i7-8665UE quad-core processor @ up to 4.4 GHz with 8MB cache, Intel UHD Graphics 620; 15 W TDP
- Intel Core i5-8365UE quad-core processor @ up to 4.1 GHz with 6MB cache, Intel UHD Graphics 620; 15 W TDP
- Intel Core i3-8145UE dual-core processor @ up to 3.9 GHz with 4MB cache, Intel UHD Graphics 620; 15 W TDP
- Intel Celeron 4305UE dual-core processor @ up to 2.00 GHz with 2MB cache, Intel UHD Graphics 610; 15 W TDP
- System memory – 2x DDR4 1.2 V SO-DIMM up to 64 GByte (2400 MHz max on Core i models, 2133 MHz on Celeron models)
- Storage – 1x SATA 3.0, M.2 slot for NVNe or SATA SSD (see Expansion section), 256 Mbit SPI Flash for AMI UEFI BIOS
- Video Output / Display I/F
- 1x 24-bit, 2-ch LVDS up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- 2x DP++ up to 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
- Triple independent display support
- Realtek ALC662 audio codec
- 2x Speaker-out (3 W)
- 1x Line-in (by header)
- 1x Line-out (by header)
- 1x Mic-in (by header)
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) via Intel I219-LM, Intel I210-AT
- Optional WiFi & Bluetooth via M.2 CNVi card (see Expansion section)
- Optional 3G/4G LTE M.2 card (see Expansion section)
- USB – 4x USB 3.1 ports, 4x USB 2.0 via internal header
- Serial – 2x RS232/422/485 (header)
- 1x M.2 Key B (Type 2242, mixed w/ PCIe x1 / USB 3.1)
- 1x M.2 Key M (Type 2280 / 2242, mixed w/ PCIe x4 / SATA 3.0)
- 1x M.2 Key E (Type 2230, mixed w/ PCIe x1 / USB 2.0, Intel CNVi support)
- 1x Micro SIM Card Holder (connected to M.2 Key B)
- Security – Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Version 2.0
- Misc – Watchdog, smart fan header
- Power Supply – 12 V DC via 4-pin header
- Dimensions – 146 mm x 105 mm (3.5″ form factor)
- Temperature Range – 0°C ~ 60°C
- Humidity – 0 % ~ 95 %
- Compliance – CE, FCC Class B
The company provides support for Windows 10 and Linux operating systems for the board. Besides improved power efficiency, lower costs, and a smaller form factor made possible by CNVi, Kontron also claimed higher WiFi speeds in the press release:
up to 12 times higher WLAN speed than conventional devices, depending on the model, thanks to the Intel Wireless Access Point, which is integrated in the M.2 Key E slot via the new Intel CNVi interface.
That does not make any sense unless the company simply refers to 802.11ac CNVi modules such as Wireless-AC 9560 CRF Module and compares those to slower 802.11n modules.
Fanless designs are possible thanks to the low power consumption of the board, and target “IoT” applications include retail, banking, hospitality, education, industrial control, and automation.
Kontron 3.5″-SBC-WLU SBC should be available now. You can find more details and/or request a quote on the product page.