At the May CamJam, Jamie from The Pi Hut handed me a couple of his Raspberry Pi Wifi dongles for testing. I did some measurements a week or two later on a Raspberry Pi model B and sent them to Jamie. But I thought it would be fun to repeat this now with the new B+ and show all the results together.
I’m doing a comparison test against the Edimax EW-7811Un which is my current ‘Go To wifi dongle’.
Differences & Similarities?
The Edimax is very slightly smaller. Both have blue LED activity indicators. The Edimax uses a Realtek chipset and the PiHut dongle uses a Ralink chipset.
The cheapest Amazon/ebay deal I could find on the Edimax was £7.45
The PiHut dongle is currently on sale for £5.
£2.45 is quite a lot less in percentage terms. This may not make a massive difference if you only want one, but if you want 20 for a class-room or a Jam, it’ll soon add up.
I measured the power consumption of both model B and B+ with both dongles (and without) while:
- idling at the command line interface
- starting LXDE (startx)
- loading the Raspberry Pi web site in Midori
The model B tests were powered with my bench PSU. The B+ tests were with a 5.2V/2A mains PSU. Measurements were done with my Emeter.
With a model B, the Edimax uses 60mA and the PiHut uses 100mA
With the B+, Edimax uses 40mA and the PiHut uses 80mA
(These figures are derived from ‘with dongle – no dongle’ values).
Loading the RPi Website
With a model B, the Edimax uses 90mA and the PiHut uses 110mA
With the B+, Edimax uses 70mA and the PiHut uses 80mA
(These figures derived from ‘loading Pi site – opening LXDE with no dongle’).
Under heavy use, there’s only 10-20mA between them, but at idle the Edimax uses 40 mA less current.
Both are good and work well. Both are supported in the default Raspbian kernel and will work ‘out of the box’.
There’s not much between them to be honest. If you really need to save 40 mA, e.g. in a battery powered system, by all means use the Edimax. But if you prefer the less expensive model, choose the PiHut dongle.