WiTi Router Board Powered by Mediatek MT7621A SoC Now Sells for $79

Orange Pi Development Boards

MQmaker launched their WiTi router on Indiegogo in early August, and they raised close to $30,000, enough to go into production. However, some people are understandably wary of crowdfunding campaigns, and likely postponed their decision to see how the project would progress. The good news is that the AC1200 board is now available for $79 + shipping ($9.05 in my case) on Aliexpress.

WiTi_Router_BoardWiTi router specifications have not changed much:

  • Processor – Mediatek MT7621A dual core MIPS 1004Kc processor @ 880Mhz
  • System Memory – 256MB RAM
  • Storage – 16MB SPI NOR flash for firmware, 1x micro SD slot, and 2x SATA 3.0 ports supporting 3.5″ hard drives.
  • Connectivity
    • 2.4 GHz WiFi 802.11b/g/n up to 300Mbps
    • 5 GHz WiFi 802.11a/n/ac up to 867Mbps
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet WAN ports
    • 4x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
    • 2x RF Antenna Connectors
  • USB – 1x USB3.0 port
  • Expansion – 30-pin header including USB, I2S, JTAG, UART, and GPIO signals
  • Debugging – 4-pins serial debug port
  • Misc – RTC battery slot, 1x WPS/GPIO key,  1x reset key, LEDs for power, SATA, WiFi (2x), and LAN (4x)
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 16 x 10 cm

The options for 512MB RAM, and four RF antenna connectors are not available right now. A version with 512MB is however sold on Taobao for 520 CNY (~$81). [Update: The 512MB version also shows for $89 on Aliexpress, for some reasons on mobile website only].

The board will ship with two SATA data & power cables, a serial-to-USB cable, one 2.4GHz antenna, one 5.8 GHz antenna, a 12V/2A power adapter, and an acrylic enclosure. The latter not shown in any pictures but it should probably look like the dual HDD NAS shown in the video below.

Documentation and software support is the most important for development boards, and resources can be found in MQmaker’s documentation page with instructions to build the kernel and make your own image, as well as a tutorial to create the NAS shown in the video above, and links to schematics (PDF) and datasheets and MQmaker’s github account including OpenWrt for WiTi board source code. WiTi board has also been mainlined to OpenWrt, although some more work remains for it to be working as well as the provided firmware.  You can ask questions and get support via the forums.

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vickycq
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vickycq

Waiting for tests on SATA and USB3 performance…

maurer
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maurer

@vickycq
you have some tests here https://mqmaker.com/tutorials/making-your-own-nas-with-witi-board/
about 19MB/s Samba Write Test on SATA RAID 1 (2 disks)

TLS
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TLS

Keep in mind that the performance of drives will depend a lot on the file system used. The default file system in OpenWRT is very slow compared to some third party implementations, although those are rarely free.

opk
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opk

Is interesting that this has connectors for the wifi antennas rather than them being fixed in place. Anyone know how I’d go about putting some larger antenna on to get better wifi coverage in my house? Or would that even work?

TLS
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TLS

@cnxsoft
The problem is that the performance options aren’t open source. Tuxera has some very good stuff, but you’d have to license it for your product and most companies aren’t going to think it’s worth the extra cost. I know Asus uses it some of their high-end routers.

It’s also important to keep in mind that SAMBA seems to be a huge bottle neck using OpenWRT and you’ll see about a 50% jump in performance using FTP. Some of the performance will also depend on the USB 3.0 implementation and I know this specific SoC isn’t the fastest for USB 3.0. I tested a reference board some time ago with MTK’s custom Linux OS and it was peaking out at around 50MB/s, which is still vastly much better than the benchmarks by MQmaker using OpenWRT, so there’s clearly room for improvement. High-end routers today are doing around 90MB/s over SAMBA and it should be possible to push this to the same performance that you get from most consumer NAS appliances, but the router guys are clearly not seeing the business opportunity here.

zoobab
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@TLS
I don’t understand how those “High-end routers today are doing around 90MB/s over SAMBA” have something different compared to the setup here. I mean the first test to do is a simple dd to the device to see how fast the drive can handle a binary copy. And with dd there is no “filesystem” involved in the loop.

zoobab
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Let me add my suspicion regarding gigabit NAT between the LAN and WAN interfaces, most routers I have tested do not handle properly gigabit speeds without some ugly hacks that openwrt devs refuses to integrate because they are too specific and unmaintanable. Last one I tested could barely do 200Mbits with openwrt without resorting to those ugly hacks. I guess by reading this I was right:

https://forum.mqmaker.com/t/hw-nat-development/234/6

TLS
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TLS

@zoobab
http://www.tuxera.com/products/tuxera-ntfs-embedded/ is as I mentioned something that Asus uses on their high-end models. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference it can make, although their stated 1000% improvement is maybe a bit extreme.

SAMBA seems to be something of a bottle neck as well, as it tends to be compiled for the platform and this is clearly not always done properly, so you end up getting 30-40MB/s over USB 3.0 if you’re lucky, even though if you run FTP you can hit 80-90MB/s on the same router.

Of course, if the router hardware is too weak and you can’t even reach decent speeds when plugging in a USB 3.0 drive to the router, then it’s a different problem, but no modern higher-end router should really have this issue today, as they tend to have dual core processors with offload processors that handle a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the networking part.

.jon
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.jon

I’d rather have OmniOS, SmartOS (both Illumos based) or VyOS on this.