Cellular gateway board takes up to five 4G mini PCIe cards, one 5G M.2 module, seven SIM cards

One Banana Pi customer asked them to customize Banana Pi BPI-R64 Linux router board based on MediaTek MT7622 WiFi processor as part of their “BPI 4.0 server” OEM/ODM customization service.

Specifically, they were asked to design a cellular gateway board with the same five Gigabit Ethernet ports as on the original board, but adding five mini PCIe sockets and SIM card slots for 3G/4G cards, and one M.2 socket plus two SIM cards for a 5G module. Here’s the result!

Banana Pi “GrassRouter” cellular gateway board specifications:

  • SoC – MediaTek MT7622E dual-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.35GHz
  • System Memory – 1 or 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity
    • Cellular
      • 1x 5G via M.2 Key-B module (USB 3.0 or PCIe bus), 2x SIM card slots.
      • Up to 5x 3G/4G LTE via  mPCIe expansion socket, 5x SIM card slots
    • Ethernet – 5x Gigabit Ethernet ports (4x LAN + 1x WAN)
    • WiFi – Optional 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFI 5 + Bluetooth via mPCIe socket (shared with 1x 3G/4G mPCIe socket) plus WiFi and BT antennas connectors
  • Expansion – 26-pin GPIO header
  • Misc – Reset button, 1x user key
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A DC jack, 2-pin DC header, header for battery

According to a comparison table found on bitswrt, while MediaTek MT7622A and MT7622B processor comes with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, MT7622E does not, so WiFi and/or Bluetooth does require a separate (MT7615) mPCIe module.

The company mentions OpenWrt and Linux support but does not provide any firmware images in the Wiki, at least not yet. GrassRouter board appears to be focused on V2X communication applications such as smart police cars, medical rescue vehicles, engineering and emergency vehicles,  cargo transport and passenger vehicles, high-speed rail, mobile finance, etc…

Banana Pi is offering GrassRouter board on Aliexpress for $750, while a WiFi 5 mini PCIe card from the company goes for $39, and the company recommend 5G M.2 cards from SIMCom or Quectel.

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