Banana Pi BPI-R2 Pro 5-port Gigabit Ethernet router board is powered by Rockchip RK3568

Banana Pi BPI-R2 Pro is an update to the Banana Pi BPI R2 router board that replaces MediaTek MT7623A quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with a much more powerful Rockchip RK3568 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor.

The Banana Pi BPI-R2 Pro board looks very similar to the first generation R2 board with the same dimensions, 2GB RAM, HDMI & DSI display interfaces, five Gigabit Ethernet ports, one SATA port, two USB 3.0 ports, and one mPCIe socket, but it also adds one M.2 socket, support for MIPI CSI cameras, and extra storage with a 16GB eMMC flash.

Banana Pi BPI-R2 Pro

Banana Pi BPI-R2 Pro specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3568 quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 processor @ 2.0 GHz with Mali-G52 GPU,  0.8 TOPS NPU
  • System Memory – 2G DDR3 (option for 4GB)
  • Storage – Onboard 16GB eMMC Flash, MicroSD card slot, 1x SATA III port, SPI flash for network boot
  • Networking
    • 5x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports (1x WAN, 4x LAN) using Realtek RTL8367RB-VB-CG switch
    • Optional 5G, 4G LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth via M.2 and/or mPCIe card
  • Display interfaces – 1x HDMI port, 1x MIPI DSI connector, 1x MIPI DSI/LVDS connector (selectable by software)
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI camera connector
  • Video
    • Decode – H.265, H.264 up to 4Kp60fps
    • Encode – H.265, H.264up to 1080p100
  • Audio – I2S header, speaker header, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion
    • 1x mini PCIe socket (PCIe + USB)
    • 1x M.2 Key-E socket (PCIe + USB)
    • 40-pin GPIO header with 28x GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI or PWM, and power signals (+5V, +3.3V, GND).
  • Misc – IR Receiver; Reset, power, and u-boot buttons; LEDs
  • Power Supply  – 5V/3A via DC power jack, 2-pin header, or Micro USB (OTG) port
  • Dimensions – 148 x 100.5mm
  • Weight – 100 grams

The original BPI-R2 router board had a built-in MT6625L wireless module with WiFi and Bluetooth that is missing with BPI-R2 Pro. But that may not be a bad thing, as I had read people had issues with the driver, and the expansion slot provides more flexibility to the users for their preferred wireless module(s) if needed.

Banana Pi BPI-R2 Pro will support OpenWrt and other Linux distributions. The Wiki has limited information at this time, and absolutely nothing about software. The Rockchip RK3568 2.0 GHz processor combines with native PCIe, SATA, and USB 3.0 interface should make moving data around quite faster than with the MediaTek MT7623A SoC, especially for things like VPN. The multimedia capabilities will also be much better with 4K support, and up to three displays. We’ve also seen initial RK3568 support added to the recent Linux 5.14 release, which will be a plus.

At this time, the only illustration we have is a 3D render, but the Banana Pi team says the first samples will be available this week. That means it should take a few more months before it can easily be purchased from Aliexpress or another store. I’d expect pricing to be around $100, as the Banana Pi BPI-R2 board is currently sold for $91 plus shipping.

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30 Comments
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TLS
TLS
19 days ago

This is going to be a crap router, as the SoC features ZERO router features.

TLS
TLS
19 days ago

No, that’s unfortunately not how routers work. It’ll most likely be fine for 802.11n type networks, but once you move to 802.11ac and get a fast internet connection, this thing is simply not going to be able to keep up. The SoC cores would be decent enough for something like a NAS, but this SoC lacks key router features like hardware NAT and Wi-Fi offloading. The Wi-Fi offloading depends on what Wi-Fi modules you use though, as some from Broadcom and I think some more recent ones from MTK has integrated processing that will offload the main SoC, but this… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
19 days ago

> Banana Pi makes sure they optimise their drivers

Are you kidding? 🙂

They do nothing relevant other than copy&paste from somewhere. The predecessor R2 sells since 2017 and hardware NAT barely works there just since recently. And if not some very dedicated individuals (especially Frank Wunderlich) would have done all the real driver work the R2 would still be a paperweight.

TLS
TLS
19 days ago

Yeah, hence the comment, as I’m expecting nothing from them.
I guess you missed the if…

back2future
back2future
19 days ago

If adding related hardware, discussion is about admins’ (server or commercial side?) data handling also?
Studies, statistics and reasoning on that item?
(Did count/guess clicks on one reputable web page once for having all ‘legitimate interest’ options objected, before being optimized to a ‘one button reject’ to that interest: gave up counting above 900 clicks, manually, for that one web page?
Compared to that, few pages show what information is visible to sites.)

Willy
Willy
19 days ago

Well, for me it’s the exact opposite. I am particularly careful to stay away from bogus (and sometimes even insecure) acceleration features. They usually rely on totally crappy drivers and bogus silicon, and you progressively have to disable them one after the other until the point you’re left with the tiny CPU whose size was justified by all the monstrous accelerations available to offload it. I can understand the need for acceleration for very specific workloads involving lots of small packets with stateless protocols but usually that’s pointless or even counter-productive. You were speaking of hardware NAT, but the real… Read more »

TLS
TLS
19 days ago

Uhm, I don’t think you quite understand. It’s not possible to do the speeds we’re hitting with 802.11ax without the built in accelerators, there’s nothing bogus about it. If that’s how you feel, maybe you should stick to wired networking. You clearly have no understanding of how modern routers work. We’re not talking corporate rack size hardware here if you haven’t noticed, there’s no way these SoCs could do what they’re doing without the various co-processors that are being used.

Guillaume Ausset
Guillaume Ausset
19 days ago
  1. Who cares about wifi specific cores on something that doesn’t even have wifi ?
  2. Hardware NAT is trash, it’s just a trick for CPUs that are too weak to route at wire speed (like the mt7621a), once you enable it you lost most of the useful functions of a router, like a proper firewall, QoS etc. Yay.
  3. The CPU here is MORE than enough to route several gigabits purely in software.

This board is trash but not for those reasons.

willy
willy
18 days ago

> It’s not possible to do the speeds we’re hitting with 802.11ax without the built in accelerators, But why ? How many PPS do you need to forward at these speeds ? The dual-core cortex A9 in my clearfog happily forwarded 1 Mpps through the whole kernel stack last time I checked, and had no trouble reaching 1.488 Mpps saturating GigE with the smallest packets when done at lower layers. Here we’re talking about a CPU that has basically the same per-core performance with twice the number of cores so from a software perspective we can expect the double (and… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
18 days ago

> A9 … Here we’re talking about a CPU that has basically the same per-core performance

…at the same clock but the A55 in RK3568 run 20% faster. IIRC you have both VIM3L and ODROID C4 in your lab? Have you done any comparisons between S905X3 (AKA ‘another quad A55 with not that great internal I/O’) and the Armada 38x wrt pps in routing/NAT scenarios?

Willy
Willy
18 days ago

I have a VIM3L and a StationPC-M2 (they finally RMAed it after the linux-based flasher bricked it). However they both have a single GigE port and it’s a crappy dwmac or something of similar level. It’s not bad per-se, it’s just to a NIC what a needle is to a drill. I don’t even remember if it supports SG, TSO nor interrupt mitigation! At least mvneta can do all the basic stuff correctly, even IPv6 checksums and that helps a lot! I’d like to run some measurements but I’m too short of time these days, will do that in a… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
17 days ago

> StationPC-M2 … have a single GigE port and it’s a crappy dwmac or something of similar level

Well, I guess that’s the same thing RK3568 is equipped with twice 😉

TLS
TLS
17 days ago

Except the Marvell Armada chips have network acceleration co-processors that you clearly were unaware of. It’s a chip that was designed to be used in routers and NAS appliances. This general purpose chip from RK was not.
Yes, it has more native processing power, but if that was enough, why would Qualcomm and Broadcom go through the trouble to add these features if they weren’t needed?
This might work ok as a a simple 2×2 router, but I doubt it’ll work well beyond that.
I’ll happily wait for you to get one and report back though.

Willy
Willy
17 days ago

> Except the Marvell Armada chips have network acceleration co-processors that you clearly were unaware of. I am perfectly aware of them (in fact you only have them in some models, those using the mvpp2 driver can for example use the buffer manager and a few other features), I just don’t use them. The old armada chips also used to support using the DMA engine to forward packets. It was slower than when done in software! It would just save CPU cycles, which was convenient on the Feroceon (single core) if you didn’t need performance! No, really, I’m just using… Read more »

Willy
Willy
17 days ago

But regardless of coprocessors and such things, by experience I do *not* expect to get the same network performance from an RK nor AML chip as from a Marvell one. Just because they’re clearly not designed for low-latency communication with their internal high-speed devices, and that their NICs are simply there for connectivity and were not designed to deliver performance. I won’t blame them for this, it’s not their target market.

oWRT
oWRT
19 days ago

I don’t know. Check out the OpenWRT forum. Raspberry Pi 4 and NanoPi R4S are more or less the best ARM-Devices. AFAIK they do not have any router features. Still very fast. Also for CAKE.

TLS
TLS
18 days ago

Except the Marvell Armada chips have network acceleration co-processors that you clearly were unaware of. It’s a chip that was designed to be used in routers and NAS appliances. This general purpose chip from RK was not.
Yes, it has more native processing power, but if that was enough, why would Qualcomm and Broadcom go through the trouble to add these features if they weren’t needed?
This might work ok as a a simple 2×2 router, but I doubt it’ll work well beyond that.
I’ll happily wait for you to get one and report back though.

Salvador
Salvador
14 days ago

Why would a company add something to a product or not doesn’t mean anything as an argument. Anyway. In the sbc world we have tons of people making routers even with CM4s/RPI4s, devices that not even have extensions. This soc can make affordable routers… how much cost an armada or a “propper” open spec router chip? Tons of money. This sbc cost less that many cm4 routers plus carrier boards. They wont compete with your armada bc they have a complete diff price tag.

TLS
TLS
17 days ago

Please ignore my reply, it was meant for Willy above.

tkaiser
tkaiser
19 days ago

> 1x SATA 2.0 port

RK3568 supports SATA 3.0 (6Gbps). I know it’s copied from their ‘wiki’ and as such the fault of SinoVoip’s copy&paste monkey who still just vomits letters and numbers into their wiki instead of doing proper technical documentation but at least here it should be reported correctly.

tkaiser
tkaiser
19 days ago

> 5x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports (1x WAN, 4x LAN) using Realtek RTL8367RB-VB-CG switch

If the rendering’s traces are correct it seems like the WAN port is attached to an own PHY using RK3568’s 2nd GMAC so only the LAN ports should be behind the Realtek switch.

Willy
Willy
19 days ago

It’s also possible they connected it to one of the switch’s RGMII ports. Looking at the switch’s product brief, when in 100 Mbps mode, it only supports half-duplex! That will remind 1995-era duplex trouble to all those who want to connect 100M devices there such as low-end TV boxes.

tkaiser
tkaiser
19 days ago

> It’s also possible they connected it to one of the switch’s RGMII ports.

Well, if they would be interested in cooperation with open source communities they would’ve long released schematics (since they claimed ‘sample will ready next week’ few days ago). But no, they’re even too stupid to provide the datasheet link in their ‘documentation’ for the Realtek switch (same URL as PMIC datasheet link).

Willy
Willy
19 days ago

I think that by now their long history of inexistent cooperation leaves no hope for a short-term change, and their products will remain limited to serving as weights to block doors in draughts 🙂

tkaiser
tkaiser
19 days ago

> Power Supply – 5V/3A via DC power jack, 2-pin header, or Micro USB (OTG) port

That’s copy&paste from their wiki and most probably BS due to the power header next to the SATA port labeled 5V/12V. Maybe the result of SinoVoip letting their copy&paste monkey still do ‘documentation’?

On the R2 page (the copy&paste source for R2 Pro) still is written ‘[email protected] via DC Power’ while it’s 12V in reality. This refusal to provide any correct information/documenation for 6 whole years now is reason enough to never ever touch this Banana crap again.

Mark
Mark
19 days ago

Just wondering, i think RK3568 provides USB3 ports, why no design connects them to Minipcie or M.2 B key ( even behind a hub? ) since 5G is around the corner and most of the modems out there provides USB3

Willy
Willy
19 days ago

Maybe they didn’t know because they didn’t read the doc 🙂

xtf
xtf
11 days ago

Has it HDMI-CEC?

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