I’ve just received an early sample of Radxa E25 dual 2.5 GbE carrier board for Radxa CM3 Plus (RK3568) system-on-module, a 2.5GbE TP-Link switch, and Xiaomi AX6000 WiFi 6 + 2.5GbE router.
Here’s the back story before looking into the devices. I’ll soon have to review UP Xtreme i11 mini PC with a 2.5GbE port, and after writing about the upcoming ROCK5 Model B SBC with both 2.5GbE and WiFI 6/6E, I realized I should really get some hardware to test 2.5GHz and WiFi 6. So I started to ask what could be the best options for a $200 budget. While thinking about it, I remember Radxa was working on the Radxa E23 board with 2.5GbE, and adding a WiFi 6 USB dongle might be an option. But they told me Radxa E25 would be a better option with two 2.5GbE ports and support for WiFi 6, although that one is tricky because AX1800 dissipates 10W.
When I told them my main goal was to get hardware to test 2.5GbE and WiFi 6, Radxa just offered to send the same hardware there were using with the Mi AX3000 router and a 2.5GbE switch. An offer that’s hard to decline, so here we are…
I even got an upgrade with a brand new Xiaomi AX6000 router. I’ll have a look.
Radxa has not published the specifications yet on the wiki, just the schematics (for another board?) and CAD files, but are the preliminary Radxa E25 specs:
- Supported SoM – Radxa CM3 Plus with Rockchip RK3568 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ 2.0 GHz with Arm Mali-G52, up to 8GB RAM, up to 128GB eMMC flash (250MB/s max), optional WiFi and Bluetooth
- Storage – MicroSD card socket, M.2 SATA SSD
- 2x 2.5GbE ports via Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 Gbps Ethernet transceiver (Tested by Radxa at 2.2 to 2.3Gbps with equipment above)
- Optional support for WiFi & Bluetooth via mini PCIe socket
- Optional support for 4G LTE/5G via mini PCIe socket and SIM card slot
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 OTG port, 1x USB Type-C port
- mini PCIe socket with SDIO, PCIe Gen 2.0 x1
- M.2 Key M socket with SATA?
- 10-pin GPIO header with UART, SPI, CAN Bus, I2C, I2S, etc…
- Debugging – 4-pin UART header for serial control
- Misc – Power button, switch to select between USB 3.host and device mode
- Power Supply – 5V via USB-C port
- Dimensions – Approx 72 x 66 mm
Radxa CM3 Plus may sound similar to the Radxa CM3 module, but it comes with a Rockchip RK3568 processor instead of RK3566, and is not compatible with the Raspberry Pi CM4 module, with different dimensions and four board-to-board connectors to allow for the extra I/Os from the processor. My module comes with 2GB LPDDR4 (SKHynix) and 16GB eMMC flash (FORESEE).
Radxa told CNX Software they are still working on the tooling for the heatsink and enclosure, and the board is basically ready, so we may get an official announcement in the next few months.
They envision the following use cases for the board/router:
- USB 3.0 OTG to 2.5GbE network storage
- Portable Wireless Storage with M.2 SATA SSD, mini PCIe AP WiFi card
- Wireless router with 2.5GbE LAN and WAN, plus mini PCIe AP WiFi card
- Firewall through the dual 2.5GbE ports
- 5G edge-to-cloud server when fitted with a mini PCIe 5G card and M.2 SATA SSD
- 4G LTE CPE/gateway with 2.5GbE LAN & WAN, an M.2 4G module, and a mini PCIe WiFi card
They’ve tested WiFi 6 AX1800, but heat dissipation is currently being worked on. Debian and Ubuntu images are currently available for download for Radxa’s RK356x hardware platforms including E25.
The switch I received is TP-Link TL-SH1008 with eight 2.5GbE ports. It ships with a user manual and a 12V/1.5A power adapter.
I had already written about Xiaomi Mi AX6000 WiFI 6 “Enhanced” router about a year ago, and you can find the specifications in that article, so let’s open the package.
The router is neatly packed and ships with a 12V/2A power adapter and a Cat 5e cable.
It looks pretty nice and more importantly, its 2.5GbE port can be used as either a LAN or WAN port.
This will allow me to test WiFi 6 over the 2.5Gbps Ethernet connection, and with up to a 4808 Mbps WiFi 6 link should be able to handle most clients that will come to me for review without saturating the 2.5GbE interface.
I don’t have any hardware with WiFi 6 just yet, so I intend to test 2.5 GbE first, except I don’t have any Ethernet cables around where I am right now, so it will have to wait a bit…
Xiaomi Mi AX6000 router sells for around $130 on sites like Aliexpress, so the complete setup with switch and router is about $250. In future reviews, I’ll probably end up using either Radxa E25 or UP Xtreme i11 connected to MINIX NEO S2 USB-C Dock with a 240GB SSD to test networking performance with iperf and SAMBA. Thanks again to Radxa for providing the hardware!
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.