OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY is an upcoming router board developed by OpenWrt and Banana Pi

OpenWrt developers have started the process to develop the “OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY” router board based on MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) SoC and MediaTek MT7976C dual-band WiFi 6 chipset, and designed in collaboration with Banana Pi that will also handle manufacturing and distribution of the router board.

As of the OpenWrt 23.05 release, close to 1,800 routers and other devices are officially supported by the lightweight embedded Linux operating system, and many more claim to be running OpenWrt through a fork of the OS. But none of those are made by OpenWrt developers who have now decided to create their own router board in collaboration with Banana Pi since they’ve done such boards including the BPI-R4 WiFi 7 router SBC.

OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY
For illustration only, not a rendering of the OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY board

OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) dual-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.3 GHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR4
  • Storage
    • 128 MB SPI NAND flash for U-boot and Linux
    • 4 MB SPI NOR flash for write-protected (by default) recovery bootloader (reflashing can be enabled with a jumper)
    • Two types of flash devices are used to make the board almost unbrickable
    • M.2 2042 socket for NVMe SSD (PCIe gen 2 x1) – Note: work-in-progress patch to make PCIe work inside the U-Boot bootloader to allow booting Linux distributions such as Debian and Alpine from the SSD.
  • Networking
    • 2.5GbE RJ45 port
    • Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port
    • Dual-band WiFI 6 via MediaTek MT7976C (2×2 2.4 GHz + 3×3/2×2 + zero-wait DFS 5Ghz)
    • 3x MMCX antenna connectors
  • USB
    • 1x USB 2.0 Type-A host port
    • USB Type-C (device, console) port using Holtek HT42B534-2 UART to USB chip
  • Expansion – MikroBUS socket for expansion modules
  • Debugging – Console via USB-C port, 10-pin JTAG/SWD header for main SoC
  • Misc
    • Reset and User buttons
    • Boot select switch: NAND (regular) or NOR (recovery)
    • 2x PWM LEDs, 2x Ethernet LED (GPIO driven)
    • EM6324 External hardware watchdog
    • NXP PCF8563TS (I2C) RTC with battery backup holder for CR1220 coin-cell
  • Power Supply
    • 12V USB-PD on USB-C port
    • Optional 802.3at/af PoE via RT5040 module
  • Dimensions – 148 x 100.5 mm compatible with Banana Pi BPI-R4 case design
  • Certifications – FCC/EC/RoHS compliance

The router’s specifications have been selected with the goal of keeping the price under $100, and that’s why we have interfaces such as USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0 since there aren’t any spare ones in the Filogic 820 SoC. The schematics will be publicly available under an open-source license which has not been determined just yet, and as you might expect GPL compliance will be respected with “a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code”.

OpenWrt developers selected Banana Pi because their existing boards have features closely matching what they’ve been wanting for several years, the company has become more popular with the OpenWrt community in recent years, and a lot of features are already supported in upstream/mainline U-Boot and Linux. The non-open-source components include the 2.5GbE PHY and WiFi firmware with blobs running on separate cores that are independent of the main SoC where OpenWrt is running. The DRAM calibration routines are closed-source binaries as well.

The OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY router should provide a source of income for the project, for example, to cover the cost of hosting and OpenWrt conferences, with Banana Pi selling the board through their distribution network, and for every device sold, donating to the Software Freedom Conservancy (SDC) with the funds earmarked for OpenWrt. The OpenWrt router board should be launched in 2024, but there’s no ETA for the project. More details may be found in the announcement.

Via Liliputing

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41 Replies to “OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY is an upcoming router board developed by OpenWrt and Banana Pi”

  1. I’m guessing the board pictured isn’t the one being discussed – as there’s no mention in the tech specs about the 2 SFP/SFP+ slots pictured, and the specs list 2 Ethernet ports, not the 4 on the board pictured? Or have I misunderstood?

    1. That’s why I cartoonized the image of the board and included a caption underneath reading:

      For illustration only, not a rendering of the OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY board

      1. I got confused as well, most likely the caption is not really sufficient here, in part due to the prominent OpenWRT logo on the image.

      2. Yep – now you’ve pointed it out I can see it. Looked at it three times and didn’t instantly register it. I think the OpenWRT logo over the board made me think the image had been released by them

  2. Strange choice if you ask me, the Banana’s have certainly not being known for openness and contributing to open source, but lets hope this might change it.

      1. but still i don’t get happy reading:

        The non-open-source components include the 2.5GbE PHY and WiFi firmware with blobs running on separate cores.

        A top open source project like openwrt should only endorse true open source hardware whitout chinese blobs.

        1. Well, you either have working up-to-date hardware but with blobs or outdated or barely working hardware without blobs 🙁

          OpenWrt team have chosen the active up-to-date platform which sucks less and doesn’t cost a bunch.

          1. from a guy that develop gateways I can confirm you that there is a better choices like the GLinet for example as they are more opensourced than the BPI

          2. GLinet have closed source routers, this is very dissapointing. They release few very high spec ones and there are no mainline Openwrt for them.

          3. Could you clarify which specific source you’re referencing? To the best of my knowledge, their Qualcomm BSP is open source. if you asked me, even if GLinet is unable to offer a Qualcomm-based router for under $100, it’s still a preferable option compared to relying on Banana Pi for such tasks, it’s not underestimation I’m just against having a single focused target idea in the first place!

        2. WiFi/BT/EthPHY FW are all confisential for chip vendors, including BRCM/QCA/MTK/RTK/MxL, and only release binary file.

        3. MTK is not a xinese company, they’re from Taiwan thankyouverymuch. They would also be the ones making the firmware for said chips that they don’t want their xinese competitors to steal. You are clearly clueless about how the industry works.

  3. A dual core A53 is a bit weak. Like sticking 2.5GbE on it, but without enough processing power to route it at reasonable speeds.

    1. It’s sufficient, but I agree it offers limited margin. My old Mirabox (armada 370) with a single armv7 core at 1.2 GHz could already route 2 Gbps. Here we roughly have that with two A53 cores, but the difference will lie in the driver and network chip type. Armada 370’s mvneta was quite efficient and did support checksum offloading, and software LRO, GSO and TSO. Let’s hope scatter-gather and GSO are supported by the network chip here, otherwise it can become difficult.

    2. Good thing MTK have equipped it with a offload engine as well then, so you don’t have to worry about using up the main application cores for things like that.

      1. Yes, the MT7981 supports LAN/WAN to WiFi hardware offload for transferring packets without interrupting the CPU, and it also has hardware support for LRO, TSO, and RSS in the software slow path.

  4. commendable, but the BPI-R4 has much better hardware for only $100.

    So why not that? It already runs openwrt…

    1. The BPI-R4 is a platform that comes without WiFi, whereas the OpenWRT One is a platform equipped with AX3000 capability.

  5. I think we must value the great unity and willingness to generate such a large and collaborative project that will also help maintain an opensource project like OpenWrt. I’m glad and would buy one just to help the cause.

  6. Mediatek makes it a dead product from the start. They will never open their bootloader nor run mainline.

    So you might have a fixed kernel version, which will never get security updates.

    1. ???
      It’s all open source and mainline for this platform, except the Wi-Fi firmware blob. That’s why OpenWrt team has chosen this platform, because it’s generally reliable and almost fully open.

  7. Why are they doing this? Their board as described has no unique features and offers nothing of value. It’s no better than a bog standard wifi 6 router from China, or a BPI-R4. What do they hope to gain from putting yet another boring router board on the market?

    1. They’re making The OpenWrt router: the router which supports OpenWrt best. Think of it as a reference board for the project.

      1. Which is a truly bad idea unless if they have multiple references to consider, because this approach means that the official dev converge to support a target more over others and all other target will not get the same focus as the official board which is bad, openwrt id more than a fun opensource project many big companies like Nokia are based they firmware support in top of openwrt

  8. This is great news for me as a consumer. My WRT1900ACS is quite old at this point and I’m sure I could get better WiFi performance from something newer but what to pick? The openwrt supported hardware list is long and it’s not immediately obvious which systems are better than others either in performance or support.

    An openwrt official device would go to the top of my shortlist for support reasons.

  9. “03.12 – initial idea
    06.12 – ping pepe2k, dangole, nbd
    07.12 – ping MediaTek and ask if this sounds doable
    08.12 – ping jow, Hauke
    08.12 – request for call with SFC, we want them involved as soon as possible
    09.12 – MediaTek replies and says they can help
    09.12 – ping apacar, ynezz, dwmm2, lynxis, rsalvaterra
    12.12 – MediaTek spoke with Banana Pi, they also like the idea
    18.12 – call with SFC (Hauke joined, we found no prior slot to talk)
    20.12 – started writing the U-Boot PCIe driver, made recovery from USB
    and android fastboot recovery work.
    … and then the end of year celebrations started and not much happened
    for 2 weeks.
    03.01-08.01 – write this text”

  10. Introducing a rather expensive (definitely over $50) 802.11ax device with 802.11be already here… rather disappointing, would be much happier if they focused on proper support of already available RK3588 devices instead…

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