Banana Pi BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 WiFi 7 module for BPI-R4 SBC launched for $74

The Banana Pi BPI-R4 was introduced last year as a WiFi 7 router board with two 10GbE SFP cages and four GbE ports based on MediaTek Filogic 880 SoC. The only issue is that WiFi 7 is implemented through a dual mini PCIe module that was not available until now.

The good news is that the tri-band Banana Pi BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 WiFi 7 module for the Banana Pi BPI-R4 board can now be purchased for $73.69 on Aliexpress. It is based on MediaTek MT7995AV WiFi 7 chipset, MT7976CN dual-band (2.4GHz and 5 GHz) chipset, and MT7977IAN 6GHz chipset.

Banana Pi BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 WiFi 7 Module

Banana Pi BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 specifications:

  • MediaTek MT7995AV
    • WiFi 7 – IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax/be compliant
    • 32-bit RISC-V MCU for Wi-Fi protocols and Wi-Fi offload
    • Embedded SRAM and ROM
    • UART interface with hardware flow control
    • MediaTek MT7976CN dual-band 2.4GHz 2×2 MIMO and 5GHz 3×3 MIMO
  • MediaTek MT7977IAN 6GHz 3×3 MIMO
  • Bandwidth
    • 2.4 GHz – 20 and 40 MHz
    • 5GHz – 20, 40,80, and 160 MHz
    • 6GHz – 20, 40,80,160 and 320 MHz
  • Tri-Band Triple Concurrent (TBTC)
  • PHY rate – Up to 13700 Mbps/9500 Mbps
  • Features
    • MU-MIMO Tx and Rx
    • MU-OFDMA Tx and Rx
    • STBC, LDPC, TX beamformer, and RX beamformer
    • Greenfield mode, mixed mode, and legacy mode
    • QoS – WFA WMM and WMM-PS
  • Security – WFA WPA, WPA2, WPA3 personal, WPS2.0
  • Host interface – 2x 2-lane PCIe 3.0 via two mini PCIe edge connectors
  • Dimensions – 82 x 51 mm

MediaTek MT7995AV WiFi 7 module

BE1400 802.11be mini PCIe module block diagram
Block diagram

Banana Pi previously showcased the “WiFi 7 iPA NIC Module” with four different chips and a much larger design that took most of the area on the bottom of the BPI-R4 board. It must have been expensive, so the company has now designed a smaller and more cost-effective WiFi 7 module with the BPI-R4-NIC-BE14.

The wiki for the WiFi 7 module does not have that much more information, but the company shared power consumption and transmit power/EVM test reports and also mentioned a large heatsink is needed since the “IC is very hot”. It’s mind-boggling it’s not sold along the module… Instructions to use it with the Banana Pi BPI-R4 board can be found in the wiki of the SBC, and from what I see there’s nothing much to do except set SW4 to “ON” unless the documentation is incomplete.

BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 module installed on Banana Pi BPI-R4 router
BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 WiFi 7 Module installed on Banana Pi BPI-R4 router

The OpenWrt OS image will automatically detect the WiFi 7 module as a PCIe card:


But the current Debian 11 and Ubuntu 22.04 images have some limitations with regard to Wi-Fi 7 support:

Note:linux-5.4 kernel include MT76 wifi driver, it can only support BE14000 wifi card. it can support 2.4G, 5G and 6G, but debian 11/ubuntu-22.04’s network-manager utility package can’t support 6G wifi. So we are waiting for the latest package. linux-6.1 kernel don’t include MT76 wifi driver, it can’t support BE14000 wifi card.

Banana Pi BPI-R4-NIC-BE14 WiFi 7 dual mini PCIe module is sold for $73.69 on Aliexpress, but that does not include the six WiFi antennas that can be added for $13.90 on the same page. The Banana Pi BPI-R4 board’s price has dropped below $100 with SinoVoIP selling for $94.74. Prices do not include shipping nor the recommended heatsink…

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19 Comments
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TLS
TLS
9 days ago

One thing, for those not familiar with these things, do NOT under any circumstances power up a WiFi board like this without having the antennas attached. You will damage the power amplifiers if the antennas aren’t attached.

Also, the earlier board was 4×4 for all three bands, judging by the antenna connectors, so this is a “budget” option compared to that.

Also, no DFS? That makes this pretty useless in a lot of countries and in places where there are a lot of AP’s using the 5 GHz band.

megous
megous
8 days ago

Hard earned experience? (Thanks for sharing)

TLS
TLS
8 days ago

Not a personal one, but from a previous employer that manufactured routers and a colleague meeting up. Luckily it was just an internal development board, so not the end of the world.

Whiterat
Whiterat
9 days ago

Been listed but not in stock for a while now. I messaged Sinovoip and they said “Expected to be late July or early August”

recrof
recrof
9 days ago

look again, the wifi board itself is “sold out”, you can only buy antennas.

Florent
Florent
8 days ago

That’s my review the first batch was very small (something like 10-25 units) more are expected to comes in 6 weeks.

CampGareth
CampGareth
9 days ago

Had it been in stock I’d have ordered it. Maybe it’s for the best as it isn’t useful to me without 1) official openwrt support and 2) some guidance on heatsinking when it’s in the official case. Until then I’ll stick to a supported wifi 6 card.

Florent
Florent
8 days ago

Next OpenWrt release is supposed to support the board. The WiFi card comes with heat pads that you place between the case body and the 3 chips.

TLS
TLS
8 days ago

Those aren’t going to be enough. You need to have heat sinks on the PA/LNA, as the power amplifiers are by far the hottest parts in a router.

Florent
Florent
8 days ago

They are no external PA/LNA (everything is integrated in the chips) and I am monitoring the thermal zones and even have a thermal camera that says it’s fine. Also the board does support DFS (at least in the custom OpenWrt that banana pi provides).

TLS
TLS
8 days ago

It lacks the extra antenna needed to scan for DFS. They have it on the higher-end WiFi board they showed earlier.

My bad on the PA/LNA part, but that suggests mediocre range then.

TLS
TLS
8 days ago

I was looking at this, which has PA/LNA’s, as well as a fifth antenna for DFS.
https://asiarf.com/product/wi-fi-7-evk-evaluation-kit-be19000-router-board-m-2-nic-moudule/

Florent
Florent
8 days ago

You are mixing DFS and zero wait DFS (which needs 3 or more antennas). With a single antenna and DFS on the router first does an initial scan of 60s and compile a list of available channels then choose one and monitor noise to detect if there is a radar if one is detected it goes back to the first step. Zero wait DFS has an antenna dedicated to scanning the channels all the time which allows to immediately switch channel when a radar is detected instead of rescanning for 60s. On this board the 5GHz without diplexer is used… Read more »

TLS
TLS
7 days ago

Right, true, my bad. That said, why would you not wait zero wait DFS today? The older type of DFS shuts down the radios and you could end up waiting for quite a while before they come back up.

If you look at the 6 GHz radio there are several metal covers over the PA/LNA chips with the model name of the PA/LNA, on the AsiaRF board.

Florent
Florent
7 days ago

The board does support zero wait DFS and most of the bandwidth of WiFi 7 is in the 6GHz band I see the 5GHz band as a bonus when MLO is finally supported and the 2.4GHz for legacy devices like my robot vacuum. The chips with metal covers are bandpass filters by Semitel International part number SE8R6265A320_9.36_Xxx.

309electronics
309electronics
9 days ago

So its basically a Linux computer inside of a Linux computer?

Christopher Young
7 days ago

Mediatek wifi is really bad stick with Intel wifi

Khadas VIM4 SBC