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Posts Tagged ‘router’

UniElec U7621-06 MediaTek MT7621 Router Supports OpenWrt, Padavan, and PandoraBox Firmware

October 13th, 2017 18 comments

UniElec U7621-06 is a router / gateway based on Mediatek MT7621 dual core/Quad Thread processor, and offered either as a board only or complete system with optional WiFi and/or LTE PCIe modules.

While the board is said to run OpenWrt or firmware based on Mediatek Linux SDK , the company also mentions the board runs Breed bootloader that can be used to  upgrade the firmware through a web interface. UniElec claims the router supports alternative firmware such as Padavan or PandoraBox.

UniElec U7621-06 specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7621 dual-core, quad-thread MIPS1004K processor @ up to 880MHz
  • System Memory – 256MB DDR3 (optional 512 MB)
  • Storage – 16MB NOR Flash (optional 8/32/64MB), 1x SATA 3.0 port, 1x micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 5x Gigabit Ports (4x LAN, 1x WAN)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion
    • 2x “normal” mPCIe for 802.11ac or 802.11n WiFi module
    • 1x mPCIe connector for LTE or mSATA module
    • 1x 30-pin GPIO connector
  • Debugging – 1x 4-pin Serial Debug Port
  • Misc – Reset buttons, LEDs (power, LAN, LTE, 2x user), watchdog timer
  • Power Supply – [email protected]
  • Power Consumption – 8 Watt (Max)
  • Dimensions – 188.5 x 128.5 x 25 mm (aluminum alloy case)
  • Certifications – CE & FCC Certified, RoHS Compliant
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0ºC to 55ºC or -20-85°C; Storage: -40ºC to 90ºC
  • Humidity – Operating: 5% to 95%, Storage: Max. 90%

There’s a short discussion thread on 4PDA where they should some boot log, and other information (in Russian).

Most people who read this blog will know about OpenWrt, but I had never heard about Padavan, nor PandoraBox firmware.

The first is an open source project hosted on Bitbucket that aims to “improve the rt-n56u and other supported devices on the software part, allowing power user to take full control over their hardware”. This refers to ASUS RT-N56U router powered by Mediatek MT7621 SoC. The project is actually just called rt-n56u, and Andy Padavan is the developer.

Padavan 3.4.3.9-099 Web Interface on UniElec U7621-06 – Click to Enlarge

The second is developed by a team of Chinese developer, and support various Mediatek routers. I could not find the source code, but we know it’s based on OpenWrt. You’ll find firmware for over 30 routers and evaluation boards, including PandoraBox-PBR-M1 firmware, that according to screenshots provided on Aliexpress, is the one compatible with UniElec U7621-06.

PandoraBox PBR-M1 Firmware – Click to Enlarge

The router is sold on Aliexpress, with price starting at $41.90 with the board only without WiFi or LTE support, nor enclosure, and up to $124.80 with an MT7615 4×4 802.11ac Wave2 PCIe module, and metal enclosure. Between the two extremes, there are various options for WiFi modules, with or without enclosure. If you need LTE or mSATA, you’d have to source a compatible module separately. The manufacturer’s product page does not have much more information.

Thanks to Danman for the tip

Broadcom Introduces Three 802.11ax “Max WiFi” Chips: BCM43684, BCM43694 & BCM4375

August 26th, 2017 5 comments

We’ve already written about the new 802.11ax WiFi standard that promises up to 10 Gbps data rates, support for 2.4 & 5 GHz bands, up to 4x longer range, and better handling of high density scenarios. It appears 802.11ax we’ll be known as Max WiFi to the masses, and Broadcom has unveiled Max WiFi solutions for home and enterprise routers, as well as a smartphones.

There are currently three Max WiFi solutions from Broadcom:

  • BCM43684 & BCM43694 4×4 802.11ax chips, respectively optimized for residential and enterprise access points, share the same key features:
    • Support for four streams of 802.11ax
    • 4.8 Gbps PHY rate
    • 160 MHz channel bandwidth
    • 1024 QAM modulation
    • Uplink & downlink OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access)
    • MU-MIMO
    • ZeroWait DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection)
    • AirIQ interference identification
    • Full compliance to IEEE and WFA 802.11ax specifications
  • BCM4375 smartphone combo chip:
    • Support for 2-streams of 802.11ax
    • Bluetooth 5 including Low-Energy Long Range (LELR)
    • Real Simultaneous Dual-Band (RSDB)
    • 1.429 Gbps PHY Rate
    • 1024 QAM Modulation
    • OFDMA
    • MU-MIMO

Beside the improvements listed in the introduction, 802.11ax / Max WiFi will also improve power efficiency with claims of up to 7 times better battery life for devices using features like Target Wake Time (TWT), which allows the Wi-Fi radio in battery powered devices to go to sleep when not exchanging data.

Broadcom is sampling Max WiFi solutions to its early access partners, so we should probably expect 802.11ax / Max WiFi devices sometimes in 2018.

A Look at Some USB 3.0 WiFi 802.11ac Adapters with Multiple High Gain Antennas

August 11th, 2017 9 comments

When last week I reviewed Rock64 board I noticed they sold a “USB 3.0 Dual Band 1200Mbps WIFI 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (RTL8812AU) adapter” for $19.99. So far I had only seen USB dongles with internal antennas or a single external antenna, but in the case of development boards, which may be used as routers or gateways, it makes perfect sense to get such adapter for higher performance and longer range. The only problem is that it “ships together with ROCK64 fulfillment”, meaning you can’t purchase it separately if you already have some other board to use, so I went to look for alternatives.

ROCK64 USB Dongle (left); COMFAST CF-926AC (right)

One of the first I’ve come across was COMFAST CF-926AC with the following specifications:

  • Chipset – Mediatek MT7612U
  • Interface –  USB 3.0 rotatable port
  • WiFi – Dual band 2T2R WiFi 802.11ac, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n up to “1200” Mbps (867 Mbps @ 5.8 GHz + 300 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz)
  • Antenna – 2x external high gain (3dBi) antennas (270° rotation)
  • Dimensions – 19.50 x 5.00 x 1.40 cm
  • Weight – 410 grams

The page description mentions it works without drivers on Windows, but one seller reports that “it can support win10 system receive wifi signal,but it can’t support win10 system emission wifi signal”. As usual, no mention of Linux, but luckily a quick search found MT7612U Linux driver with support for AP and STA mode, just don’t run iwconfig in AP mode… It requires Linux 4.2 or greater, and as only been tested on x86_64 so far, so your mileage may vary on other targets.

I first found it on Aliexpress for $16.99 shipped, but you’ll also find it on GearBest for $15.99, and Amazon US for $19.99.

EDUP EP-AC1621 AC1900 USB Adapter – Click to Enlarge

During my search I also found EDUP EP-AC1621 USB 3.0 WiFi adapter with four external antennas and the following specifications:

  • Chipset – Realtek RTL8814AU
  • Interface – USB 3.0 OTG port
  • WiFi – Dual band WiFi 802.11ac, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n up to 1900 Mbps (1300 Mbps @ 5.8 GHz + 600 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz)
  • Antenna – 4x external high gain (6dBi) antennas
  • Misc – WPS key
  • Dimensions – 9.0 x 4.4 x 1.4 cm (body); 17 cm long antennas

The device does not connect directly to the USB port, but instead via a one meter USB 3.0 OTG to USB 3.0 type A cable. The description explains it comes with an “easy to use CD setup wizard and compatible with Microsoft Windows XP/VISTA/Win7/8.1/10 Linux/Macintosh”. In case, you’d rather have an alternative driver, you’ll find an 8814AU Linux driver in Github based on the original driver  for Linux kernels up to 4.8 with DKMS support, but there are some commits to make it work with newer kernels.

I found that model on Aliexpress for $41.90, but again you can also purchase it on Amazon US or GearBest (and other sites).You may learn a little more by visiting the manufacturer’s product page.

Various other models are also sold, the important is to check whether the chipset is supported by your operating system, and if it supports the modes (AP, STA, AP+STA) required for your use case. Those type of adapters only really make sense with boards and devices with USB 3.0 interfaces, since USB 2.0 is limited to 480 Mbps.

MediaTek MT7622 SoC with WiFi Network Accelerator Supports 4×4 802.11n WiFi & Bluetooth 5

June 1st, 2017 5 comments

MediaTek has launched a new ARM SoC for routers, home automation gateways, wireless audio and storage, with MT7622 equipped with a dual core ARM Cortex A53 processor, a dedicated network accelerator, 4×4 802.11n and Bluetooth 5 connectivity. Two models with be available: MT7622A with all features, and MT7622B with router features only, which probably mean no Bluetooth, and possibly less I/Os.

MediaTek MT7622 specifications:

  • Processor – Dual core ARM Cortex A53 @ up to 1.36 GHz
  • Storage – eMMC and SDXC interfaces; storage accelerator (SATA 3.0/eSATA Gen2)
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4GHz, 4T4R antenna; 802.11ac can be added through MT7615 SoC
    • Bluetooth 5
    • Fast Ethernet Switch, RGMII and SGMII
  • Network Accelerator – APT+HQoS,  MediaTek Wi-Fi Warp Accelerator
  • Audio – Audio Amplifier, I2S, TDM, S/PDIF
  • USB – USB 2.0 host/device, USB 3.0 host
  • Other Peripheral Interfaces – PCIe Gen 2.0, ADC, GPIO, I2C, IR, PMIC I/F, PWM, SPI, UART
  • Misc – RTC

The specs on the product page are currently all over the place, with “Zigbee” also dropped somewhere in the text, but not in the specifications list, nor is Bluetooth 5. They also wrote Bluetooth 5.0 instead of Bluetooth 5, but it’s a minor issue. They however provide some more details about the WiFi Warp accelerator:

Firstly it connects the Gigabit+ class 802.11ac networking through to the Gigabit switch/WAN connection via multi-Gigabit internal pathways, ensuring no bottleneck. Secondly, its specialized design not only offloads the CPU from many-user throughput and QoS calculations, it does so at lower power. The result is the MediaTek Wi-Fi Warp Accelerator maintains a sustained high-performance when even supporting multiple, simultaneous heavy users.

Another good news is that MediaTek engineers have started to contribute MT7622 related code to mainline Linux.

Qualcomm Unveils Mesh Networking WiFi Router / Gateway Reference Design Powered by IPQ40x8/9 NSoC

May 30th, 2017 2 comments

Qualcomm has just announced the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform for OEM and broadband providers to design home WiFi routers/gateways capable of providing “robust and consistent connectivity”, and feature voice control capabilities, centralized management and security, and a range of mesh system features.

In order to speed up adoption the the platform, the company introduced the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Reference Design with the following key features & benefits:

  • Network System-on-Chip (NSoC) – Qualcomm IPQ40x8/9 network system-on-chip with four Cortex A7 cores, 802.11ac WiFi 2×2+2×2, network and crypto accelerators
  • Qualcomm Wi-Fi Self-Organizing (SON) feature suite will ensure corner-to-corner Wi-Fi coverage, easy set-up, automatic management and traffic optimization, as well as additional security safeguards.
  • Carrier-Grade features with Wi-Fi SON APIs, cloud-based diagnostics
  • Integrated voice capabilities thanks to built-in microphone array and speaker, voice recognition software, and APIs support for popular cloud-based assistant applications.
  • Variety of backhaul options to be used to maximize the performance of mesh networks (802.11ac, 802.11ad, 802.11ax, or Powerline technologies)
  • Qualcomm IoT Connectivity Feature Suite will ensure simultaneous use of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, CSRmesh, and 802.15.4 connectivity

Qualcomm is – as usual – light on details, but at least that means your future WiFi routers will work better by using mesh technology for better coverage in your home, and may also be used as your IoT gateway, and Google Home/Amazon Echo replacement.

Via AnandTech

SDMC DV8230-AP LTE is an Android 7.0 TV Box with a 4G LTE Router Module

April 25th, 2017 2 comments

Shenzhen SDMC Technology launched DV8219-LTE Android TV box with 4G modem powered by Amlogic S905X processor a while ago, and the company is back with a new model called DV8230-AP LTE with the same processor, but running Android 7.0, and what they call a “4G LTE router function”.

SDMC DV8230-AP LTE specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with a Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (4 to 64GB as option) + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a, 3.5mm AV port
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity
    • 10/100M Ethernet port
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Dual band optional)
    • Optional Bluetooth 4.0
    • Built-in 4G Module + SIM card slot
    • 2x dBi external antennas
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR receiver; LEDs; standby key; reset button; WPS button
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 120 x 120 x 28 mm
  • Temperature Range – 0~40℃ (operating)

Apart from the extra RAM, the two external antennas, and WPS button, I could not see the difference with the previous model. Most Android TV boxes already support “portable hotspot” mode allowing to share an Ethernet connection over WiFi. So for example, if you are in a hotel room with Ethernet only, and happen to have a TV box with you, you could connect it to add a WiFi hotspot for your smartphone.

Since initially the company did not clearly explain that router function in their website, I tried to ask them for more details about the hardware and software related to that function, and after several email exchanges, I could find out there’s a “router module” inside the box, and that “you can still use the WiFi function when the box is in standby.” Later on, the company mentioned the box is using Topwell DXS-WRM50BC module powered by Mediatek MT7628NN CPU, and while I could not find details about that model, it’s probably a card like AsiaRF AP7620-MPE-1, but maybe not with an mPCie connector, that runs OpenWrt or an another Linux based OS.

You could visit the product page, but you’re unlikely to find many more details there. AFAIK, SDMC does not sell to individuals, only to resellers and distributors.

LEDE 17.01.0 “Reboot” Router Operating System Released

February 24th, 2017 8 comments

LEDE (Linux Embedded Development Environment) is a fork of OpenWrt after some disagreements between developers, and while there are talks about merging OpenWrt and LEDE development, this is not done yet, and LEDE 17.01 has been released a few days ago.

Some of notable LEDE 17.01 changes include:

  • Linux kernel updated to version 4.4.50 (from 3.18 in Chaos Calmer)
  • Update to dnsmasq 2.76, busybox 1.25.1, mbedtls 2.4.0, openssl 1.0.2k
  • Improved Security Features
  • Improved Networking Support
  • Added new targets:
    • apm821xx (AppliedMicro APM821xx)
    • arc770 (Synopsys DesignWare ARC 770D)
    • archs38 (Synopsys DesignWare ARC HS38)
    • armvirt (QEMU ARM Virtual Machine)
    • ipq806x (Qualcomm Atheros IPQ806X)
    • layerscape (NXP Layerscape)
    • zynq (Xilinx Zynq 7000 SoCs)
  • Reorganized x86 target – Drop dedicated Xen DomU target, merged with x86/generic * Enable AES-NI support
  • Build system improvements
  • Image Builder / SDK – Rework library bundling to allow for better portability between different Linux distributions, added support for building kernel modules using the SDK

You’ll find a complete list of change since the beginning of LEDE project here. There are also some limitations as available space on devices with only 4MB flash is very low, and devices with only 32MB RAM might not be able to reliably run opkg or sysupgrade operations, especially in when LuCI is also running.

Thanks to Hauke for the tip.

Xiaomi Mi R3P AC2600 Wireless Router is up for Pre-order for $127 without Hard Drive

January 13th, 2017 8 comments

Xiaomi introduced Mi Router HD, an AC2600 router with 1 or 8 TB HDD storage, at CES 2017. The exact same router now appears to be up for pre-order on GearBest for $127, but without any hard drive, which should allow you to use to own.

mi-router-hdGearBest does not call it “Mi Router HD” but instead “Xiaomi Mi R3P”. The photos match the ones of the product unveiled at CES 2017, and the preliminary specifications can be derived from various sources:

  • SoC – Qualcomm IPQ8064 quad core network processor
  • System Memory – TBD
  • Storage – Flash storage for firmware (TBD); SATA drive support
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi up to 2600 Mbps with 4 antennas
    • 3x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, 1x  Gigabit Ethernet WAN port
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Dimensions – 19 x 13 x 6.5 cm
  • Weight – 1.030 kg

Just like other Xiaomi routers it can be configured with MiWiFi mobile app available in multiple languages. If the router has a web interface with more options, it might only be in Chinese however.

Xiaomi-Mi-R3P-RouterXiaomi Mi Router HD is said to launch in China during the first trimester for just under $200 with a 1TB hard drive, and under $500 for an 8TB drive. Xiaomi said they will use “surveillance-class” hard drives, which may be more expensive, but the price on GearBest at under $130 without hard drive appears to be quite low, especially since oversea shipping is included. It’s also unclear how easy it would be to open the router to insert your own hard drive, and there’s no info at all about that on GearBest. Shipping is scheduled for February 8th, but it’s probably better to wait and see, as in the past people had to wait a long time for pre-orders that got delayed.