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Orange Pi Development Boards

WeTek Unveils Hyperion 4G LTE Set-Top Box & Nix OTT TV Box Running Android TV OS

January 12th, 2018 5 comments

When Geniatech announced Android TV certification for their ATV598Max set-top box with digital TV tuners compliant with DVB-T2, DVB-C, ATSC, or ISDB standards earlier this week, we noticed how few official Android TV STB there was on the market.

But more may be coming, as Wetek will showcase two Android TV products at CABSAT in Dubai on January 14-16 with Wetek Hyperion Amlogic S905D 4G LTE set-top box, as well as WeTek Nix OTT box powered by Amlogic S905X processor.

WeTek Hyperion

Specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 SoC up to 1.5 GHz, with penta-core ARM Mali-450 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a (CEC, HDR, HDCP 1.4/2.2), mini jack analog AV output
  • Connectivity
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • Dual band 802.11 ac/b/g/n WiFi (optional 802.11ac MiMo)
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • 4G LTE modem – LTE-FDD: B2/B4/B5/B12/B13/B17/B25/B26; LTE-TDD: B41; Download up to 150 (Mbps). Upload up to 50 (Mbps)
  • Power Supply –  5V/2A

Hyperion does not appear to come with tuner, so we’ll have to see since S905D processor is well-suited for tuners. I think 4G LTE is popular in the Middle East since that’s how many people get their broadband Internet, so it’s possible this model mostly targets the MENA market. The device is promoted as a “complete home hub capable of providing the best video quality, user’s favorite Android applications and routing all Internet traffic at home”.

The set-top box currently runs Android TV 7.1.2, but Oreo 8.0 will also be supported, and DRM is enabled using ARM TrustZone SecureOS with Google Widevine Level 1 and Microsoft PlayReady 2.5 & 3.0 for secured, premium content playback. It will ship with a power supply, a 1.2m HDMI cable, and an optional one meter IR extender cable.

WeTek Nix

The second device appears to include lots of ventilation holes, and is a more traditional OTT TV box with the following specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 SoC up to 1.5 GHz, with penta-core ARM Mali-450 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC 5.0 flash
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a (CEC, HDR, HDCP 1.4/2.2) up to 4K @ 60 Hz, mini jack analog AV output
  • Connectivity – 100 Mbit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 ac/b/g/n WiFi (optional 8902.11ac MiMo), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

Like Hyperion, Nix support Android TV 7.1.2 / 8.0, as well as Widewine L1 and PlayReady 2.5/3.0, but also adds Verimatrix VCAS for IPTV. The TV box with also ship with a power adapter, HDMI cable, and optional IR extender cable.

Both device seem to be targeted to OEM partners, and it’s unclear whether those models will be sold direct to end users like previous models such as Wetek Hub or WeTek Play 2. We’ll probably find out more in a few days.

Thanks to Ron for the tip

SATXTREM OTT Box & WiFi Router Combo Runs Android 7.1 on Amlogic S905X Processor

December 26th, 2017 9 comments

There are so many Amlogic S905X/S912 TV boxes on the market that offer the same features, I’ve long stopped reporting on all new models, unless they have very specific features, or are made by some of the most popular companies. SATXTREM OTT Box & WiFi Router appear to be a difference beast – as its name implies -, as it’;s both an Android 7.1 TV box, and an Android WiFi router thanks to three Ethernet ports.

SATXTREM TV box & router specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-450MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (Options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB) + micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz, AV port (composite)
  • Video Codecs – 4K 10-bit H.265 up to 60 fps, VP9 up to 60 fps, H.264 up to 30 fps
  • Audio Output – HDMI audio, AV port (stereo audio), and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity
    • 3x 10/100M Ethernet ports including one WAN port, two LAN ports
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with internal antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, Power/standby LED, update button (via pinhole)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions & Weight – N/A

The specifications lists AP6181/AP6212/AP6330/AP6335 wireless modules, so while most devices sold online will likely only come with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, resellers could likely request an AP6335 module supporting  802.11ac WiFi.

Android 7.1 firmware is said to support OTA updates, but somehow the company did not find it useful to provide more details about the “router functions”. The box ships with a power supply, a simple IR remote control, and a user manual.

The device is sold on Aliexpress for $68 shipped, but you’ll also find a $116 “1-year IPTV with box” option that promises 1,460 IPTV channels watchable through “Best HD IPTV” app. Needless to say the last option is rather dodgy, and may not last one full year. I’ve also noticed all sellers offering SATXTREM devices are rather new with limited feedback. For example, the shop I linked to was setup in September 2017. The manufacturer “Shenzhen SATXTREM Technology Co. Ltd” does not have a website, but you’ll find some company info on sites like DIYtrade.

Via AndroidPC.es

Marvell 802.11ax WiFi Chips are Designed for Enterprise Gateways, Mainstream Routers, and Set-Top Boxes

December 12th, 2017 No comments

High-Efficiency Wireless (HEW), better known as 802.11ax, is a new WiFi standard that is supposed to deliver up to 10 Gbps bandwidth over 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies, and improve the average throughput per user by a factor of at least 4 times in dense environments. Several draft of the specifications have been voted on, but the latest 802.11ax timeline seems to indicate the final 802.11ax specifications will only be approved sometimes in 2019.

This has not prevented companies to announce or unveil 802.11ax SoC or solutions based on the draft specifications, as we’ve seen in the past with NXP Layerscape LA1575 programmable WiSoC, Qualcomm gateway reference design, and Broadcom Max WiFi chips. Marvell has now joined the fray with their 802.11ax wireless portfolio.

All Marvell 802.1ax WiSoCs support all using uplink & download OFDMA / MU-MIMO, 1024 QAM, off-channel spectrum scanning, dedicated in-service monitoring, and precision location. Three SKUs have been launched for different markets / products

  • Marvell 88W9068 8×8, 8-spatial stream device with 5-GHz support (up to 4.8 Gbps) for premium enterprise and retail access points, carrier gateways and fixed wireless services.
  • Marvell 88W9064 4×4, 4-spatial stream device with 5/2.4-GHz support (up to 2.4 Gbps) and integrated Bluetooth 5 for mainstream enterprise and retail access points, carrier gateways and fixed wireless services.
  • Marvell 88W9064S 2×4, 2-spatial stream device with 5/2.4-GHz support and integrated Bluetooth 5 for the service provider and OTT set-top box markets.

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The chips also have PCIe 3.0 interfaces and Marvell MoChi Interconnect, beside lower speed interfaces like 2-wire setial, SPI, GPIO, and UART. 88W9068 block diagram is similar minus the Bluetooth parts, and support for 8×8 5.0 GHz only WiFi.

Marvell 802.11ax solutions will be demonstrated at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, US next year. More details can be found on Marvell’s 802.11ax WiFi solutions page. The company also uploaded the video below explaining the advantage of 802.11ax for multi-user access.

Thanks to TLS for the tip.

ZeroShell Firewall/Router Linux Distribution Works on x86 Hardware, Raspberry Pi 2/3, & (Some) Orange Pi Boards

November 30th, 2017 12 comments

We’ve just seen pfSense is now available for Arm via firewall appliances such as Netgate SG-3100, but AFAIK there’s no pfSense community Arm firmware images yet. Several Arm SoCs & boards are now supported by FreeBSD, so in theory pfSense could be ported to those, but the page on FreeBSD does not seem to have been updated for a while.

If you want a firewall distributions with an easy-to-user web interface like pfSense, but that also works on cheaper Arm hardware, Linux based ZeroShell distribution could be worth a try, as beside working on Intel & AMD x86 platforms, the developers also provides images for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 boards, and several Orange Pi boards, namely Orange Pi R1, Orange Pi Zero, Orange Pi PC, and Orange Pi Plus/Plus2. The latter is the only supported Arm board with Gigabit Ethernet.

ZeroShell Web Interface | Net Balancer Section – Click to Enlarge

Some of ZeroShell features include:

  • Load Balancing and Failover of multiple Internet connections.
  • UMTS/HSDPA connections via 3G modems.
  • RADIUS server for providing secure authentication and automatic management of the encryption keys to WiFi networks.
  • QoS (Quality of Service) management and traffic shaping.
  • HTTP Proxy server to block web pages containing virus.
  • Wireless Access Point mode with Multiple SSID and VLAN support.
  • Host-to-LAN VPN with L2TP/IPsec in which L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) authenticated with Kerberos v5.
  • LAN-to-LAN VPN with encapsulation of Ethernet datagrams in SSL/TLS tunnel with support for 802.1Q VLAN.
  • Router with static and dynamic routes (RIPv2 with MD5 or plain text authentication and Split Horizon and Poisoned Reverse algorithms).
  • 802.1d bridge with Spanning Tree protocol to avoid loops even in the presence of redundant paths.
  • 802.1Q Virtual LAN (tagged VLAN).
  • Many more…

Gateway Configuration

You’ll find the complete list of features on the project page. You’ll find live CD images for x86, and micro SD card image for supported Arm boards on the download page, and support is available via the forums. However, I have not been able to find the source code, nor instructions to build from source.

Via Time4EE

Netgate SG-3100 is an ARM based pfSense Firewall Appliance

November 30th, 2017 19 comments

pfSense software is a popular open source firewall distribution based on FreeBSD operating system that is entirely managed via a web interface. Up until recently, FreeBSD (see comments section) pfSense would only support x86-64 (Intel or AMD hardware). But progress has been made with pfSense (and FreeBSD) for ARM, and Netgate, the company behind pfSense, is now selling two ARM based firewall appliances with SG-1000 microFirewall powered by Texas Instruments AM3352 Cortex A8 SoC, and sine a little over of month,  SG-3100 firewall appliance based on a more suitable Marvell dual core Cortex A9 processor.

Netgate SG-3100 hardware specifications:

  • Processor – Marvell ARMADA 38x 88F6820 dual core ARM Cortex-A9 @ 1.6 GHz with NEON SIMD and FPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4L Non ECC
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC Flash
  • Network Interfaces
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet configured as dual WAN or one WAN one LAN
    • 4x ports Gigabit Marvell 88E6141 switch, uplinked at 2.5 Gbps to the third port on the SoC for LAN
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion
    • 2x M.2 ‘B’ key sockets (SSD, LTE)
    • 1x M.2 ‘E’ key socket (2230 form factor) for WiFi / Bluetooth
    • 1x miniPCIe (WiFi)
    • microSIM
    • mikroBUS socket, for community hacking and OEM expansion opportunities
  • Console Port – 1x mini USB port
  • Power Supply – 12V/3.33A threaded barrel connector
  • Power Consumption – 5W (idle)
  • Dimensions – Enclosure: 20.3 x 17.8 x 4 cm; motherboard: mini-ITX 17 cm x 17 cm
  • Operating Temperature – 0°C to 65°C
  • Certifications CE, FCC, RoHS, UL

The device is pre-loaded with pfSense with features such as stateful packet filtering firewall or pure router, routing policy per gateway and per-rule for failover and load balancing, transparent layer 2 firewall, support for IPV6, NAT, BGP, VPN: IPsec, OpenVPN, L2TP, Dynamic DNS client, and more. SG-3100 is said to support up to 1.8 million active connections.

 

Click to Enlarge

This model targets SMB to medium sized networks, small to medium sized branch office, managed service providers (MSP), home or commercial high-speed Gigabit connections, or multiple VPN Connections.

Netgate SG-3100 is sold for $349 with a 12-month hardware warranty, and a one year subscription to pfSense Gold ($99 value) providing access to extensive documentation and videos. More details may be found on the product page.

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

October 13th, 2017 22 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.