Table of Contents
- Maybe you missed it? Banana Pi R4 Router Board
- OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY is a new R4 variant developed by OpenWrt team & Banana Pi Team.
OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY new upcoming variant.
The OpenWrt team is gearing up to release an innovative new version, OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY, featuring MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) SoC and MediaTek MT7976C dual-band Wi-Fi 6 chipset. This cutting-edge hardware has been designed in partnership with Banana Pi, who will oversee the production and distribution of the router board.
With the release of OpenWrt 23.05, over 1,800 routers and devices are now officially supported by the lightweight embedded Linux operating system. Many more are claiming to run OpenWrt through a fork of the OS, although these are not developed by the OpenWrt team. Currently, the developers have joined forces with Banana Pi to design their own router board, drawing on their experience with boards like the BPI-R4 Wi-Fi 7 router SBC. The preliminary specifications for the OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY include a MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) dual-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.3 GHz, 1GB DDR4 system memory, and 128 MB SPI NAND flash for U-boot and Linux 4.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether there will be a version that includes an integrated SFP+ port. The hardware should be sufficiently robust to deliver exceptional performance and value for users, with excellent software support.
OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY initial details
- SoC – MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) dual-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.3 GHz
- System Memory – 1GB DDR4
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
Striving for affordability
OpenWrt team carefully chose the router’s specifications to maintain an affordable price of under $100 to stay within this budget. “We opted for interfaces like USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0 due to limited availability in the Filogic 820 SoC. Although the open-source license for the schematics is undecided, we assure you that they will be made publicly accessible. Rest assured; we will fully comply with GPL requirements by providing a comprehensive machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code”.
Collaborating with Banana Pi Team
Banana Pi was specifically chosen by the OpenWrt developers due to its remarkable alignment with their long-standing requirements. Over the years, the company has gained substantial popularity within the OpenWrt community. Additionally, numerous features are already well-supported in the upstream/mainline U-Boot and Linux systems. It is worth noting that some components such as the 2.5GbE PHY and Wi-Fi firmware employ non-open-source elements, which operate on separate cores independent of the main SoC. Equally, the DRAM calibration routines are also closed-source binaries.
Business model and distribution
The OpenWrt One/AP-24.XY router is not only a powerful device but also a promising opportunity to generate income for the project. By partnering with Banana Pi and leveraging their extensive distribution network, we can ensure the widespread availability and adoption of the router board. With every sale, a generous contribution will be made to the Software Freedom Conservancy (SDC), specifically allocated to benefit the OpenWrt community. This revenue will play a crucial role in covering essential expenses such as hosting and organizing OpenWrt conferences. While the exact launch date for the OpenWrt router board is yet to be confirmed, we invite you to delve into the announcement for further details. Together, let’s empower OpenWrt and foster a stronger community!
More details may be found in the official announcement.