A new dual 10G router based on Filogic 880 (Banana Pi BPi-R4)

The Banana Pi BPi R4 just announced:

  • SoC – [MediaTek MT7988A (Filogic 880)] quad-core Arm Corex-A73 processor @ 1.8GHz with AI-powered packet accelerator
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR4
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, 128MB SPI NAND Flash, microSD card slot, M.2 Key M for NVMe SSD (see Expansion section for details)
  • Networking
    • 2x 10GbE SFP cages (option for 1x 10Gbe SFP cage and 1x 2.5Gbe PHY)
    • 4x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports (1x WAN and 3x LAN)
  • USB – USB 3.2 port
  • Expansion
    • M.2 Key-B slot with USB 3.2 interface for 5G or 4G LTE connectivity plus three nanoSIM slots
    • M.2 Key-M slot with 1-lane PCIe 3.0 for NVMe SSD
    • 2x mini PCIe slots with 2-lane PCIe 3.0 for Wi-Fi 7 NIC (Network Interface Card)
    • 26-pin GPIO header for expansion

https://wiki.banana-pi.org/Banana_Pi_BPI-R4

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If the RJ45s were all 2.5G, it would be perfect.

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If it already needs a ~60w psu for the current setup I would imagine it would jump to 75w or more for 4x 2.5g ports

Isn't the 60W power supply mostly to cover the additional stuff like WiFi add-in cards etc.?

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Probably the 10G transceiver is eating up that much power.....
I looked at my Buffalo WXR-5950AX12 dual 10G WiFi 6 router, the rated power is already 40W

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So what? If You can't afford of electric bills then don't buy it or turn off when no use it.

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Maybe ServeTheHome will review it and tell us exactly what the power usage actually is when in use.

Copper consumes considerably more on multigigabit speeds compared to fiber optic.

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I think they are just covering for the cases where everything is plugged in, cause external PCIe cards and copper SFP-s can draw quite a lot.

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I saw the announcement of this devices a couple of weeks back, and I must say it's a really interesting device, depending on the final price of course.

The devices can run openwrt, I saw a video about it, but is was openwrt 21.xx.xx
I was wondering how this works with support, will openwrt create a release for this device or do the updates fully depend on the banana pi developers? because in that last case I'm a bit worried about the update process.
Maybe someone has some experience with the software on BPI-R3?

@VA1DER is a fan of BPI-R3 - any feedback on ^ ?

The device is very... very interesting.

First of all the BPI-R3's communication to its four-port switch is internally limited to 2.5Gbit. Which for normal use isn't a huge limitation, since it has no single connection greater than 2.5Gbit. But it's nice if your four port GBE switch can actually handle 4Gbits to the CPU so that the board can serve up data to all clients with no bottlenecks.

The BPI R4 eliminates that bottleneck. The R4's Filogic 880 has three internal MACs. The first MAC is connected to the four-port switch and can handle the full 4gbit/s of that switch. The other two MACs are 10gbit and connected to the R4's 2 x SFP+ ports via USXGMII.

Besides that the other points about the board making me anticipate it greatly are:

  • The R3's SoC is already pretty impressive, with 4-core A53 @ 2GHz. The R4's Filigoc 880 is 4-core A73 at 1.8GHz. That's a two - threefold increase in computing power.
  • 4GiB RAM - the R3's 2GiB already made it a very useful device for much more than just as a router (I use mine as a general purpose server), so double that and it's a very interesting device
  • The M-key m.2 interface on the R3 and R4 are nominally only for NVME SSD. But I've tested my R3's interface with all sorts of things, including various mPCIe and PCIe boards (via form adapters) and it works with most. I have no reason to expect the R4's m.2 will be any different.

There are a couple things on my concern list though, and they all concern the mPCIe WiFi 7 daughter board.

  1. The placement of the daughter board under the main board is going to be something you need to be very careful with thermally.
  2. The daughter board shown in pre-release has a 4T5R WiFi 7 6GHz radio and 4T4R radios for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, with an added dedicated antenna for DFS detection. That's fourteen antennae. That's a recipe for terrible mutual interference, even just through the way one antenna (even if it's not being transmitted on) will passively shape the signal of another. Fourteen antennae on one device requires some serious thought and attention given to their placement. That's the ham radio experience in me talking.

I suggested to @BPI-SINOVOIP that they combine the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio outputs on the daugher board with signal mixers to give 4 x 2.4+5GHz antennae and 5 x 6GHz antennae. That is a much more workable scenario, given how easy good dual-band antennae are to get. I suspect they are already too far along the development cycle to be able to though, but we'll see.

To address both points #1 and #2 above, I also recommended to them a case with the following characteristics:

  • Vertical orientation. A horizontal orientation will just trap the heat of either the main or daughter boards and require mechanical ventilation (something I don't like in a router that you want to put somewhere and forget)
  • Ventilation slots on the top and bottom, to allow good air flow up and then along the vertical surfaces (and heat sinks) of both the main and WiFi daughter boards.
  • Thought given to internal cable routing.
  • RF-transparent plastic, so as to be usable with internal antennae. Not all plastics are equally RF-transparent. Acryllic and ABS are both good choices.
  • Two or three internal antenna mount-points along the "flat" of each vertical side so that two or three of each band's antennae can be internal ones with signals directed out the sides. This will improve overall coverage and reduce mutual interference.
  • Sufficient mounting holes along the edges so that two or three of each band's antennae can be good external ones you can alter the orientation of.

With Banana Pi, their cases tend to be an afterthought. I have not yet bought a case from them that I have not had to alter or machine to add either antenna or ventilation holes to. BPI has in the past wanted to encourage third-parties to buy their boards in quantity to put together with their own cases. They really want to be an OEM for someone else. This has so far not really materialized, so I encourage them to give more time and attention to their cases.

That-all said, some of my reservations stem from the fact this board is almost too good. :wink:

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Thank you for the extensive comment.

I've seen devices with 4 ports with a total limit of 1GB so 2.5 already is better.
I read your reaction about the interference and cooling issue also on the bpi forum.
I always assume(hope) manufacturers are taking this kind of stuff into a count. but of course we can't be certain until someone gets there hands on the device.

I think you have a lot more knowledge about this stuff then I do.

Do you have any info on the software/openwrt support? how is this handles, is this handled by the openwrt team? or do you depend on the bpi team for making openwrt compatible?

For the goal I have in mind the R4 is a bit of an overkill, but the improved memory and cpu in comparison to the R3 might be interesting.

I'm planning the use the device as router, and part if my roaming network. On top of that I'm planning to use docker for pi-hole ans some NAS system. so the NVME part is also interesting, but there also is a lot of stuff on the board I don't need.

What I'm also wondering, but probably no one knows untill after the release is how do I know which SPF modules are compatible, I checked for the R3, but nowhere could I find a straight answer.

Usually generic modules are okay.

First of all Sinovoip (BPI) works quite closely with MediaTek on the designs - in fact MediaTek sort of views BPI's boards as their demonstration platforms and gives them technical assistance. Since MediaTek pays an OpenWrt developer to work on WiFi drivers, this pays off for BPI. Also Dan Golle does a lot of work getting BPI stuff into OpenWrt.

BPI's boards get support in OpenWrt very quickly. The basic device tree support for the new R4's Filogic 880 went into OpenWrt two months ago.

People say that about the R3 too. And sure, if you look at it from one perspective, they are overkill. But on the other hand, an R3 costs only a third more than a Redmi AX6000, and if you were to walk in to Staples and try and get a WiFi 6 dual band that supports OpenWrt, you'd be lucky to get out of there and ONLY pay as much as a BPI-R3. You can do so much with them, to me it doesn't make sense to save $40 and have something that can only do one thing when for just a little more you get something you can throw at almost any requirement.

For the R4, SFP+ modules should actually be a little easier to find right off than SFP was for the R3 in the beginning. Getting 2.5Gbit SFP for the R3 was a little hard at first because they were already becoming a bit scarce in the wild before the R3 came out. There are lots of SFP+ options out there. @Boromini's right, the generics usually work.

There are a few on Ali Express - since the R3 came out, a few vendors have drafted off its popularity to revitalize 2.5GBit SFP sales. Just search for BPI-R3 there. Here are a couple:

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that is really good to know, that way I know they are committed to get it to work. On my current AP, there are a few issues because all chipset details are closed source as I understand.

sure, but 3 simslots are not needed, also at the moment I can't have any internet connection faster then 1Gb/s. Sure people might use this, but for me it's an overkill.
The reason why this one is interesting indeed is also the BPI pricing.

I know, I found some on ali, still they do not match my ISP requirements, so maybe I need to look further,
If I for instance look as FS.com I'm always required to select a brand, But I can't select the correct one,
So that makes it a little harder, but as soon as I have full specs, I will search and ask around :wink:

What are your ISP requirements? Are you looking for copper or optical?

I think Fiber is optical?

My ISP specifies

  • TX: 1310 nm
  • RX: 1490/1550 nm
  • SC/APC plug

where SC/APC is the plug which goes into the FTU.

from what I understand once I found the module I have to order the wire SC/APC to whatever the module specifies.

Any updates on this?
Availability date? Price?
I think this is the one I have been waiting for...

There is no availability date released yet (I even checked on their Chinese page)

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