Compex mini-PCIe cards supported?


#1

I'm looking to rig a powerful (fast) OpenWRT router, and notice (from other threads) that most of the relevant boards use off-board mini-PCIe WiFi cards, and are often sold with various Compex cards. As the ToH only lists the boards/full routers, I wonder which of the Compex cards are actually expected/supported to work with current OpenWRT.

Looking at the Compex site https://www.compex.com.sg/wifi-module/ they make a number of QualComm/Atheros based boards, ranging from QCA9377 to QCA9984 (roughly). They also talk up their QualComm QSDK based OpenWRT fork for their own boards.

What isn't clear is which of these WiFi boards can actually be fully used by standard OpenWRT.

For example their most powerful cards for 5GHz seem to be WLA1216V5-20 (narrow to fit in more cards) and WLA1216V5-23 (QualComm reference design, double output power (+3dB), but wider than normal cards). Both use QCA9984/QCA9994 4x4 MIMO.

Bundles with Main board+cards+box+ OpenWRT installed often use the cheaper cards such as WLE600VX (QCA9882 2x2 MIMO).

I would also need to buy a 2.4GHz card from the series of cause, so their support status would also be relevant.

(Note: Not really my first post, just the first after the forum was rebuilt).


#2

Compex cards have beed discussed several times. https://forum.openwrt.org/search?q=compex should give you a start.


#3

I did search, but found little, mostly old posts or short mentions of single cards in threads about other stuff (such as complete builds).

Even the dedicated Compex page is pretty short, and doesn't even list one of the device specific pages found by the search, indicating the page probably isn't up to date.

That's why I felt the need to start a new topic where those more closely familiar with the drivers could weigh in on what would make the Atheros drivers (Ath9k, Ath10k etc.) work or not with a chip/feature/board combination, and how this differs between the current and snapshot OpenWRT trees.


#4

That they are generally intended for client use and generally only operate on a single band at a time, for me, sums it up pretty well and is one of the reasons I use discrete APs (or repurposed all-in-one devices)


#5

If you look at the Compex page I linked to, you will see that their particular cards are mostly for use in modular routers, such as those based an a PC-engines APU series x86_64 mainboard or various ARM/IPQ mainboards.

For example their current top card WLE1216V5-20 (QCA9984) is 12mm tall and marketed as "Designed for High Bandwidth Enterprise Wireless Access Points" .

These aren't laptop cards.


#6

The WLE1216V5-20 is a 5 GHz card that I looked at for my own APU2 builds. The APU2 units are pretty strong, but by the time you buy a second card you might be at the limits of the power supply, drawing 8.5 W into each of two cards (assuming there is a comparable 2.4 GHz unit). At $80 a band, you're at $160 -- more than a decent, dedicated AP costs, even those with PoE.

I'm pretty sure that someone yesterday on #openwrt-devel had gotten a TP-Link EAP225 to boot OpenWrt. They're selling for $69 on Amazon (US) right now. (I haven't used one, but I believe others on the forum here have, or similar ones.)


#7

That TP-link product seems to be a 2x2 MIMO AP, single Ethernet port, unknown CPU, comparable to a Compex WLE600VX or WLE900VX dual band card on a fairly basic board.

I am looking for something faster than that. But thanks for warning me to double check the power availability on the various mainboards, I just remembered having to do the same about 10 years ago with my first custom router build (now relegated to a minor role).


#8

I don't believe that the WLE600VX or WLE900VX are capable of dual-band, simultaneous operation. It's been a while, but that's my recollection.

https://wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_EAP225_v3.x

I recall the discussion on IRC indicating that it was a 16 GB flash (Edit: Yes, see below)

15:54 mvnetbiz: so wiki says this has 8MiB of flash, but /dev/mtd seems to say 16MiB
15:55 mvnetbiz: init mtdparts=spi0.0:128k(u-boot),64k(pation-table),64k(product-info),1536k(kernel),14336k(rootfs),192k(config),64k(ART) mem=128M board=AP152

On the Compex cards, see, for example Best Wireless AC router for LEDE? and following.


#9

WLE600VX and WLE900VX are dualband, but single radio, so not concurrent dual-band (meaning you need two of them, one for 2.4 GHz (yes, you can pick something cheaper here), one for 5 GHz).


#10

Please stop your off-topic posts. This thread is about the Compex cards and their OpenWRT support, not all your opinions on why you prefer other products.


#11

:confused:

  • I assume your board has a miniPCIe slot and can install the ath drivers, correct?
  • So what's the problem?

I know some cards that require a wiring of a USB to them, I am only cautioned because your card's webpage mentioned USB 1.1.

I don't find his post off-topic, especially if you're seeking a card you believe will do simultaneous dual band. Further, the cards mentioned were Compex.