N100 vs BPI-R4

I'm currently using an Edgerouter 4 and am looking for something a bit more powerful. I'm stuck between these 2 devices and am looking for a bit of advice. From what I can gather, these seem to be the key pros and cons of each.

Banana Pi R4

  • power efficient
  • better hardware offloading? (Unsure exactly how much processing can be offloaded)
  • 10g sfp+ (unsure if the chipset can handle 10gb)

Intel N100 (AliExpress)

  • more performance
  • better support
  • stable OpenWRT support
  • 4x 2.5g RJ45

I currently have a 900/110 connection over PPPoE (stupid BT) but have plans to move to 2.3 gbit symmetrical connection once it's available.
I'm not sure if this will be PPPoE or DHCP as this can depend on provider.

I'd like to also use this device to mess around with, I'd like to try and load a few services onto the device and mess around with SQM, is the BPI-R4 powerful enough?

Does a Linux on the PC with virtual machines for any embedded-like firewalls ring the bell?
Banana or PC with SFP is best choice if User-friendly BT offers SFP+ GPON converter.

AFAIK, BT does not let you run SFP(+). You have to use an ONT provided by them and connect through an RJ45. How these ONTs connect over the fibre cable is not well documented and somehow uses the serial number of the device. Not worth the hassle of trying to circumvent.

I would be getting the faster speed through a different fibre network once they're available, but again, I believe that they will provide an ONT and I would need to connect via RJ45.

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The nanopi R6s device (WIP) might be of interest.

SFP+ ONT module is not 10GbE, it has provider side interface to program your internet connection profile while SFP side is likely 10GbE fixed speed.
This finding means no point acquiring SFP+ slot.

I have actually seen this before. I only mentioned the other 2 because the BPI-R4 has a chipset designed for networking (Filogic 880). It has some form of dedicated hardware for networking. (confusingly called an Networking Proccessing Unit which is in no way related to a Neural Processing Unit.)
By comparison, the N100 should in theory be able to brute force its way through.
The NanoPi R6S seems to trade that NPU for 4 extra A55 cores when compared to the BPI-R4 which is why I'm asking about the features of the NPU and what would be offloaded.

I also have about £170 on my Amazon account, the BPI-R4 is ~£150, the N100 is ~£200 whereas the R6S is ~£220 with little benefit over the N100.

Unless you want something very specific that only the BPI-R4 can provide, N100 all the way. R6S is a joke for that price.

with my current ISP and ONT, there would only be a 1GbE link speed. But an altnet provider is coming and will provide a different ONT. (I would be migrating from the BT Openreach FTTP network to the CityFibre FTTP network.) This new ONT would support link speeds up to 10G (including 2.5G and 5G) and I would be using a faster package on this new network. (the ONT is the Nokia XS-010X-Q as far as I can tell)

Would SFP+ make sense in this case? One draw to the R4 is that if I get a package faster than 2.5G, the SFP+ cages should be able to handle it.The rest of my network is 10GBase T capable anyway.

No, there will be no use for sfp+ port.
If provider certifies/sells something like https://www.zyxel.com/service-provider/na/en/products/fiber-oltsonts/xgs-pon/sfus/pm7010-r0 then yes.

I thought you could use something like this and just connect to the RJ45 port on the ONT?

As long as I use a CAT 6A cable, wouldn't this work?

Looking at the datasheet of the Nokia ONT does confirm support for 1/2.5/5/10Gbase-T.

I also checked on the BananaPi wiki and one of the accessories listed is an RJ45 10G transceiver.

No, PON is not ethernet. There is provider programmable element in CPE, with most compact form being the sfp connector.

BPI R4 (Filogic 880) has hardware QoS acceleration, and tons of other hardware offload features. Think of Filogic 800 as Communication ASIC with powerful enough CPU and plentiful I/O (PCIe lanes/USB 3.1) for other applications.

Really depends on what you want to experiment, a general purpose PC is always more flexible one may say. Also more power consumption for running 24/7. Routing, switching will be brute force done by CPU. Inefficient but gets the job done.

Among the three options, personally I'll rule out N100 first.

The choice between BPI R4 and Nano Pi R6S will be down to money optimization to what you need. R6S is a more power efficient version of N100. E.g. if you also plan to run media server/transcoding, then R6S is a better choice (than R4) as it comes with a media engine, bonus GPU, display output and much more powerful ARM p-cores (than R4).

On the other hand R4 has 'plentiful' PCIe lanes which could be of general purposes. One specific application is of course WiFi 7, which neither 1Gbps or 2.5Gbps RJ45 connectivity has sufficient bandwidth. So one either connect WiFi 7 AP through a SFP+ port (to R4). Or in case of R4, you can plug in a WiFi 7 module in its PCIe ports. Not only solve the bandwidth issue but also come with hardware acceleration if specific MediaTek WiFi7 solution is used.

All the quoted prices seem a bit outrageous. Aliexpress should be much cheaper? Haven't looked into details, just saying. R4 base board could be bought on Aliexpress for less than $100.

There is no "hardware qos" suppported in Linux kernel....

i have both bpi-r4 and n100 w quad 2.5G port. Got another n300 as well.
longtime edgerouter user.. ERL --> ER4 --> ERXG
and currently bpi-r4 is in testing to replace ERXG. And that say a lot about MT7988 processor.
As iis with the latest openwrt snapshot, bpi-r4 can forward at line speed (10G) on the spf+ ports (plus vlan, pppoe all offloaded). that means when forwarding, 0% cpu is used. full offload.
But it is a work in progress

  1. only one of three offload cores used. there is a nultiple offload core patches in testing
  2. RSS/LRO is being worked on

so the short is that currenlty bpi-r4 can already replace your ER4 and is future proof as things get worked out.

the two sfp+ ports are key to bpi-r4. you can already get 8port sfp+, 8port 2.5G+1SFP+, 4port2.5G+2SFP+, 4port2.5G1SFP+10GBE switches on the cheap now.. so u can scale however you want.

bpi-r4 at less 100 bucks is a no brainer. I got mine with the factory casing and recycle heatsink and power supply from my tool box.

Depends on which Linux you have in mind. Hardware QoS is obviously a hardware feature that demands driver support from the vendor.

MediaTek's fork has evidence of support HQoS. So it's up to open source community & MediaTek to upstream the codes:


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Not directly related to your question, but it might be important. What sort of 2.5Gb adapters does that N100 have? Be careful with Intel.

Unlike their great GE chips, de 2.5G ones seemingly all come from a Monday batch.

If you look up the i225, all 3 revisions have problems (A, B, C).

The i226 is supposedly another model, but I saw references that it should have been called i225 revD. It’s better, but still. The AFAIR -V version is more power efficient.

I used to have a Chinese router with i226 NICs, it was very picky about the network cable. The cable which previously worked without problems for years between an APU2 and a Unifi AP could only bring up the link at FE speed. I managed to get another cable which worked, but rarely it still had problems. Kernel error messages and interface restarts happened sometimes. Note that the AP can only handle GE speed, so I did not try to leverage the faster NICa of the router.

I eventually sold that crap and went back to the reliable, well supported APU2.


For the prices asked for the APU2 or SW302DA, you could just as well buy a Dell Edge 620.
Only drawback is the 620 not being fan less.

Yes, and? I did not recommend the APU2, just warned about the Intel 2.5G NICs. For my use case the APU2 is more optimal.

the N100 ones tend to all be i226-V based.

I've heard about all the issues with the i225 line and how the i226 was just a revision, but thought that those problems were now fixed. You don't see these devices with anything BUT intel 2.5g NICs.

I'd personally like to see one with just 2 AQC113 NICs but perhaps the CPU can't handle that. Maybe we need to wait for Skymont/Crestmont.

I've ended up buying a Banana Pi R4, so thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

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