QCA9880 vs MT7612E


#1

I'm going to buy one of these Mini PCIe cards for my router. Both are at similar price.
Which one has better hardware and has better support from OpenWRT?

  1. WPEA-352ACN Mini PCIe WiFi Module QCA9880
    Heard some complainings about Ath10k driver.
    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/SparkLAN_WPEA-352ACN
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/WPEA-352ACN-Mini-PCIe-WiFi-Module-QCA9880-802-11AC-3T3R-Wireless-WLAN-card-Support-Killer-1420/32858839311.html?spm=a2g0s.13010208.99999999.259.1ca13c00Pfpc1r

  2. MTK MT7612 2x2 21dbm 5GHz 802.11ac/n/a 867Mbps MT7612E MiniPCIE
    I see that MT76 driver development is quite active right now, which is a good thing.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MTK-MT7612E-2x2-21dbm-802-11ac-b-g-n-867Mbps-MiniPCIE-NIC-PCBA-ODM-OEM/32816737559.html?spm=a2g0s.13010208.99999999.265.1ca13c00Pfpc1r


#2

I have a 8Devices Jalapeno with Ath10k and on stable branch it kicks 5ghz off, I am on snapshot which was suggested and it seems a lot better. I also hear Ath10k is nothing what Ath9k was so keep that in mind.

I'd say the MT76 looks to be hot right now.


#3

Yeah I also thought that ath10k would be a good choice because ath9k was a legend, but apparently it's not as good as ath9k was.


#4

To consider, I've got four different kinds of ath10k-based devices, including four Archer C7s in constant use for years, now with both AP and 802.11s mesh running, without any issues.

(I can't comment on the MTK as I don't have any personally.)


#5

I also have ath10k in operation for several years now with no big problems. Maybe ath9k was better in the past but 802.11ac support is a big improvement for me over 802.11n.

But: why only buy QCA9880? This chipset is from June 2013 and you have to be careful to get the v2 revision BR4A. The v1 revision AR1A is not supported by current ath10k and thus does not work with current OpenWrt revisions.

That's a 11ac Wave 1 chipset, three streams.

If I were you I would prefer newer ath10k chipset, pick one by yourself:
https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Qualcomm_Atheros#Peregrine.2FBesra.2FSwift.2FBeeliner.2FCascade

e.g. QCA9984 is well known from Netgear R7800 and has proven OpenWrt ath10k support. Also it's 11ac Wave 2 with 4 transmitters, 4 receivers and 4 streams, so likely better wireless performance.

QCA9984 is from November 2015.


#6

Yeah I'm aware of BR4A, thanks. The QCA9880 card I posted in the first post is BR4A version.

QCA9984, MT7615 etc are amazing but pricey and overkill for my requirements.
Most of my clients are 1T1R and a few 2T2R devices.


#7

Most of my clients are also single or dual stream.

I recently upgraded from QCA9880v2 3x3 three stream to QCA9984 4x4 four stream. Even for my Smartphone I now have good 11ac coverage and higher connection speed while before on QCA9880 v2 I only got 2.4 GHz 11n coverage some walls behind the router.

I don't know if that's the beamforming or just 4x4 diversity, but the coverage area and distance connection rate speed is really better also on single stream stations.


#8

I want to say mt7612e

Unfortunately, that link looks like it's one of those pre-production samples. It has a worthless EEPROM that prevents the card from working properly.

ath10k is problematic as well. but comparing those two cards, go QCA9880.


#9

The seller is official UniElec vendor. Their routers are modular. https://openwrt.org/toh/unielec/u7621-06
They are selling base router board + MiniPCIe WiFi cards + case + antennas + U. FL IPX pigtails either built or separately.
Unlikely they will sell those faulty MT7612E chips but you never know... I'll ask them.
Thanks for letting me know about the EEPROM issue!
Can you give me a link for the EEPROM issue? I'm curious about it.


#10

I know at least one mt76 developer has them. He can't get them working.

If these cards are not pre-production samples, you should be good to go then.


#11

WOW! Thanks for pointing that out, still can you give me a link. So I can send it to the vendor.
UniElec is the manufaturer of the router.
The MT7612E Mini PCIe card I ordered is original card sold in if you buy the router as a bundle.
I read the comments for the router and people were saying it was working fine.


#12

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MTK-MT7612E-2x2-21dbm-802-11ac-b-g-n-867Mbps-MiniPCIE-NIC-PCBA-ODM-OEM/32816737559.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.72374c4dDOVCuT is what it says on my order page.

I assume they've updated their process to put proper EEPROM data.

I reported here: https://marc.info/?l=linux-wireless&m=154870650921498&w=2


#13

Oh you bought from them too?


#14

There is a feedback from a buyer. He said he couldn't get it to work on his desktop PC.
And here is seller's response

Seller’s Reply

Hi, Our product page clearly indicate this module only have Linux and Openwrt driver and request 5V support for the external RF chips. 
Pleae read the page carefully before you place the order. Thanks,

As I said, this wifi card is made for their routers which has 5V support.
They mentioned that in the description.


#15

Why not avoid all these little details and just buy an well supported cheap OpenWrt 11ac router and configure it to dumb AP mode? https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/bridgedap

Then you are free to use a powerful router hardware you want and you can use standard OpenWrt supported cheap wifi hardware that just works.


#17

Not buying it. The card powers on. It registers with the driver. That's not the reason why it doesn't work.

I purchased Jun. 30 2017. They probably fixed the EEPROM issue.

Again, QCA9880 is a sure bet. It has its problems but since they are known, they can be worked around.


#18

Yeah probably they fixed it.
I ordered mt7612e because mt76's development is quite active.
I'll write here about its EEPROM when I receive the card.
Thanks


#19

I don't know what your problem was but I have this exact setup Unielec U7621- Mediatek MT7621 & MT7612 + MT7602 wifi

Same router, same wireless card from same vendor. It should work fine.

The vendor responded today about the eeprom issue:

we write the right eerpom info the efuse of modules. But some user use default eeprom info on Flash.

According to this issue report https://github.com/openwrt/mt76/issues/128
the eeprom on the efuse needs to be used