Sinovoip’s “Banana Pi BPI-R2” router SBC gives you 5x GbE, WiFi, BT, 2GB RAM, 8GB eMMC, SATA, and mini-PCIe, plus a quad-core -A7 MediaTek MT7623N.
The Banana Pi BPI-R2 updates Sinovoip’s earlier BPi-R1 router board, later called the Banana Pi BPI-R1. No pricing or availability information was provided, but full specs and schematics are posted. Like the R1 and other Banana Pi single board computers such as the recent Banana Pi M2 Ultra, this is an open spec board supported by the Banana Pi community. The Banana Pi BPI-R2 runs Android 5.1, OpenWrt, Debian, Ubuntu Linux, including MATE, and Raspbian
Banana Pi BPI-R2, front and back
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Like the R1, which debuted at $75, but no longer appears to be available, the R2 model runs Linux or Android, offers four GbE LAN ports, one GbE WAN port, and WiFi (802.11n) . Assuming its priced under $100, which seems possible given SinoVoip’s typically low prices, it will be considered a lower cost alternative to SolidRun’s 6-port, $180 ClearFog Pro and $110, dual-port ClearFog Base router boards. Other options here include the more fully open source Turris Omnia, supported as an invitation only project by CZ.NIC. The Turris Omnia debuted at $189.
Instead of using an Allwinner A20 SoC, the R2 breaks with Sinovoip’s all-Allwinner tradition by advancing to a quad-core, Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT7623N. Clocked to 1.3GHz and accompanied by a Mali-450 MP4 GPU, the networking-oriented MT7623 family is equipped with network and storage accelerator chips, as well as a multi-standard video accelerator.
The “N” version of the SoC adds audio bit stream input from HDMI and SPDIF, which MediaTek says is useful for Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) applications. It should be noted, however, that there’s no HDMI input or SPDIF on the R2 board. The SoC offers a hardware-based NAT engine with QoS that awards audio/video streams higher priority than other services, and adds support for both Gigabit Ethernet RGMII and TRGMII interfaces.
Banana Pi BPI-R2 angle views
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Earlier Mediatek MT762x based SBCs, such as T-Firefly’s FireWrt, MQmaker’s WiTi Board, and Asia RF’s Geek Force “did not end up being a commercial success,” according to CNXSoft, which first reported on the Banana Pi BPI-R2. The Geek Force uses an MT7623, but it was the base level version. The FireWrt and WiTi board were built on an older Mediatek MT7621A SoC based on dual, 880MHz MIPS cores.
In addition to offering a faster, more networking focused processor than the original R1, the Banana Pi BPI-R2 also adds Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, as well as an option for a second SATA interface, now updated to 6Gbps SATA III and supported with a SATA power interface. The 2GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB eMMC are also big upgrades over the previous 1GB RAM and still available microSD slot.
Banana Pi BPI-R2 detail views
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The Banana Pi BPI-R2 offers upgraded USB support with dual USB 3.0 host and a micro-USB 2.0 OTG port, and there’s now a mini-PCIe 2.0 expansion slot. The earlier 26-pin RPi expansion interface has been replaced by a 40-pin connector that is said to be compatible with the Raspberry Pi 3.
As before, you get HDMI 1.4 out and MIPI-DSI, but the MIPI-CSI camera interface has been removed. Other features include I2S audio, an IR receiver, debug UART, 3x LEDs, and reset, U-boot, and power buttons. The board retains its 148 × 100.5mm dimensions, but switches to 12V @ 2A DC power with a dedicated jack rather than micro-USB input.
No pricing or availability information was provided for the Banana Pi BPI-R2. More information may be found on SinoVolip’s Banana Pi BPI-R2 wiki.