All News | Boards | Chips | Devices | Software | LinuxDevices.com Archive | About | Contact | Subscribe
Follow LinuxGizmos:
Twitter Google+ Facebook RSS feed
(get email updates)

OpenWrt router card plugs into a mini-PCIe socket

Aug 1, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,774 views
Tweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

[Updated: Nov. 22] — AsiaRF’s “AP620-MPE” is an OpenWrt WiFi-ac router based on Mediatek’s MT7620A. It plugs into a mini-PCIe slot but is somewhat non-standard, mechanically.

Unlike many other OpenWrt Linux router boards running on MIPS-based WiFi chipsets, AsiaRF’s AP7620-MPE board is not a standalone single-board computer, but an add-on card that give its host WiFi-ac routing capabilities.

Although AsiaRF describes the board as an “11ac WiFi Router in mini PCIe form factor” the original “AP7620-MPE-1” model’s 60 x 42mm size is larger than the standard 51 x 30mm mini-PCIe form factor in both dimensions. The illustration below compares the AP7620-MPE-1 OpenWrt router to the company’s AWPCIENAP2 card, which conforms to the standard-sized mini-PCIe form factor.



AP7620-MPE-1 compared to AsiaRF’s standard-sized AWPCIENAP2 mini-PCIe AP/router
(click image to enlarge)

Given the AP7620-MPE-1’s stretched dimensions and non-standard mounting hole locations, it’s unlikely that the AsiaRF card would be usable on many off-the-shelf SBCs, COM carrier-boards, or motherboards. However, custom-designed SBCs or COM carrier boards could fairly easily support the card’s requirements while still being compatible with standard mini-PCIe add-ons.

However, following our original report, AsiaRF informed us that it has introduced an updated version of the AP7620-MPE-1, designated “AP7620-MPE-2.” The newer version changes the module’s shape and provides mounting holes matching those of a standard-sized mini-PCIe card. Specs are otherwise identical. See farther below for a board photo and a size comparison illustration.

 
AP620-MPE details

The AP620-MPE (in either version) includes a USB 2.0 to Ethernet bridge, enabling it to interface to its host board via the mini-PCIe socket’s set of USB signals. The card’s on-board WiFi subsystem supports AP/Client modes, and is said to be “ideal for multi-purpose installations for sharing wireless connections.”



AP7620-MPE conceptual diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The AP7620-MPE’s Mediatek MT7620A “router on a chip” is one of the MIPS-based WiFi connectivity chips associated with MediaTek’s acquisition of Ralink. The chipset includes a 580MHz MIPS 24KEc core with WiFi capability. The AsiaRF mini-PCIe card is available with 64MB or 128MB of DDR2 RAM, and 8GB or 16GB of flash.


MediaTek MT6720x block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The AP7620-MPE provides an 802.11ac,b/g/a/n radio with 2.412GHz/2.472GHz and 5.15GHz/5.875GHz frequency ranges and up to 433MHz transfer rate. The WiFi sub-system is augmented with an iPex antenna connector and 64/128-bit WEP, TKIP, WPA, WPA2, and AES security. Other features include a UART, 8x GPIOs, and 1.5V, 3.3V and ground signals.

The table below shows the AP7620-MPE’s 52-finger mini-PCIe edge-connector’s signal assignments.

Pin

Signal
1

RTS_N (GPIO)
3

TXD (GPIO)
5

CTS_N (GPIO)
7

RXD (GPIO)
9

GND
11

NC
13

NC
15

GND
17

UART TXD2
19

UART RXD2
21

GND
23

NC
25

NC
27

GND
29

GND
31

NC
33

NC
35

GND
37

GND
39

+3.3Vaux
41

+3.3Vaux
43

GND
45

NC
47

NC
49

NC
51

NC
Pin

Signal
2

+3.3Vaux
4

GND
6

+1.5V
8

DTR_N (GPIO)
10

DCD_N (GPIO)
12

DCR_N (GPIO)
14

RIN (GPIO)
16

NC
18

GND
20

NC
22

NC
24

+3.3Vaux
26

GND
28

+1.5V
30

NC
32

NC
34

GND
36

USB_D-
38

USB_D+
40

GND
42

NC
44

LED_WLAN#
46

NC
48

+1.5V
50

GND
52

+3.3Vaux

The product is said to be available with one of three SDKs: the official MediaTek SDK, a MediaTek OpenWrt SDK with MediaTek WiFi driver, and an OpenWrt.org SDK with its own open WiFi driver.

 
Revised AP7620-MPE-2 with standard mounting holes

As mentioned, following AsiaRF’s release of the original AP7620-MPE-1, the company introduced a revised “AP7620-MPE-2” version with mounting holes that match those of standard-sized mini-PCIe cards.



AP7620-MPE-2 with standard mini-PCIe mounting hole locations
(click image to enlarge)

The image below compares the original AP7620-MPE-1 to the revised AP7620-MPE-2, and to the company’s fully standard-sized AWPCIENAP2 mini-PCIe card. The 51 x 60mm -2 version is double the width of the standard, 51 x 30mm mini-PCIe form factor.


Left to right: original AP7620-MPE-1, revised AP7620-MPE-2, and standard-sized AWPCIENAP2 mini-PCIe card
(click image to enlarge)

Other than its differing dimensions and mounting hole locations, the specifications listed for the AP7620-MPE-2 appear to be identical to those of the original AP7620-MPE-1.

 
Further information

The AP7620-MPE-1 is currently listed at $38 in single units, which includes a choice of one of its three available SDKs, plus $30.50 shipping to the US, while pricing for the AP7620-MPE-2 is not publicly listed. Production pricing was expected to be $20 in 1K+ OEM volumes. More details may be found at AsiaRF’s AP7620-MPE-1 and AP7620-MPE-2 product pages.
 

(advertise here)


PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

Please comment here...