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Two new open-spec Banana Pi boards feature PoE

Aug 2, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 3356 views

SinoVoip is prepping an “Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero” update to the M2 Zero SBC that adds 8GB eMMC and 10/100 Ethernet with PoE. There’s also an upcoming “Banana Pi BPI-R64” router SBC with a dual -A53 MediaTek MT7622, 4x GbE ports, and PoE.

Most Chinese hacker board enterprises spring their SBCs onto AliExpress without much warning, but SinoVoip’s Banana Pi project likes to show its cards weeks or even months in advance. Over the last week, SinoVoip has posted wiki pages for its open-spec, unpriced Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero and Banana Pi BPI-R64 SBCs. Both boards support Linux and Android.



Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero (left) and Banana Pi BPI-R64
(click images to enlarge)

As noted in the CNXSoft P2 Zero and R64 reports that alerted us to these products, the Banana Pi preliminary documentation is sometimes unreliable. As an example, the R64 spec list is said to be for the BPI-M2 Ultra, which has an entirely different processor and feature set. We’ll save our full spec lists for the final shipping versions.

 
Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero

The Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero is almost identical to last year’s $21 Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero with a few major additions. The board adds 8GB eMMC storage, as well as a 10/100 Ethernet port with Power-over-Ethernet support available via an optional PoE module. The new board doubles the weight to 30 grams and extends the smaller dimension by 22.5mm giving it a 65 x 52.5mm footprint.



Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero rear view (left) and earlier BPI-M2 Zero
(click images to enlarge)

Other features are the same as the M2 Zero, which itself is an imitation of a Raspberry Pi Zero W. The P2 Zero board runs Linux and Android on a 1.2GHz, quad -A7 Allwinner H2+, which is like an Allwinner H3, but with HD instead of 4K video support. The SoC integrates a Mali400 MP2 GPU.


Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero ships with 512MB DDR3, a microSD card, and a WiFi/Bluetooth module. You also get MIPI-CSI, 40-pin RPi expansion, a mini-HDMI port, a USB 2.0 host port, and a power-only micro-USB OTG port. (For more details, see our Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero story.)

 
Banana Pi BPI-R64

The Banana Pi BPI-R64 follows other Banana Pi router boards including the Banana Pi BPI-R2 and more recent (and more multimedia friendly) Banana Pi BPI-W2. The board has more in common with the R2, which is available for $104 on Amazon. In part, this is because it similarly uses a MediaTek chip instead of the quad -A53 Realtek RTD129 used on the NAS-enabled W2. In this case, however, it’s a 1.35GHz dual-core, Cortex-A53 MediaTek MT7622 instead of the quad -A7 MediaTek MT7623N found on the R2.



Banana Pi BPI-R64 rear view with PoE module (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The MT7622 SoC is described as the “world’s first 4x4n 802.11n/Bluetooth 5.0 system-on-chip designed and built for premium networking devices.” The headless (no GPU) SoC features MediaTek’s Adaptive Network technology, which “allows for easy setup, network self-healing, roaming, band steering, Smart quality of service, advanced security and more,” according to MediaTek.

There’s also a dedicated Network Accelerator engine, which includes a storage accelerator, an HNAT HQoS function, and the MediaTek Wi-Fi Warp Accelerator. The latter connects the WiFi to the Gigabit switch/WAN connection via multi-Gigabit internal pathways and offloads the CPU from many-user throughput and QoS calculations at low power.

Common features with the R2 board include its 148 × 100.5mm dimensions, as well as its 8GB eMMC, 4x GbE ports, WAN port, microSD slot, IR receiver, 40-pin expansion connector, and mini-PCIe slot. The board has 1GB instead of the R2’s 2GB DDR3.

The headless R64 board has removed the R2’s HDMI 1.4 out port and MIPI-DSI interface, and there’s now only a single USB 3.0 host port instead of two. As before you get a SATA port, but the SATA power feature has been removed, and there’s no longer an option for a second SATA interface.

In addition to the SoC’s built-in 802.11n radio, the R64 has an apparently standard MediaTek MT7615 802.11ac chip. It’s unclear if the two WiFi radios can operate at the same time. A SIM card slot is available to support any 4G LTE card you might load into the mini-PCIe slot.

The PoE function, meanwhile, is available via an optional 12V 3A module that attaches to the bottom of the board. The board runs Linux, OpenWrt, and Android.

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was supplied for the Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero and Banana Pi BPI-R64 SBCs. More information may be found on SinoVoip’s Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero and Banana Pi BPI-R64 wikis. For more information on these and other Banana Pi boards, check out our June reader survey for Linux and Android hacker boards and the associated catalog of 116 community backed SBCs.

 

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