23rd September 2023

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Technology and Computer

Banana Pi BPI-R4 Aims To Be the Heart of Your Home Networking Projects

Banana Pi has announced a new router board, the Banana Pi BPI-R4, based on the MediaTek MT7988A SoC featuring a quad-core Arm CPU. This board is not just another Raspberry Pi alternative, rather it is made to be an appliance for home networking and automation.

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Banana Pi BPI-R4 Router Board Specifications
SoC MediaTek MT7988A (Filogic 880) Row 0 – Cell 2
Row 1 – Cell 0 Quad-core Arm Corex-A73,1.8 GHz CPU Row 1 – Cell 2
RAM 4GB DDR4 Row 2 – Cell 2
Storage 8GB eMMC flash Row 3 – Cell 2
Row 4 – Cell 0 Micro SD Row 4 – Cell 2
Row 5 – Cell 0 1 x M.2 PCIe3.0 NVMe M-Key Row 5 – Cell 2
Ports 2 x 10 Gbe SFP slot (option 1x 10Gbe SFP and 1x SOC embedded 2.5Gbe PHY) Row 6 – Cell 2
Row 7 – Cell 0 4 x 1 Gbe network port Row 7 – Cell 2
Row 8 – Cell 0 1 x M.2 KEY-B slot with USB3.2 interface for 5G Row 8 – Cell 2
Row 9 – Cell 0 2 x miniPCIe slots with PCIe3.0 2lane interface for Wi-Fi 7 NIC (Network Interface Card) Row 9 – Cell 2
Row 10 – Cell 0 1 x USB3.2 Row 10 – Cell 2
Row 11 – Cell 0 1 x USB C Row 11 – Cell 2
GPIO 26 Pins Row 12 – Cell 2
Power 12V 5.2A or 19V 3.2A via DC jack Row 13 – Cell 2
Dimensions 100.5 x 148 mm Row 14 – Cell 2

The form factor of the Banana Pi BPI-R4 is more network appliance than single board computer. The plethora of Ethernet ports ( 2 x10Gbe and 4 x Gigabit) make this an interesting choice for those wishing to build their own router. The addition of optional 4G/5G and Wi-Fi 7 NICs means that this board could provide all the networking your home or office could need. If home automation, security or network storage is more your thing, then the BPI-R4 has plenty of options. The USB 3.2 port can be used with webcams and the GPIO with sensors to provide inputs for your security system and automation. PIR sensors can trigger your lights, temperature sensors can monitor your home, and cameras can be used to manage zones in your home. The onboard NVMe slot provides a means to build your own NAS system but you’ll either have to buy a large drive, or make use of the USB 3.2 port to provide additional storage. 

(Image credit: Banana Pi)

The MediaTek MT7988 SoC is designed for high performance networking, be they wired or wireless. This means it can handle all of your Ethernet connections, Wi-Fi 7, 4G and 5G. There are three nano SIM slots, offering redundancy across multiple carriers. An attractive proposition for building our own appliances.