RPi router board?


4 posts
by fsegura » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:49 am
Last morning I stumbled upon some tweet comparing commercial router costs and performance with the RPi.

Well, it sure does make sense. Before posting this, I did a quick search on the forum and found no one talking about a hardware solution, topics about routers are basically about converting the RPi in a simple wireless router, which, I like to think, would render RPi into an early Fonera. That's nice, but I'd like to bring the sugestion:

Shouldn't the Raspberry Pi Foundation consider making a RPi model that has dual (hopefully gigabit) ethernet and a wireless chipset?

I know there are many solutions currently on the market that would fill the gap, like Mikrotik's, but it might be feasible to maintain a good price point and still having some profit reverted to the Foundation if, for instance, the video support was dropped. Of course, I know nothing about hardware design and, as such, am probably dead wrong, but... here's the idea. 8-)
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by SirLagz » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:02 am
Plug in another USB NIC ?
The current NIC is still a USB device.
There's no point giving it gigabit ethernet and wireless as any addons will be USB based, and will add to the cost.
May as well leave the choice up to the user if they want WiFi or another Ethernet NIC and let them buy a USB.
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by fsegura » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:11 am
SirLagz wrote:Plug in another USB NIC ?
The current NIC is still a USB device.
There's no point giving it gigabit ethernet and wireless as any addons will be USB based, and will add to the cost.
May as well leave the choice up to the user if they want WiFi or another Ethernet NIC and let them buy a USB.


Sure. But keep in mind that I'm talking about a new device, with communications relying on a dedicated controller rather than USB. For instance, Atheros sells WiSoC's that sport a CPU, a wireless chipset, two ethernet connections and even a USB port, all on the same package. I know that users can buy a cheap router that has this kind of IC, but, as it happens to be true, network hardware makers are currently known for selling either crippled and affordable or full-fledged and incredibly steep devices. That's when my idea enters the stage: providing network hardware that does a decent job and won't cost, say, usd120.
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by jbeale » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:26 am
I think the R-Pi foundation is already maxed-out just managing their current product. By all accounts they are not considering any new designs right now; within the next year, it looks like probably just a few small bug-fixes to the existing R-Pi (plus the camera board, a LCD DSI-LVDS bridge board, and the cheaper 1-USB port R-Pi Model A).

There are quite a few other embedded-Linux boards available, although I don't know of any with gigabit ethernet that could be called "cheap". Don't underestimate the added value the R-Pi foundation has been able to leverage by the huge following they attracted based on (1) low price and (2) education purpose / nonprofit status. A lot of people have been hacking on it and contributing back to the community. The other products like BeagleBoard, Olinuxino etc. do not have nearly the following that R-Pi has.
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