Banana Pi Opensource Router R1 Overview and Wireless Test

Banana Pi Router R1

Banana Pi M1 is the handy dandy development board that can handle anything from Apache server to OwnCloud. The Banana Pi R1 is a routerfied version of the M1 with the same SoC, Allwinner A20, but now with 5 Gigabit ports, and wireless support. This router offer good performance and most importantly can run on a variety of operating system including Android, OpenWrt, Raspbian, Fedora...



Unboxing

The inner container of Banana Pi R1 is quiet nice, it looks decent and is easy to open, but the outer container is wrapped with tape, so get you scissors ready for some though times:p 


Specifications



  • A20 dual core 1GHz processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 Gigabit LAN, 1 Gigabit WAN
  • 1 USB 2.0
  • 2 micro USB (Plug power cable to the one on the side!)
  • SATA for 2.5 inch drives
  • Micro SD (For operating system)
  • Wireless a/b/g/n dual band with antenna connectors

Quick Start

Download Banana Pi R1 image (Android if this is your first time), and Phoenix Card writer (for android img) here
Extract the zip package.
Format a micro SD card (8 GB minimum) FAT 32.
Run PhoenixCard.exe from the Phoenix folder
Select the drive letter corresponding to the micro SD card.
Select the Android image downloaded from the package or from bananapi.com
Select boot and press Burn

Connect power adapter to the micro USB that is on the outer side (at least 1.35 Amps, I tried with 800 mAh and the system crashed all the time)
Connect Ethernet cable to the single port apart form the four port cluster. 


Connect HDMI display (optional).


Connect to the network and go to "10.0.0.1" to access the OpenWrt router interface. (password: root)

Wireless Test

I ran some wireless tests with antennas salvaged from an older router. Antennas are a must have and they boost the wireless range dramatically. If you do not have antennas, go buy some because it is not going to work if you are more than 5 feet away. I only did 2.4 GHz benchmark because I cannot get the 5 GHz signal to broadcast on the R1.  


BPI R1 with antennas (android default settings)

1 feet away
  • 32.14 Mbps download
  • 11.57 Mbps upload
1 wall away
  • 10.96 Mbps download
  • 11.57 Mbps upload
20 feet 2 walls away
  • 3.48 Mbps download
  • 11.08 Mbps upload

TP Link TL-WR 841N (DD-Wrt defaults)

1 feet away
  • 47.64 Mbps download
  • 11.62 Mbps upload
1 wall away
  • 44.09 Mbps download
  • 11.22 Mbps upload
20 feet 2 walls away
  • 23.57 Mbps
  • 9.15 Mbps

Conclusion

The Banana Pi R1 is definitely a fun project with decent performance for real applications as well. Though it can not compete with the legendary $20 TP Link router in performance in 2.4GHz, the R1 has more processing power than even $200 routers. The R1 is ideal for a NAS as it has a SATA port for a 2.5 inch hard drive and it is also good for a VPN server or a TOR router. 

This is the R1 overview and I will post more R1 projects in the coming weeks! Most M1 projects will also be compatible with the R1 if it runs on Raspbian or similar Linux OS.