Best SBC to run as network relay with "high" bandwidth


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Hi Armbians ;)

 

As the title already says, I would like to know what the best 5V SBC`s are to be used as network relay? The board should have a minimum of 1,5 GB RAM  and it should be able to handle about (or even more then) 50 MBit/s synchronous network bandwidth by ethernet plug 24/7.

My standart board for this use is the Cubietruck/ Cubieboard3. But this one is only able to handle traffic about the 25 MBit/s range.

Same for Banana Pro by Lemaker. It can handle a little bit more then the CT, but not that much.

I also have a Khadas VIM Pro (V1) and a Hummingboard by SolidRun avaliable but never tested them for this szenario.

 

Maybe there are some nice priced alternatives someone can recommend??? And I know about the RPI4 and that it would fit for my needs, but I prefere different brands.

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The Nanopi R4S seems to be worth a try! :)

But why not the standart GBE interface? Wouldn‘t it be able to handle the traffic?

Overheating would not be a problem as it would be in a DC with full AC cooling.

 

What about the Khadas Vim Pro (V1)? Anyone ever tried it for this use case?

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Am 19.1.2021 um 12:05 schrieb Werner:

The 1st interface is native connected to RK3399, the 2nd one is connected via PCIe.

Since you mentioned relay I assumed you want something with two NICs...

 

Still recommended to glue a heatsink on for better passive cooling at least.

 

One interface is enough for my needs.

But this board looks like a nice choise and the price is fine too! :)

Should be given a chance ;).

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On 1/17/2021 at 5:51 PM, MarkLuun said:

As the title already says, I would like to know what the best 5V SBC`s are to be used as network relay? The board should have a minimum of 1,5 GB RAM  and it should be able to handle about (or even more then) 50 MBit/s synchronous network bandwidth by ethernet plug 24/7.

 

Atheros 9331 can do this all day long on 100-Base-T... 400MHz MIPS32

 

[SUM]   0.00-10.00  sec   102 MBytes  85.5 Mbits/sec                  sender
[SUM]   0.00-10.00  sec   101 MBytes  84.4 Mbits/sec                  receiver

 

64MB RAM/16MB SPI-NOR - running OpenWRT

 

If you need a bit more horsepower to route traffic - MV3720 on Gigabit can do wire speed there...

 

Alternate for 1GB - QCA IPQ-40xx - I've got a IPQ-4019 board running QSDK (based on an older OpenWRT with QCA special sauce), and it can route actually better than the MV3720 - and that's a QuadCore Cortex-A7...

 

Key thing here - AR9331/MV3720/IPQ4019 - these are all communications focused devices, not application processors/boards...

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Am 5.2.2021 um 05:06 schrieb sfx2000:

 

Atheros 9331 can do this all day long on 100-Base-T... 400MHz MIPS32

 


[SUM]   0.00-10.00  sec   102 MBytes  85.5 Mbits/sec                  sender
[SUM]   0.00-10.00  sec   101 MBytes  84.4 Mbits/sec                  receiver

 

64MB RAM/16MB SPI-NOR - running OpenWRT

 

If you need a bit more horsepower to route traffic - MV3720 on Gigabit can do wire speed there...

 

Alternate for 1GB - QCA IPQ-40xx - I've got a IPQ-4019 board running QSDK (based on an older OpenWRT with QCA special sauce), and it can route actually better than the MV3720 - and that's a QuadCore Cortex-A7...

 

Key thing here - AR9331/MV3720/IPQ4019 - these are all communications focused devices, not application processors/boards...

Nice tips, thanks a lot. But all these seem to be a bit to low in RAM for what i need them. Sad they do not have higher RAM versions then the 512 MB or 1 GB avaliable.

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On 1/22/2021 at 6:06 PM, MarkLuun said:

Any other recommendet boards to run a TOR relay with +50 MBit/s on?

 

Hmm, I like to support Tor network also.  I came here at first to warn you it's not recommended to run it from your own home / business but when looking for the link it appears that the Tor Exit Guidelines are in fact no longer making such cautious recommendations.  :o  Well, the last I read that page was probably a couple years ago, so I consider the fact that Tor nodes seem to be becoming more mainstream accepted is very good progress!  :thumbup:

 

Personally, I would still follow rest of recommendations there, as it can still be a bit "touchy" IMO (especially exit nodes) but I guess I am just a worrier.  :lol:  Well, instead of standing on the sidelines like a coward and giving advice I suppose I should instead thank you for doing your part, and having the courage to actually stand up a node and grow/participate in the network, which I was too afraid to do so far.

 

So, cheers, mate.  :beer:  :thumbup:

 

Back to actual subject, my thought process went along in order of a few (in my mind, at least) distinct groups:

  • There are many COTS[0] devices like those supported by OpenWrt / LibreCMC but those tend to be lower in specs, especially in RAM.  But they are (sometimes / often) cheaper.
  • Then there are network oriented boards supported in Armbian like ESPRESSObin, Clearfog Base and Pro which all meet your RAM requirements.  These are more powerful, but also more expensive (last time I checked).
  • Lately, I personally have been looking very closely at ROCKPro64.  Now this is a general (not network specific) board, and my use-case is NAS.  However what I like about ROCKPro64 is that there is a standard PCIe x4 slot right on the board already.  Several RK3399 based boards support PCIe, but often through nonstandard GPIO pins or other fiddly interfaces, meaning you have to buy special hardware (which can and have sold out), or fabricate your own to do anything useful.  Which is too fragile supply chain IMO when considering replacements / spares.  I really like the idea of a standard PCIe port, as all standard PCIe hardware now becomes available to us (presently and in future).  A really smart decision on their part, and one of reasons I started paying more attention to Pine64 recently over their competitors (as it's a bit puzzling to me why more companies have not followed suit).
  • There may also exist some other cheaper board meeting your requirements, but I couldn't tell you what that might be offhand (maybe someone else can) as I never performed research for those particular set of requirements yet.  However, as a general rule, nowadays I pretty much exclusively use Armbian Supported Devices List as a starting point for any research.  Mainly because I have learned that the nicest sounding ("on paper") hardware means nothing without the proper software support.  Even then, it is well advised to follow up on specific board(s) of interest by searching relevant subforums here, their hardware page, and the greater Internet to become aware of any specific little niggles / gotchas which may exist for any particular board and application.

Kindly report back how your research comes along, to make it a bit easier on the next guy coming along looking for similar requirements.  ;)

 

[0] Consumer Off The Shelf

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Am 10.2.2021 um 20:34 schrieb TRS-80:

 

Hmm, I like to support Tor network also.  I came here at first to warn you it's not recommended to run it from your own home / business but when looking for the link it appears that the Tor Exit Guidelines are in fact no longer making such cautious recommendations.  :o  Well, the last I read that page was probably a couple years ago, so I consider the fact that Tor nodes seem to be becoming more mainstream accepted is very good progress!  :thumbup:

 

Personally, I would still follow rest of recommendations there, as it can still be a bit "touchy" IMO (especially exit nodes) but I guess I am just a worrier.  :lol:  Well, instead of standing on the sidelines like a coward and giving advice I suppose I should instead thank you for doing your part, and having the courage to actually stand up a node and grow/participate in the network, which I was too afraid to do so far.

 

So, cheers, mate.  :beer:  :thumbup:

 

Back to actual subject, my thought process went along in order of a few (in my mind, at least) distinct groups:

  • There are many COTS[0] devices like those supported by OpenWrt / LibreCMC but those tend to be lower in specs, especially in RAM.  But they are (sometimes / often) cheaper.
  • Then there are network oriented boards supported in Armbian like ESPRESSObin, Clearfog Base and Pro which all meet your RAM requirements.  These are more powerful, but also more expensive (last time I checked).
  • Lately, I personally have been looking very closely at ROCKPro64.  Now this is a general (not network specific) board, and my use-case is NAS.  However what I like about ROCKPro64 is that there is a standard PCIe x4 slot right on the board already.  Several RK3399 based boards support PCIe, but often through nonstandard GPIO pins or other fiddly interfaces, meaning you have to buy special hardware (which can and have sold out), or fabricate your own to do anything useful.  Which is too fragile supply chain IMO when considering replacements / spares.  I really like the idea of a standard PCIe port, as all standard PCIe hardware now becomes available to us (presently and in future).  A really smart decision on their part, and one of reasons I started paying more attention to Pine64 recently over their competitors (as it's a bit puzzling to me why more companies have not followed suit).
  • There may also exist some other cheaper board meeting your requirements, but I couldn't tell you what that might be offhand (maybe someone else can) as I never performed research for those particular set of requirements yet.  However, as a general rule, nowadays I pretty much exclusively use Armbian Supported Devices List as a starting point for any research.  Mainly because I have learned that the nicest sounding ("on paper") hardware means nothing without the proper software support.  Even then, it is well advised to follow up on specific board(s) of interest by searching relevant subforums here, their hardware page, and the greater Internet to become aware of any specific little niggles / gotchas which may exist for any particular board and application.

Kindly report back how your research comes along, to make it a bit easier on the next guy coming along looking for similar requirements.  ;)

 

[0] Consumer Off The Shelf

 

Thanks for the warning but after running between 20 and 30 TOR nodes for about 4 years already, I have seen most problems comming up with this. ;)

But you are right in the point, not to run an exitnode from your own home network.

In this case a middlenode is a good choise and make no problems at all. :)

Exits are better placed in a DC.

In Europe some good and cheap options are avaliable for this and own dedicated hardware via a SBC is a good way to go in safe environment.

 

I found the NanoPi Neo3 to be a good choise for this use case. But it’s just ramping up the traffic now. Will take some days to have results that count.

 

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What about these here?

 

- FriendlyELEC NanoPi A64 - 64bit A64 Quadcore 1GB Ram

 

- Radxa D4_512MB_LANonly Rock Pi S 512 MB Ram

 

They are a little low in RAM but could act as a nice middle- or guardnode.

Or is there anything that speaks against high bandwith throughput with this boards?

40-50 MBits traffic passing would be a good value and cheaper HW will be hard to find.

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I got my hands on a cheap and brand new NanoPi R1 with 1GB RAM now, that will arrive soon. :)

Should be a good choise for handling high network throughput (50-100 MBits in both directions) as i found out. 

Any personal experiences on this board? Its hard to find direct user rewiews online for this one.

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Maybe it will be up to you to write one?  :)

 

Thinking back more generally (and this has nothing to do with any specific board which has been mentioned), just because something looks sexy "on paper" (specs, etc.) does not mean it works out that way in reality.  As Igor alluded to, software support is very important, which is why I am always repeating about making sure any device you are considering is first on the Armbian Supported Devices list, where "Supported" does have some significant meaning, i.e., that you are likely to have at least a decent experience.  Maybe you know it already, but as I said, it bears repeating!

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Am 17.2.2021 um 00:44 schrieb TRS-80:

Maybe it will be up to you to write one?  :)

 

Thinking back more generally (and this has nothing to do with any specific board which has been mentioned), just because something looks sexy "on paper" (specs, etc.) does not mean it works out that way in reality.  As Igor alluded to, software support is very important, which is why I am always repeating about making sure any device you are considering is first on the Armbian Supported Devices list, where "Supported" does have some significant meaning, i.e., that you are likely to have at least a decent experience.  Maybe you know it already, but as I said, it bears repeating!

 

Yes, it seems I will have to :lol:

But this will take some time till I am ready..

 

What I can say for sure about the NanoPi Neo3 so far, is, that it does a good job in the datacenter. Ramping up the traffic may not be complete after 7 days, but at this point, it handles 50 MBits traffic in both directions  easy. CPU temp. is with a small fan and some aluminium heatsinks+ full AC in the colo room at 42 *C. System load: 8%

 

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Now, on day 10, after the node was started the Nanopi Neo3 reached a continous traffic of 80 Mbits. Its still doing fine and it is not overwhelmed at all! :) I think it could handle even more but i have some limits on the ISP site.

 

Thanks a lot Werner for the tip. These devices are like made for this job :).

 

An update on, how the R1 will do, will follow.

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On 1/19/2021 at 7:02 PM, MarkLuun said:

The Nanopi R4S seems to be worth a try! :)

But why not the standart GBE interface? Wouldn‘t it be able to handle the traffic?

Overheating would not be a problem as it would be in a DC with full AC cooling.

 

What about the Khadas Vim Pro (V1)? Anyone ever tried it for this use case?

VIM1 dont have GBE, and left USB port don't have enough power for USB hard driver. anyway it's good SBC, I have it.

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The NanoPi R1 is running in the DC for 17 days now.

But with one port connected (GBit WAN port) its getting ~26 MBits traffic in both directions done. A little bit disappointing as i had high hopes to see another beast like the Neo 3 in it.

I will try to connect the second port and split incomming/outgoing traffic between WAN/LAN port. Maybe this gives some better results. If not, i see no reason for this one to have twice the price of the Neo 3.

We will see...

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After having the NanoPi Neo 3 in use for some time, I can say the white case shipped by FriendlyElec is a little problematic seen from the site of cooling down the CPU.

The colocation room has full AC with 15 *C room temp but under high load, the CPU temp goes up to 61-62 *C.

I think something like this might be a better choise because the air flow is much higher:

 

https://www.ebay.at/itm/333921941529

 

The producer of this case told me another case with the possibility to add a 40 cm fan gets addet soon. Might even be better!

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