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Cards on the table: Which boxes have working WiFi?


leossire
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I figured I’d start a generic chat for this as I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know other peoples experiences on this. 
 

I’ve bought and run armbian on a number of boxes (x96, Trongle, a95x) and always run into the same problem, WiFi. I know I am not the only one and I know the reasoning behind it (too many chips to support)


But…

 

Has anyone got a build working with WiFi support? Ideally on a board less than $50? 
 

Amlogic, Rockchip, anything? 
 

I’ve never failed to get other aspects working, except WiFi (and Bluetooth) 

 

I know it must be possible, Android builds never seem to fail with WiFi support. 
 

Any feedback is much appreciated. 
 

thank you. 

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Armbian Linux community supported weekly builds download

Hi! 

 

@hexdump is right 

I think the best way to figure it out is first, to find out what wifi chip the board has. If the package armbian-firmware-full has support to it, you're good to go 

 

I had good experiences with rockchip boxes. They're the cheapest ever, and always with the same two supported wifi chips (ssv6051 or ssv6252). If you want to bet on one of those cheap Chinese boxes,put your bets on MX9 or MX10 boxes. 

 

MXQ boxes has a good chance to come with a rockchip CPU, but there arr fake ones with the AllWinner H3 CPU (whose wifi isn't supported). But it also worthy trying 

 

Take your time finding a box and come back if you need support with it! 

 

Good luck.

(You'll need it lol)

 

 

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the ssv6x5x chips are not supported in mainline or with anything else than the meanwhile quite dated rockchip legacy tree and as the existing sources and docs for them are so bad (and i guess the hardware design as well) they most probably never will be supported in mainline.

 

mxq boxes can have everything in them: they exist with allwinner, amlogic and rockchip socs in them combined with a large variety of wifi chips. tv boxes can be fun to play with but never expect anything to be too well - you might win the lottery and get a really good one with supported wifi,good case, power supply and heat sink etc. and you can end up on the other end where the 4gb/32gb emmc box you bought in reality is just a1gb/8gb nand box with unsupported wifi there the first components fall off the board after a few weeks. i think the second option get more and more likely nowadays :)

 

enjoy those toys if you run across them, but better do not trust in or rely on them ...

 

best wishes - hexdump

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1 hour ago, hexdump said:

the ssv6x5x chips are not supported in mainline or with anything else than the meanwhile quite dated rockchip legacy tree and as the existing sources and docs for them are so bad (and i guess the hardware design as well) they most probably never will be supported in mainline.

 

mxq boxes can have everything in them: they exist with allwinner, amlogic and rockchip socs in them combined with a large variety of wifi chips. tv boxes can be fun to play with but never expect anything to be too well - you might win the lottery and get a really good one with supported wifi,good case, power supply and heat sink etc. and you can end up on the other end where the 4gb/32gb emmc box you bought in reality is just a1gb/8gb nand box with unsupported wifi there the first components fall off the board after a few weeks. i think the second option get more and more likely nowadays :)

 

enjoy those toys if you run across them, but better do not trust in or rely on them ...

 

best wishes - hexdump

Frame this post and pin it in the forum registration page! :)

 

Moreover, ssv6x5x chips are working just on rockchip platforms, no mainline kernel, definitely if anyone gets an ssv6x5x is not lucky at all.

I think the best wifi you can find in common tv boxes is one of the broadcom derivatives (the AmPak AP* series): slim and good opensource driver, good throughput, often working bluetooth, generally available firmwares.

I don't have enough experience with realtek chips, but looking at their drivers... well, they are not really well engineered and the latest burst of discovered vulnerabilities is just a confirmation of bad source code.

Then there are the mixed bags: esp8089 (very good opensource driver, simple design, only 802.11n and no bt though), allwinner XR series (weak and unstable drivers in the past, don't know now).

 

But, as @hexdump said, it is a lottery: you won't know what you will get. One consideration can be helpful: getting a box with wifi + bt will exclude all the wifi-only chips (ssv6x5x, allwinner XR, esp8089), which increases the chances to get broadcom or realtek chips, which at least work well with mainline kernel.

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4 hours ago, balbes150 said:

(ssv6051 or ssv6252

Adding to what balbes150 said, there is no support of these chips in mainline modern kernels.  Obviously there is support (poor if you look at the source code) in legacy kernels and therefore Android.  But the focus of Armbian is mainline and therefore from the perspective of Armbian, these chips are completely unsupported and really unsupportable.

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