A WiFi router is basically a purpose-built computer, which is why some folks just build their own rather than buying an off-the-shelf option, and others replace the firmware that comes on their store-bought router with an open source alternatives such as OpenWrt or DD-WRT.
Looking for something in between? There’s the Banana Pi BPI R64. It’s basically a router board without a case and plenty of expansion options.
The Banana Pi BPI R64 is available from AliExpress for $64.
At its heart, the system is powered by a MediaTek MT7622 processor, which is a 1.35 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A53 chip. It also features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of eMMC storage.
There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports, support for Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11ac WiFi, and optional 802.11ac WiFi.
There’s are also a SATA interface for connecting an optional hard drive or SSD, as well as two mini PCIe 2.0 ports that you can use for storage if you want to use the system as a network attached storage device in addition to using it as a router.
You can also connect an optional 4G LTE modem to one of those PCIe slots if you’d like, since there’s a SIM card slot on the bottom of the board.
Other features include a USB 3.l0 port, a microSD card reader, an IR receiver, support for an optional Power over Ethernet module (sold separately for $10), and a 40-pin GPIO header.
The whole thing measures about 5.8″ x 4″ and supports several operating system options including Ubuntu Server 16.04, Debian 10 Buster Lite, AArch 64 Linux Lite, and OpenWrt.
via CNX Software