[Battlemesh] OT: Badly balanced devices

Daniel Golle daniel at makrotopia.org
Wed Feb 24 19:59:34 CET 2016

On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 07:39:17PM +0100, Juliusz Chroboczek wrote:
> > Marvel's wifi, which is a FullMAC (like Intel's iwlwifi) and I've had so
> > much trouble with that kind of design in the past
> Please tell us more.

Trouble such as the internal firmware of the FullMAC not allowing
Ad-Hoc mode in the 5 GHz band *at all*, not even connecting to
existing Ad-Hoc networks. Or doing Ad-Hoc only with very low
datarates, because as some might know, officially Ad-Hoc existed only
up to 802.11g and the spec was never updated for 802.11n or anything
beyond, so vendors don't need to implement that in order to get
certified. If the whole wifi-stack is provided by a uC built-into
the wifi chip, having it's own (signed & obfuscated) firmware, the
result is that only those things work which the chip and boards makers
care for. And they don't care about anything else than AP and Station
mode. And even there, they might get rate-selection, queuing, ... wrong
and then you just have to live with it.

> > I was very impressed by those MT7621 boards having fast DDR3, it's a
> > dual-core MIPS1004Kc, each with 2 threads (like HT on Intel's CPUs),
> > 2x GMAC, built-in gigabit switch, USB 3.0 and 3x PCIe to connect WiFi
> > chips...
> Please tell us more.

It's not that common to have a fast, up-to-date MIPS-core with 512megs
fast DDR3 RAM, USB 3.0 and every thing I'd ever dreamt of on a router
for less than $100.
And they usually come with mt76 wifi chips, ie. runs nbd's mt76 driver
and perfect with OpenWrt.
The MT76xx WiFi chips got an e-fuse which locks the country code and
transmit power to a certain target market, thus manufacturers won't
need to lock the whole firmware to comply with FCC/ETSI.
(google for MT7612E datasheet, it explains it)
Yet, it's a SoftMAC, ie. everything really important happends in the
I'll bring at least one such board to battlemesh :)

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