Allwinner A20-Boards?

  • Hello!

    I've been looking for more actual information on this topic. I've been following the discussions on Banana Pi and Banana Pi Router, Beagle Bone Black and alike.

    From this forum and the FreeBSD-wiki¹ it looks like the platform is now supported natively (w/o virtualization as mentioned in earlier postings). Is this correct?

    I'd like to know, whether there is already a testing image of pfSense available, or if the development was discontinued (on the snapshots server there is no hint on arm². The main discussions seem to have ended in April.

    Is there anything the community could help you with?

    I am personally looking forward to setting up a Banana PI + Powered USB Hub + ZTE MF831 LTE modem (in cdc mode or serial) + Realtek USB WLAN Adapter(s) (MultiSSID) + VLANs + OpenVPN + 2nd Modem for a remote serial access and I would prefer to do this with pfSense.

    Thank you, best regards


  • The forthcoming 2.4 release will feature an ARM built for this device:

    I doubt that other ARM processors will be supported from day one on.


    …Realtek USB WLAN Adapter(s) (MultiSSID) + VLANs + ...

    Don't waste your time with USB adapters, be it wired or wireless. FreeBSD is not particularly well known for its driver support (especially of consumer grade gear).
    Support for server-grade hardware is more likely.
    Well, this is not Linux.

  • Hello Jahonix!

    Thanks for your straightforward answer!

    That SG-1000 is surely sophisticated low-cost hardware for a fixed location routing/firewalling use case, but not quite what I am looking for in my personal project. I am planning to use it in connection with an USB LTE-Modem in my mobility solution, which the SG-1000 will probably not support due to a lack of full featured USB-Ports.
    While I guess, that FreeBSD would support a "driverless" CDC oder RNDIS modem as well as a usbserial-Modem. (One can easily switch modes in a non-volatile way on that ZTE device).

    I also understand that, the Banana PI, which is based on the A20 with it's ARM7 technology and overloaded graphics core isn't quite the expected use case for pfSense. Pragmatically seen it's market available, relatively cheap and replaceable hardware with even more capacities in regard to memory, cores and clock speed, than the ARM8-powered SG-1000 for approximately 33-40% of the SG-1000's costs. (And I wouldn't use the Banana PI for graphics anyways, since the is no real open source driver for accelerated graphics, and compiling those available sources is a PITA, due to the lack of documentation.
    Also, I don't count on too much throughput anyways, which is limited by the USB-connected components. That's probably still interesting for many people like me.

    What I don't understand in your reply is, why pfSense (2.3), which is based on FreeBSD 10.3 shouldn't support the Banana PI board, too?
    Referring to, the Banana PI is a fully supported hardware, but I probably misinterpreted the lines indicating that the A20 is fully supported and "Cubieboard 1, Cubieboard 2, Banana Pi, and Banana Pi M3 are supported by the Crochet build tool."
    Am I getting this wrong?

    The USB-device in question is a rather old RTL8188SU, that I believe to have tested successfully a while ago with an rc of pfSense 2.2. I don't worry about that piece of hardware.

    The fact that pfSense isn't Linux is the reason I've been using it for quite some time now. Don't misunderstand me, I still love Linux, especially Ubuntu, Debian and Mint, but I am not sure, if these are meeting my requirements for stability on a firewall (been there, done that) on the long run. Switching to pfSense saved me a lot of time and worries (besides some minor problems with VLAN right in the beginning - see, and issues with the old package management).

    I don't know whether the Banana PI could be working stable with pfSense. Therefore I asked for the actual state of development.

    Could I probably just take a FreeBSD image and set pfSense up manually on top of it somehow?
    For the upcoming 2.4 release - are there testing builds already? Where to find them? (snapshots doesn't list arm).


  • Developers have stated that a 2.4 build will support the SG-1000 hardware and probably only this hardware. The goal for 2.4 is not to run on every ARM hardware out there.

    2.4 is available from the snapshots page in amd64 flavour.

  • Well in short:


    What indication in the exclusive list of amd-builds there would lead me to the assumption to be dealing with an arm image, exactly?

  • amd64 <> ARM
    There are no publicly available ARM builds, the hardware that will run it isn't yet released.

  • How to contribute then?

  • How to contribute then?

    pfSense his main supporter is ADI and they are assembling and build hardware and of course
    selling this hardware too! If there will be a pfSense image for Raspberry PI, who is buying then
    the hardware from the pfSense store or ADI? If you want to play around with you could play
    also with FreeBSD on that ARM devices.

    Better of thinking that universal support of pfsense will be out there, it might be
    better in my eyes to see one or two time a year that we get hands on an pfSense
    ARM image that fits onto SolidRun ClearFog Base and/or Pro boards or other devices
    that let us turn it more or less into firewalls.

  • What I don't understand in your reply is, why pfSense (2.3), which is based on FreeBSD 10.3 shouldn't support the Banana PI board, too?

    Because ARM uses Device Tree so for every board there is a Device Tree Source file that describes the hardware to FreeBSD as there is no Plug and Play or ACPI. Notice a separate FreeBSD ARMv6 image for every supported board.. ARM64 is looking better with a generic Kernconf.
    So Netgate is building a custom DTB for their device. This is in your best interest as the stuff on Arm is in a constant state of change. They need to ensure a quality experience and not worry about supporting a $35 platform.

    pfSense is open source so you could port it to Allwinner. Enable FDT. Write a DTB.

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