Chipset Vendors: MediaTek
Taiwanese chipset manufacturer MediaTek started out in the optical drive and home entertainment segments, then moved to dominate the smartphone and mobile chipset markets. In 2011, the company bought Wi-Fi chipset manufacturer Ralink, whose chips could be found in every router vendor's devices, marking its entry into the networking chipset space. Ralink itself had previously purchased its major competitor TrendChip in 2010, acquiring ADSL SoC expertise.
MediaTek Router SoCs
MediaTek's integrated SoC offering, the MT7623A/N, was announced in Q2 2015, with optimizations for audio/video streaming. With a storage accelerator and the OpenWrt standard, this chip has the flexibility to enable very capable NAS setups as well.
Intended for IoT gateways and media routers, the MT7683 was announced in Q3 2015, and it differs from the MT7623A/N systems in some key areas—noticeably, the introduction of a Mali 450 GPU. This allows the 7683 to display the status of connected IoT devices on a monitor or TV. IoT control is provided by the MT7687 SoC, MediaTek's first ARM Cortex-M4-based IoT Wi-Fi solution.
The MT7683/23 chips support a number of content streams over cable, Bluetooth and BLE for wearable devices. NFC is enabled for quick setup. Wi-Fi is delivered via the powerful 802.11ac Wave 2 MTC7615 transceiver, announced in Q1 2015.
A power-efficient IoT SoC, the MT7687, was announced in Q2 2015. With a maximum power output of 21 dBm, this chip works as a stand-alone IoT gateway or with the MT7683 as a powerful smart-home solution.
|Model Number||Year||Processor Specs||Wireless Specs||Additional Capabilities||Used In|
|MT7623A/N, MT7683, MT7687||2015||Quad-core 1.3GHz ARM Cortex-A||Embedded 1x1 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi + BluetoothIntegrated MT6625L Radio||5p GbE SW, RGMII and TRGMII32b LPDDR2/DDR3/L up to 2GBSPI, NAND Flash, SDXC, eMMCUSB 3.0(2), USB 2.0 OTGPCIe 2.0 Host(3)I2C, UART(4), SPIs, GPIOsAudio interface: SPDIF, I2S(32b, 384Kb), PCMHW storage accelerator (Samba> 100MB/s)2 Gb/s IPv4/6 routing, NAT, NAPT+HQoS, Packet SamplingHW Crypto Engine ~400-500 Mb/s IPSec throughput||Unknown as of yet|
|MT7621 A/N/S||2015||200MHz ARM Cortex M4F||1x1 802.11 b/g/n embedded, IoT||Integrated security engineOpen SDK||Unknown as of yet|
|MT7621 A/S/N||2014||Dual-core MIPS1004Kc 880MHz (Single core on the S/N variants)||3x PCIe Hosts802.11ac Wi-Fi with transceivers MT7612E+MT7603E (AC1200 config) or 2xMT7615(AC2600 config)||5p GbE SW+RGMII16b DDR2/3 up to 256/512MBSPI(2 CS), NAND Flash, SDXC, eMMC, USBHW storage acceleratorHW Crypto Engine||Buffalo AirStation WSR-1166DHPD-Link DIR-860L rev B1Linksys RE6500Asus RT-N56U B1Netgear WNDR3700v5|
|MT7620 A/N||2013||MIPS 24KEc 580MHz||Integrated 2x2:2 802.11 b/g/n||Support external PA/LNA5p FE SW+RGMII(2)16b SDR/DDR1/DDR2 up to 256MBSPI, NAND Flash, SDXC, eMMCUSB 2.0 Host/Device||Asus DSL-N16UBuffalo WHR-300HP2D-Link DIR-810L rev B1Linksys EA6100Netgear R6050TP-Link Archer C20iTRENDnet TEW-810DRCamera - Belkin F7D7602 v2Repeater bridge - Linksys RE2000 v23G mobile router - NetComm 4GM3W-01|
|MT7628 A/K/N||2015||MIPS24KEc 575/580MHz||2T2R 802.11n 2.4GHz||Support external PA/LNA5p FE SW or 1p IoT mode16-bit DDR1/DDR2 up to 256MBMT7628A: full functions with external DRAMMT7628K: embedded 8MB DRAM and L-shape 2L PCBMT7628N: same as MT7628A, w/o PCIe, w/o IoT mode||Asus RT-AC1200|
|MT7510/MT7511||2014/2015||MIPS 34Kc 750MHz||1x PCIe Host||Four-port Fast Ethernet Switch1x GbETRGMII and RGMI interface for external LAN devicesPCM for VoIPSmart Packet Accelerator||Asus DSL-N17UAsus DSL-AC68UAsus DSL-N16Asus DSL-N17U B1|
MediaTek's most popular offerings are MIPS-based SoCs. The MT7621 A/N/S powers everything from mid-tier routers to access points. Another comprehensive low- to mid-range SoC, the MT7620, is also used in a variety of networking applications, and is extremely popular across all market segments. The MT7628 family is an update to the popular 7620.
An integrated xDSL (VDSL2/ADSL2+ IAD) and router solution, the MT751x series, is designed for a flexible networking system design, also containing a little bit of everything. Interestingly, these chips adopt a twin-CPU solution consisting of a 32-bit MIPS CPU and an xDSL Discrete Multi-Tone (DMT) engine.
Although Ralink was absorbed by MediaTek, its last few chips were showing up in routers as late as 2013. And the sheer number of devices powered by Ralink silicon means you can't quite forget about the company's SoCs. The 6855 was the last Ralink chip to show up for FCC approval in 2013. Both the 6856 and the 6855 were powered by the dual-core MIPS 34KEc 700 processor. The RT63XXX family of xDSL router SoCs were still being used for new devices as late as 2014 by a loyal TP-Link (in one case, married to a MediaTek transceiver; TP-Link's TD-W8951ND v6 was powered by Ralink's RT63365E and MediaTek's MT7601E).