Allwinner H2+/H3 Ethernet with Linux 4.9-rc8

The Orange Pi PC is not a new single board computer. It’s been released for over a year now, but has mostly been stuck on a heavily patched 3.4 release kernel.

There have been ongoing efforts since the release to have support for the Allwinner H3 in the mainline kernel. In the past weeks there have been new patches released which enable support for the Ethernet MAC on the H3 (and H2+).

Unfortunately this support is not in mainline yet, and won’t make it in the upcoming 4.9 release. However, that doesn’t stop you from taking the patches and applying them against 4.9 yourself.

I wrote a script to compile the kernel from source, applying the necessary patches to the kernel and using a minimal .config file which compiles the sun8i_emac support as a module. You can download the build script from GitHub.

It does try to be somewhat smart: verifying the integrity of the downloaded files, and will bail out if there are errors in patching the source code. But, it doesn’t do toolchain dependency checking because that’s just too complicated. Since the emac support will end up in mainline soon, I doubt it’s worth the time to improve the build script. However if anyone is interested in improving it, the script is released as GPLv2.

The result? If you are patient enough to wait for the kernel to compile, you get a uImage and modules for Linux 4.9-rc8 with Ethernet support:

Allwinner H3 emac performance:

[email protected]:~$ iperf -n 1024M -c 192.168.1.150
————————————————————
Client connecting to 192.168.1.150, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 43.8 KByte (default)
————————————————————
[ 3] local 192.168.1.206 port 42572 connected with 192.168.1.150 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 3] 0.0-100.6 sec 1.00 GBytes 85.4 Mbits/sec

Orange Pi Zero (Allwinner H2+):

I’ve also just received my Orange Pi Zero and confirmed that the same kernel works on the Orange Pi Zero, so you can run Linux 4.9 on the Orange Pi PC (Allwinner H3) or Orange Pi Zero (Allwinner H2+) with Ethernet support.

Allwinner H2+ emac performance:

[email protected]:~$ iperf -n 1024M -c 192.168.1.150
————————————————————
Client connecting to 192.168.1.150, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 43.8 KByte (default)
————————————————————
[ 3] local 172.16.4.206 port 54762 connected with 192.168.1.150 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 3] 0.0-95.9 sec 1.00 GBytes 89.5 Mbits/sec

Download:
If you want to skip compiling the kernel yourself, I’m providing the kernel uImage and modules here.

I am using u-boot v2016.11 from denx.

Note: HDMI isn’t working on my Orange Pi PC, and since I run it headless I’m not interested in investigating why. If you’re using your Orange Pi PC with HDMI output, you may need to modify the kernel .config file to fix HDMI.

4 thoughts on “Allwinner H2+/H3 Ethernet with Linux 4.9-rc8

  1. Denis

    Thank you!
    Do you have stable 4.9 mainline? I hear that I might get PWM working with that one!

    Great job! I also have PC and Zero .. had a tonz of trouble with them.

    Reply
    1. Hal Martin Post author

      Hi Denis, I’d recommend downloading Armbian. They already have support for sunxi emac in their kernel and are doing work good to support PWM and WiFi.

      They also have an active forum where you can find more info.

      Reply
    1. Hal Martin Post author

      I would recommend you download Armbian:
      https://www.armbian.com/orange-pi-one/

      There are more people working on Armbian, and I can’t provide support for the Orange Pi One as I don’t own one myself. Armbian already includes patches for the Allwinner emac, so you’ll be able to use the SoC Ethernet with a recent kernel.

      Reply

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