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Virgin Media Superhub 2 Teardown

I recently got the latest upgrade from Virgin Media, 200Mbit DL / 20Mbit UL, and to get this I was informed I’d have to buy their latest hardware, since my existing CPE wouldn’t be able to handle the extra 5Mbit/s upload speed. (My bullshit detector went off pretty hard at that point, as the SuperHub 2 hardware is definitely capable of working fine with 20Mbit/s upload rates). Instead of having to return the old router, I was asked to simply recycle it, so of course the recycling gets done in my pretty unique way!

Mainboard
Mainboard

The casing of these units is held together by a single screw & a metric fuckton of plastic clips, disassembly is somewhat hindered by the radio antennas being positioned all over both sides of the casing. Once the side is off, the mainboard is visible. The DOCSIS frontend is lower left, centre is the Intel PUMA 5 Cable Modem SoC with it’s RAM just to the lower right. The right side of the board is taken up by both of the WiFi radio frontends, the 5GHz band being covered by a Mini PCIe card.

Atheros Gigabit Switch
Atheros Gigabit Switch

The 4 gigabit Ethernet ports on the back are serviced by an Atheros AR8327 Managed Layer 3 switch IC, which seems to be a pretty powerful device:

The AR8327 is the latest in high performance small network switching. It is ultra low power, has extensive routing and data management functions and includes hardware NAT functionality (AR8327N). The AR8327/AR8327N is a highly integrated seven-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with a fully non-blocking switch fabric, a high-performance lookup unit supporting 2048 MAC addresses, and a four-trafficย  class Quality of Service (QoS) engine. The AR8327 has the flexibility to support various networking applications. The AR8327/AR8327N is designed for cost-sensitive switch applications in wireless AP routers, home gateways, and xDSL/cable modem platforms.

Unfortunately most of the features of this router are locked out by VM’s extremely restrictive firmware. With any of their devices, sticking the VM supplied unit into modem mode & using a proper router after is definitely advised!

Intel Puma 5 CM CPU
Intel Puma 5 CM CPU

The cable modem side of things is taken care of by the Intel PUMA 5 DNCE2530GU SoC. This appears to communicate with the rest of the system via the Ethernet switch & PCI Express for the 5GHz radio.

Atheros WiFi SoC
Atheros WiFi SoC

The 2.4GHz radio functionality is supplied by an Atheros AR9344 SoC, it’s RAM is to the left. This is probably handling all the router functions of this unit, but I can’t be certain.

Atheros LAN PHY
Atheros LAN PHY

A separate Ethernet PHY is located between the SoC & the switch IC.

 

5GHz Radio Card
5GHz Radio Card

The 5GHz band is served by a totally separate radio module, in Mini PCIe format, although it’s a bit wider than standard. This module will probably be kept for reuse in another application.

Power Supplies
Power Supplies

All down the edge of the board are the multiple DC-DC converters to generate the required voltage rails.

MaxLinear MXL261 Frontend
MaxLinear MXL261 Frontend

The DOCSIS frontend is handled by a MaxLinar MXL261 Tuner/Demodulator. More on this IC in my decapping post ๐Ÿ™‚

The Unknown One
The Unknown One

I’ve honestly no idea what on earth this Maxim component is doing. It’s clearly connected via an impedance matched pair, and that track above the IC looks like an antenna, but nothing I search for brings up a workable part number.

2.4GHz Frontend
2.4GHz Frontend

The RF switching & TX amplifiers are under a shield, these PA chips are SiGe parts.

Atheros 5GHz Radio
Atheros 5GHz Radio

Pretty much the same for the 5GHz radio, but with 3 radio channels.

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AIX Gigabit Ethernet To USB Bridge

USB To Ethernet
USB To Ethernet

Here’s a chap eBay USB-To-Ethernet dongle I obtained for use with the Raspberry Pi Zero. This one is getting torn down permanently, as it’s rather unreliable. It seems to like having random fits where it’ll not enumerate on the USB bus. The silicon in the ICs will eventually make it here once I manage to get a new microscope ๐Ÿ˜‰

Main Chipset
Main Chipset

This is quite a heavily packed PCB, with the main Asix AX88178 on the left. This IC contains all of the logic for implementing the Ethernet link over USB, except the PHY. It’s clock crystal is in the top left corner.

Reverse Side
Reverse Side

Not much on the reverse side, there’s a 3.3v linear regulator at top left, the SOIC is an Atmel AT93C66A 4KB EEPROM for configuration data.

Vitesse PHY
Vitesse PHY

The final IC in the chain is the Vitesse VSC8211 Gigabit PHY, with it’s clock crystal below. This interfaces the Ethernet MAC in the Asix IC to the magjack on the right.

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Roku LT Teardown

 

Roku LT
Roku LT

Here’s another retired piece of tech that we used to route media from the NAS to the main TV. It was retired since it’s inability to support XBMC/Kodi & having some crashing issues.

Main PCB
Main PCB

After attacking the case with the screwdriver (Torx in this case), the main board comes out. The CPU in this looks *very* familiar, being a PoP device. There are unpopulated places for an ethernet interface & USB port here.

Flash & CPU
Flash & CPU

After a little digging is turns out the CPU in this device is a BCM2835, with 256MB of RAM stacked on top. It’s a Raspberry Pi! Even the unpopulated part for Ethernet is the same SMSC LAN9512!
There’s 32MB of Flash for the software below the CPU.
On the far right of the board is a Broadcom BCM59002IML Mobile Power Management IC.

WiFi Chipset
WiFi Chipset

On the bottom of the PCB is the WiFi chipset, a Broadcom BCM4336, this most likely communicates with the CPU via SDIO. There’s also a section below for a Bluetooth chipset.