I like specifications of raspberry pi zero, and i want to make similar router-like device. The device is intended for some statistics monitoring, it should collect statistic from multiple hosts and aggregate it. Number of hosts is huge, and stability\latency is very important, so WiFI cannot be used. Device should have just simple web interface via Ethernet (like home routers usually do). But the board lacks ethernet port, and it have (unwanted/expensive) hdmi port. I dont need graphics at all.

What platforms, or boards are usually used for this product group? (What model usually used by developers while developing/debugging firmware for router-like or IoT-like devices?)

  • Hello and welcome. To get things straight here, you do not want to use HEC (HDMI Ethernet Channel) of the HDMI port - which the Pis do not support - but you want to use HDMI as Ethernet? That is certainly a huge task if feasible at all.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 10:15
  • the title of you post and the text of your post say differing things ..... what is your real question?
    – jsotola
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 18:28
  • @Ghanima I want to use(to find) a model of pi device, where hdmi is not soldered, and graphics is absent, but ethernet port is soldered and supported. In simple words i called this "to replace HDMI with Ethernet", while meaning physical ports. Dont dig too deep.. I am sorry for ambiguity :)
    – xakepp35
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 21:55

3 Answers 3


You still can use the Raspberry Pi Zero by using an USB to Ethernet adaptor. If you need the USB port for other purposes. You can use the pretty cheap ENC28J60 SPI to ethernet adaptor. The Raspberry Pi Kernel has the support for it built-in but it only offers 10 Mbit/s.

If you want to keep the footprint small, why not using Wi-Fi?

So it greatly depends on your need and willingness to leave the paths other have paved for your and wade in unknown waterst.

My recommendation is to stick with the Pi that suits your needs. Picking other boards may or may not be very frustrating to use.

  • It needs to aggregate statistics from large amount of hosts (500"1000+) with little-to-none processing(cpu may be quite weak, ram 512-1g). Each host sends a little, but they all would require ethernet. Wifi cannot be used because it has limited distance range, limited throughput, increased latency and radio link can be unstable. Also board should be as cheap as possible, so hdmi is another unwanted option, along with wifi. What pi model(or not pi) could you recommend?
    – xakepp35
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 9:56
  • You can still place a Wi-Fi access-point connected via Ethernet right next to your Pi Zero W. You could try to go with an Orange Pi Nano (discontinued) or Orange Pi Zero H2 if you want to spend more money, have fewer RAM and no community support.
    – kwasmich
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 10:12
  • @xakepp35 RPI is a prototype platform, for an locked down soc ic that requires qty100k for custom design, if you need cost savings, a custom platform around a common market architecture with networking peripherals is the only way forward , removing HDMI connector is $1 BOM line, not significant in any meaningful way, you need a prototype before you optimize cost. Welcome to the world of hardware development, good luck
    – crasic
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 22:42

If you really wanna have a small footprint with the least cost, invest any inexpensive OTG Male USB2 to Male Micro USB2 adapter ([1], [2], [3], etc.) to connect the USB port on your Rpi0 to any USB2 ports on your network device and configure the network device as a network bridge + your Rpi0 as a USB Ethernet gadget. Whatever you do, please don't get this Top Quality OTG Cable Mini USB 2.0 Micro USB OTG Converter Adapter. Despites claimed by the ad, it is NOT an OTG adapter! I had bought this USB Mini 5Pin Female to Micro 5Pin Male 90 Degree Angle Adapter to bridge my Rpi0 to a Seagate Dockstar as shown in a picture attached to my post which also shows how to configure an Rpi0 as a USB Ethernet gadget. As you can see from my post, I run into a reboot issue. I don't know if it is a localized issue or not, but feel free to give it a try.

  • Do your home router use such scheme? I highly doubt.. What i want - is a low cost developement board with ethernet, and microsd to be unable to brick it.
    – xakepp35
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 21:39
  • When my developed firmware would be considered stable, i want to order order PCBs with this chosen chip. But i want the platform to be essentially the same, e.g without graphics, without crutch adaptors.
    – xakepp35
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 21:41
  • @xakepp35 Raspberry pi, in any configuration is not a performance networking platform, it lacks MII interface for Ethernet Phy full speed access . Typically commercial devices have controllers with built in MAC and R/MII interface . If you need something quick USB Ethernet is the only way to move forward with rpi. On pi3 the Ethernet is connected via onboard USB route
    – crasic
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 22:34
  • You will not ever be able to order PCBs as the broadcom SOC is not available for common market consumption. It requires a contract with broadcom and MOQ commitment that is purportedly in the 100k range . This is a dead end for your product idea. Or, you need investment capital
    – crasic
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 22:50
  • @xakepp35: My home router is provided by my ISP. However, one can get some inexpensive WiFi router with a USB2 port and supported by OpenWRT to do the same thing for an Rpi0 like I did with a Seagate Dockstar.
    – user91822
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 3:12

As of Oct. 2018 all available variations of the models of the Raspberry Pi (Model A 1, 1+; Model B 1, 1+, 2, 3, 3+; Zero; Zero W) come with GPU and HDMI video output as well as HDMI connectors soldered to the boards. The only Raspberry boards that do not have any HDMI connectors attached are the Compute Modules (1, 3, and 3lite). These however also lack on-board ethernet connectivity.

Bottom line: there is no Raspberry Pi to fulfill this specification - yet, though I somewhat doubt we will ever see a Pi w/o video out given the mission of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and how the respective targeted use cases will dictate certain design decisions.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.