NanoPi R2S OpenWrt miniRouter – great for testing

The new FriendlyElec R2S is more fully described as NanoPi R2S: a Raspberry Pi alternative that incorporates two Gigabit Ethernet ports. That’s not strictly true, it is nothing like an alternative to the Raspberry Pi 4, for example, but with 1GB RAM it runs OpenWrt – the FA version which works straight of of the box – no problem – I set it up recently and it works perfectly – I needed to test my Spanish Raspberry Pi which is on a different subnet to my UK installation and the R2S did the job perfectly.


The R2S arrived as a smallyellow boxed unit that looks remarkably like one of those inexpensive Mango mini-routers. I perhaps should have held onto this blog entry until suppliers start stocking the R2S, but I had an immediate use for this device using the FriendlyArm supplied image – check their WIKI.

This lovely little init was ready to go, needing only for me to download the above OpenWrt image onto an SD (I had a 16GB microSD handy) and power up with a USB supply (not provided). As you will see in the photo, the microSD sits in the corner of the board, opposite the Ethernet blocks. I connected the Ethernet leads, USB and plugged in an SD – that’s it.

R2S from FriendlyArm

My need in this example is for a router with WAN input and one LAN output (for the Pi which has to sit on subnet 192.168.1.x) – my internal network as it happens is 192.168.14x so I simply plugged the WAN connection into my network and the LAN connection into my Raspberry Pi.

Well, not quite, the R2S software by default sets the LAN to 192.168.2.x and it took all of 30 seconds to change that to 192.168.1.x – and add a passord (default none) to user ROOT.

Regular readers will know I’ve set up LOTS of FriendlyArm boards with various operating systems but in this case all I needed was the stock OpenWrt software from the FA site. You might be interested in their FriendlyCore (Ubuntu) software if you want something more ambitious.

I’ve already noted some comments in here about speed (good or otherwise) of this mini router… my experience so far suggests not trying to pretend it is a proper router (like a Draytek or similar) but for testing and experimenting it’s great fun and doesn’t tie up an expensive router.

Let’s have your comments… have you used the Previous model – or ever come across the Mango I mentioned?


12 thoughts on “NanoPi R2S OpenWrt miniRouter – great for testing

  1. Nice device, we’re using at work the previous model, the R1S, which has as option an 8gb emmc module, strange they did not add this as an addon in newer model… And it has a nice full metal case, too… You can get a gl-inet Mango router for about 22€ if your only need is routing, and have it run mosquitto, too… But on this little beast you can even run nodered, as it has 1gb ram!

        1. Hi Pete,
          “iPerf is a tool for active measurements of the maximum achievable bandwidth on IP networks.” iPerf is available for as a package for OpenWRT and there is also an installer for Linux, Windows and MacOS

          The tests I suggest will inform how well the R2S does the network job.
          – From a LAN host to the LAN port of the R2S will give an indication of the raw port performance (is the port capable of gigabit speeds (PCIe bus) or much less (USB bus a la RPi3)
          From a LAN host to the R2S WAN port will illuminate R2S CPU and routing performance
          From a LAN host to a WAN host will show the real world performance users might expect from using the R2S as a router


        1. Thanks D&M.

          It’s in Chinese so I could only swipe through, but found at 6:19, a graphic shows 941Mbps – indicating actual gigabit capability of the ports

  2. For ~$29 (the price of cheapest NanoPi R1) you can get a normal router, where you can install OpenWRT as well. I have it installed on very old Cisco EA4500 (old, but 1Gbit/s) and it works like charm, even with all set of features like squid cache, dnsmasq, transmission for torrents, UPnP, AirPlay, miniDLNA, Samba, FTP, etc and in addition you have bult-in switch 1Gbit/s and Wi-Fi capability (2.4 & 5 GHz). So my question is… what this NanoPi is for?

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