Running an RTL-SDR on an old OpenWRT Router

With the rising cost of computing hardware like Raspberry Pi's, Jaime Badillo decided to instead make use of one of a cheap old router, and set it up as an RTL-SDR server. To do this, Jaime took his old router and installed on it the free open source firmware OpenWRT, which is essentially a Linux operating system. Once this was completed, he was able to SSH into the router and install the RTL-SDR drivers and rtl_tcp software just as he would with a Raspberry Pi 4.

Jaime has uploaded a tutorial document that shows how to installed OpenWRT, how he configured the network settings and how he installed the RTL-SDR drivers and connected to rtl_tcp remotely via SDRSharp. The tutorial is written in Spanish, however we have uploaded an English Google translated version here. Jaime has also uploaded a YouTube video showing the router server in action.

SDR# receiving data from rtl_tcp running on an old router.


  1. Bernd Bausch

    If you are looking for cheap, low-powered, silent computers, you may be interested in Thin Clients. The HP t520, for example, has up to 4GB of memory and no fan. I bought mine at an auction for about 20$, added a 64GB SSD and installed Debian on it. It’s idle power consumption is about 7W. Compared to Raspberries, it’s a bit bigger but comes with a very nice case and plenty of ports.

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