In his last video YouTube user GusGorman402 showed us how to install OpenWRT and the RTL-SDR drivers on a cheap used $20 router. The idea is that the router with custom third party Linux firmware can be used as a remote device for streaming raw data from an RTL-SDR over a network connection. Normally something like a $35 Raspberry Pi is used for something like this, but an old router could be cheaper and should have even better network performance as it is designed for high data rates (assuming the CPU on your router is powerful enough to run the RTL-SDR).
In his new video Gus shows how to properly configure OpenWRT and RTL_TCP for WiFi streaming of radio data. This includes things like setting up port forwarding and determining network performance.
We’ve also seen this post by GoJimmyPi which was inspired by Gus’s original video. This is a text and screenshot based tutorial which goes through the same process.
Over on his YouTube channel GusGorman402 has uploaded a video tutorial showing how to take an old internet router and install OpenWRT and the RTL-SDR drivers on it. OpenWRT is a third party Linux based router firmware which can greatly expand the usefulness of a standard router. As it is Linux based it is possible to install the RTL-SDR Linux drivers on the router and use the router as a cheap RTL-SDR streaming or decoding platform.
Gus’s tutorial takes us from the beginning where he first shows how to install OpenWRT firmware over the stock firmware on the router and how to configure the settings. He then shows how to install the RTL-SDR drivers and run software like rtl_tcp and dump1090 with opkg and luci.
Installing OpenWrt and RTL-SDR libs on used router
Recently security researcher cnxroot wrote in to let us know about two of his posts that may be of interest to readers. The posts are written in Chinese, so please use Google Translate to read them in English – it translates okay to some extent.
The first post shows us how to run the RTL-SDR on an OpenWRT capable router server. OpenWRT is a Linux firmware/OS that can be installed on several compatible router devices which extends the usefulness and features of the router. Since it is running Linux the RTL-SDR drivers can be installed onto it, and then rtl_tcp can be run, providing a remote RTL-SDR.
OpenWRT is a special custom Linux based firmware designed to create a fully functional Linux system on a internet router by replacing the stock firmware. Since OpenWRT is Linux based, it is possible to install the RTL-SDR software and run it on the router itself. On his blog Tom Jones has posted a brief tutorial showing how he got the RTL-SDR working on a WR703N router that is running OpenWRT. Basically he just installs the RTL-SDR package which is available through the OpenWRT package manager and runs rtl_tcp, but he talks about a few adjustments he had to make to the rtl_tcp buffers to make it run smoothly. The WR703N is a mini wireless router that goes for about $30 USD on Amazon.