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.
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