Why can't we create firmware for low bandwidth requirements in rural areas?

Is it possible to have firmware for very small routers? Like Cambium cnPilot R190W? TP-LINK TL-WR841N? Pretty basic routers that are available easily in cheap Asian markets? The operating speed may be slow but we don’t need to carry bandwidth more than 50Mbps. Is it possible/viable? Let’s discuss this.

Thanks. Have a nice day.


I have been exploring cheap SBC products that support the Althea firmware. Specifically the NanoPi R2s offered by https://friendlyarm.com/ would be a good option — though as I understand it there is an upstream issue with OpenWRT that presently makes the Althea firmware not fully functional, but Justin has submitted a PR to resolve this issue. Once that is included in the mainline code these series of small and inexpensive SBC router-type products should be a great option as they are inexpensive and available for order in bulk quantities. These devices should also perform at near gigabit speeds.

Hey sorry it took me so long to get to this. The answer is that Althea needs about 10mb storage space, so we need a minimum of 16mb flash on a device. The TP-link archer C7’s fall in the category of ‘cheap-ish’ routers we can support. Sadly those are still $65-$85 and frankly you can get two or three refurb Linksys ea6350v3’s for that price. The chance of getting two defective units is essentially nil so you come out ahead.

That being said the Archer C7 does have a WiFi range and quality unparalleled at it’s price point. It’s the thing if you want to cover a farm.

Not my PR, it’s another OpenWRT community members and you can view it here.

it seems it’s made some progress since we last talked and is just waiting on review before it’s merged into master. Once it is I’ll probably go ahead and order once of those FriendlyArm devices to try out myself.

As a general note we strongly recommend ‘officially supported’ devices if you need hardware to ‘just work’. I personally test the supported device list every release, so we keep it pretty small and only the best values available at any given time.