Open Router

OpenWrt Rpi

I've used this setup for a little over 4 years now. The setup includes a Netgear LTE Modem bridged to the Raspberry Pi over ethernet. Several access points are attached via usb. When used with a T-Mobile data plan, I could get around 10-20mb down and 30mb up.

Over the course of 4 years, OpenWrt on Rpi was fairly stable for basic configurations. The moment I started doing anything more complicated it would crash, most of the time ending up in a kernel panic / boot loop.

Several things would kick this off: a tethered android device on one of the few usb ports left or dropping the ESSID of one of the access points. One time it was as small as changing one the AP LEDs config. That one hurt the most. It wouldn't be just making changes in general either, as I changed the SSIDs and passwords frequently. It usually involved changing the way the hardware would interact. After 4 years, I'm tired of having to wipe clean and start again because it was less trouble than figuring out how to change it on the disk while off.

I built up quite a bit of resources I would like to offload just in case: 

opkg update

# install realtek drivers and allow usb forwarding
opkg update
opkg install kmod-rt2800-lib kmod-rt2800-usb kmod-rt2x00-lib kmod-rt2x00-usb
opkg install kmod-usb-net-rtl8152

# install usb tethering drivers
opkg install kmod-usb-net kmod-usb-net-rndis kmod-usb-net-cdc-ether

# install openvpn
opkg install openvpn-openssl luci-app-openvpn openssl-util

# install

Changing the TTL to spoof cell traffic

More TTL examples in DD-WRT docs

Installing necessary RT drivers on openwrt

Installing Other RT drivers

I have an instruction set I'll list out here with time.

All in all, the ease of use LuCI interface + hardware resource efficiency was really nice to have. When myself or others wanted to make quick changes, it was easy. Unfortunately, the inability to modify anything without the fear of kernel panics and boot loops made it moot.

Alpine Rpi (armhf)

I set up an array of RPi rsync servers before all running alpine. It worked very well. I'm hoping they'll be just as friendly as a router.