Will the NanoPi R2S suffice my needs?

Looking into buying a NanoPi R2S for my home network.

My requirements are:

  • sqm with cake at 150/150 symmetric speeds
  • Run a Wireguard server on it at 150/150
  • DDNS client
  • Adguard Home or any other network wide ad-blocker.

My topology will be something like this:

ISP ONT -> NanoPi R2S -> Archer C6 v3 (for wifi)

Do you think the R2S is adequate for this setup?
Are the overheating issues still present in the latest Openwrt firmware?

The R2S will easily handle those requirements. It is more than adequate for your proposed use.

Make sure you order an R2S with the OEM machined aluminum case to pull the heat from it. It's worth the extra $7, which brings you to $32 plus shipping for an R2S. That's a good value for a gateway router with this capability. Beware reduced NAT throughput with its USB converted to second Ethernet port if you are bridging between the ports. That 's the only wart I can think to highlight on the R2S. Nonetheless, the R2S easily handles your 150 Mbps requirement. This review provides a good comparison of the R2S and R4S networking capabilities. This review provides good information on the R2S Wireguard and CAKE capabilities.

Used as you describe and with its metal case, it will not even come close to over heating. The temperature graph on FriendlyElec's R2S description is produced by loading the CPU 100% for 12 plus minutes. And it still handles it. And you won't be loading the CPU that high at 150 Mbps throughput, and it's unlikely you will sustain 150 Mbps continuously.

Budget is obviously a consideration for you, or you would not be looking at the R2S. However, I would seriously consider getting the NanoPi R5C instead if your budget supports it. For $56 plus shipping (metal case and 2 GB memory, plenty for a gateway router), the R5C gives you a lot more value beyond the R2S (double the CPU capability, double the RAM, on board eMMC flash, two USB3 ports, 2.5 Gbps ports and an HDMI port, which, OK, HDMI is kind of useless on a gateway router, but it's there). The R5C runs cooler too.

The R5C is supported in OpenWrt snapshot, which means it will be in future stable OpenWrt releases. Snapshot is pretty reliable - I wouldn't worry about not having a stable release for another 6-12 months.

I run snapshot OpenWrt on my NanoPi gateway, which has been an R2S, R5C and R4S (what can I say, it's a hobby) at different times. The R4S has the most CPU capability of those three and would be my pick if I needed to handle Gigabit CAKE SQM, but for CAKE SQM in the half Gig range with Wireguard, I'd pick the R5C all day long for best performance per dollar.

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Thanks for thorough reply @eginnc I’ll go through the reviews you’ve mentioned.

The reseller I’m trying to buy it from is selling it with the yellow metal case, is that one problematic with heat dissipation?
IMG_6259

The other NanoPi are quite overpriced here in India, the R5C you mentioned is selling for $83 here.

What are your thoughts about the R2S Plus with on board eMMC and extra USB port? I see that it’s still not supported by Openwrt. Worth waiting for it?

The yellow one is plastic, not metal, get the metal one as it's really really nice (I have it).

No one knows when official support will come, but R2S is good enough for most applications, previously I used an SanDisk Micro USB stick as extra storage, on my R2S I use LXC to create a PiHole container (using USB stick as storage) and it works very well.

Without the need of 2.5GbE interface, R4S is better than R5S/R5C due to faster processor (I also own this one).

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Yes. The yellow plastic case is a heat dissipation problem. Get the black machined aluminum case.

The R2S is plenty good enough for what you want to do and is supported today. I would not wait for OpenWrt support, which may or may not materialize.

An extra USB2 port is still USB2-not ideal for USB hard drives. I doubt you'll use the eMMC for a gateway router. You just don't need that kind of storage for this. But if you need more, you can format the SD card as ext4 or plug in a USB stick as fakemanhk suggested. There are many downsides to using ext4 formatting on the SD card though-I'd plug in a USB stick.

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I’d avoid the plastic case too. There are a lot of reports on the FriendlyARM page about it running very hot.

I have the R2S and can recommend it. It is easy enough to set up with an SD Card and does perform pretty well for the price.

I upgraded to the R5C and if you can stretch your budget it’s a really nice router.

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Thanks for sharing your experience, I’ve read that SD cards fail over time with with the Nanopi? Is using a USB drive better than SD card for this device?

Thanks again @eginnc I have ordered a R2S with the metal case (confirmed with the seller).

If I flash the SD card with Openwrt and insert it in Nanopi, it’s ready to go right? Or do I need to modify the serial port parameters first?

Sorry for the dumb question.

Just flash the SD card and you're good to go.

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NanoPi doesn't boot from USB drive, if you worry about failing SD card, you can buy those surveillance recording purpose card, and use squashFS.
At least mine didn't fail for almost 2yrs.

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I too have found SD cards to be reliable with squashfs. Using squashfs as your file system will not only help maintain sd card reliability, it has the added convenience of allowing settings to be retained if you flash an OpenWrt upgrade.

Other options are to maintain a spare SD card with your set up on it. That way, if the primary card fails, pop in the backup and you are good to go. OpenWrt also can save a backup of your settings, so recovery isn't too difficult even if you do not keep a spare SD card ready to go.

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Thanks, I’ll make sure to flash the squashfs image.

I finally received my R2S and have successfully set it up in my home network.

But now for the hard part, how do I use the entire SD card storage? 32 GB in this case. I have flashed the squashfs image.

Tried some of the guides posted in the forums but haven’t had any success yet, had to reflash the SD card after trying out some guides. So not going any further than that.

With squashfs, you don't. You would need to use ext4 for that, but as discussed above ext4 has down sides. With ~60 MiB free, you've plenty of room to install even more packages. The best advice I have is stop worrying about all that "wasted" space on the SD card. It's just a cheap SD card.

In the very unlikely event storage becomes tight, if you build your image with the firmware selector and add your packages to the customize list before clicking build, the packages will take less space than adding them later with opkg. I always get my images this way, but only for the convenience of not having to install packages later. Storage space has never been a problem for me.

How is the R2S performing for you?

Agree, before I also wondered that what can I do with around 100MB available space (the fresh install of R2S), but then I can see that most of the packages are ~100KB, installing big stuffs like LXC/Docker/TailScale are fine with that. For storage I plugged a small footprint USB stick Samsung FitPlus/Lexar JumpDrive S47, I put containers there to avoid wearing on SD card.

I tried a combination of this and this guide and it worked in expanding the storage

Should I keep it this way?

Performance has been great, like you suggested sqm cake and Wireguard speeds have been better than before. Looking forward to setup Adguard Home and minidlna server on it

The aluminium metal case though is always warm to the touch. Is that normal?

Does having a usb stick plugged in all the time cause any issues with the R2S like network instability? Looking to setup a minidlna server with media stored on a usb stick.

The stick itself does nothing, it depends on what you are trying to do there, previously my R4S (has USB 3 ports) connected to USB HDD and I ran transmission torrent on it.

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Very normal. The metal case is effectively a giant heat sink that sits flush against the CPU. If you are curious, these packages are useful for trending temperature and cpu frequency.

luci-app-statistics collectd-mod-thermal collectd-mod-cpufreq

A typical all-in-one plastic case WiFi router has a large air gap between the plastic case exterior and the heat sink inside the plastic case on the CPU. The interior heat sink inside such a plastic case would be quite warm too - it's just not accessible to touch.

Instead of Adguard home, consider trying the OpenWrt adblock package first. It has worked well for me. You do not have to install tcpdump-mini with it, but it is required if you want to generate reports and statistics for blocked and unblocked addresses.

luci-app-adblock tcpdump-mini

You can do it, but keep in mind the R2S does not have USB3 ports. USB2 will not provide a blazing fast file server. It is probably fine for serving up the occasional music or movie, but you may eventually want a dedicated NAS connected by Ethernet to a port on your Archer C6 dumb AP switch.

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