All News | Boards | Chips | Devices | Software | Archive | About | Contact | Subscribe
Follow LinuxGizmos:
Twitter Facebook Pinterest RSS feed
*   get email updates   *

Open-spec, dual-port router offers a choice of Allwinner H3 or H5

Nov 11, 2019 — by Eric Brown 2,622 views

FriendlyElec’s Linux-driven, $20 “NanoPi R1S-H3” router uses a modified version of the Allwinner H3-based NanoPi R1, upgrading the second LAN port to GbE while removing a USB port. There’s also a similar, $23 “NanoPi R1S-H5” with a quad -A53 H5.

Back in February, FriendlyElec launched the community-backed NanoPi R1 router SBC, which still sells for $29. Now it has followed up with two more affordable NanoPi R1S routers based on upgraded versions of the NanoPi R1 that that give you dual GbE ports instead of 10/100Mbps and 10/1000/1000Mbps. The mainboards are smaller than the R1 at 55.6 x 52mm, and the board and the case have been entirely redesigned.

NanoPi R1S
(click images to enlarge)

Both models ship with a yellow enclosure and heatsink. The $20 NanoPi R1-H3S has the same quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner H3 SoC as the original while the otherwise identical, $23 NanoPi R1S-H5 jumps to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5.

NanoPi R1

The NanoPi R1S routers ship with 512MB DDR3 and no flash. They lack the $10 expansion option for 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC available on the NanoPi R1. Normally, we would suggest staying away from running a 64-bit processor such as the H5 with only 512MB, but for basic router applications, it may not make much difference.


As noted in the CNXSoft story that alerted us to the new routers, the second GbE port is based on USB 2.0 so it has a reduced bandwidth. Whereas the native GbE port’s RX transfer rates can reach 930Mbps (H3) and 943Mbps (H5), the USB-driven port is limited to 334Mbps (H3) and 340Mbps (H5). (Additional throughput specs are shown in the detail view farther below.)

NanoPi R1S detail views (left) and throughput rates
(click images to enlarge)

The lower prices are due in part to the removal one of the two USB 2.0 host ports, as well as the RTC and UART interface. While the NanoPi R1 has an Ampak AP612 module with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, the NanoPi R1S models are limited to 2.4GHz WiFi without Bluetooth. An IPX antenna connector is available.

Other features are very similar to the R1. You get a microSD slot with an optional 16GB card for $8 plus a micro-USB port with 5V power and slave/client support. There’s also an internal serial debug interface, 3x LEDs, a user/reset button, and -20 to 70℃ support.

NanoPi R1S bottom view and board-level views
(click images to enlarge)

The routers are supported with an OpenWrt 18.06 port called FriendlyWrt that includes a “build system for compilation and customization,” says FriendlyElec. FriendlyWrt can be customized for WAN-dialing, game acceleration, personal NAS, remote control, smart home gateway, and other DIY applications.

There’s also support for Ubuntu Core 16.04 and Armbian. FriendlyWrt and Ubuntu Core both use Linux 4.14 kernels with U-boot. This is an open-spec board with posted schematics and other hardware files.

Further information

The NanoPi R1S-H3 sells for $20 and the NanoPi R1S-H5 is available for $23, both with 512MB RAM. (Shipping is extra.) More information may be found on FriendlyElec’s NanoPi R1S shopping page and the NanoPi R1S-H3 and NanoPi R1S-H5 wikis.


(advertise here)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 responses to “Open-spec, dual-port router offers a choice of Allwinner H3 or H5”

  1. mikef90000 says:

    Not so sure how ‘new’ these routers are. They appear to be rebranded GLI devices or at least source the same hardware, see

  2. Ryan McLean says:

    >There’s also support for Ubuntu Core 16.04 and Armbian.
    I’ve not been able to find a Armbian image that works for the R1S

Please comment here...