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Tiny, $29 IoT gateway SBC packs in WiFi and dual LAN ports

Feb 21, 2019 — by Eric Brown 14,570 views

FriendlyElec’s open-spec, 60 x 55.5mm “NanoPi R1” SBC runs mainline Linux on a quad -A7 Allwinner H3 and offers GbE and Fast Ethernet ports, WiFi/BT, 3x USB ports, and a standard metal case with antenna.

FriendlyElec has launched a hacker board aimed at low-cost IoT gateway duty. The open-spec, Linux-driven NanoPi R1 combines 10/100 and 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports along with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The SBC runs FriendlyCore with Linux-4.14-LTS or OpenWrt on the Allwinner H3 SoC.

NanoPi R1 SBC (left) and in standard metal case
(click image to enlarge)

Community-backed hacker boards with more than one LAN port are still rare but growing in number. SinoVoip offers the quad-A7 MediaTek MT7623N driven Banana Pi BPI-R2 with 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN port and the quad -A53 Realtek RTD12 powered Banana Pi BPI-W2 with dual GbE. SolidRun’s sandwich-style HummingBoard Pulse combines a quad -A53 i.MX8M with a pair of GbE ports. On the x86 side you have more options, as detailed in our recent guide to 122 hacker boards, including the Odroid-H2, UP Squared, and the MinnowBoard Turbot boards (2nd GbE optional).

Orange Pi R1

The closest match to the NanoPi R1 is the similarly named and sized (60 x 45m) Orange Pi R1, which has a pair of 10/100 “Fast” Ethernet ports and a WiFi radio. The Orange Pi R1 runs Linux and Android on an Allwinner H2+, a similarly configured SoC that differs in that it’s limited to HD resolution instead of the Allwinner H3’s 4K. That hardly matters here, however, as the NanoPi R1 lacks a video output.


Differences between the two R1 boards include the NanoPi model’s faster second LAN port and the addition of Bluetooth, dual USB 2.0 host ports, -20 to 70℃ support, and a standard metal case with external antenna. On the other hand, the larger NanoPi R1 lacks the Orange Pi model’s GPIO connectors.

NanoPi R1 detail views
(click image to enlarge)

The NanoPi R1 is available in two models: one with 512MB RAM ($29) and the other with 1GB plus 8GB eMMC ($39). The SBC is further equipped with a microSD slot and micro-USB power port plus UART and serial debug connectors. You also get an RTC, heatsink, LEDs, and a user button.

NanoPi R1 (left) and case
(click images to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the NanoPi R1 include:

  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU @600MH
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB or 1GB DDR3 RAM
    • 0GB or 8GB (only with 1GB RAM SKU) with eFlasher utility
    • MicroSD slot up to 128GB
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 dual mode (Ampak AP612); SMA antenna
  • Networking — 10/100 and 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port (with power input)
    • Serial debug interface
    • UART
  • Other features – RTC power & status LEDs; user button; heatsink; metal case
  • Power — 5V via micro-USB OTG
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 70℃
  • Dimensions — 60 x 55.5mm
  • Weight — 33 g (125 g with metal case and heatsink)
  • Operating system — FriendlyCore (UbuntuCore-16.04) with Linux-4.14-LTS and U-boot-2017.11; OpenWrt

Further information

The NanoPi R1 is available with 512MB RAM ($29) and 1GB RAM/8GB eMMC ($39) plus shipping. More information may be found on FriendlyElec’s NanoPi R1 shopping page.

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4 responses to “Tiny, $29 IoT gateway SBC packs in WiFi and dual LAN ports”

  1. Þór says:

    Great idea rendered useless by the sole fact that they chose network cards with different capabilities.

    My uplink is 1Gbps. My LAN is 1Gbps. Why would I want a router that limits throughput at 100Mbps?

  2. Robert Mackay says:

    Having a 1Gb internet connection is not the norm, at least in the UK that is. Here a 100Mb is perfectly serviceable, and not every application needs that amount of bandwidth. This little beauty will be my vpn router to protect my privacy when needed.

  3. Srinivasa says:

    For “NanoPi” board, is there any option to connect 3G module..

  4. Ruby Duck says:

    3G or 4G LTE option?

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