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How to turn a Raspberry pi into a Router

Have you ever used raspberry pi before? Are you looking to buy one anytime soon? If not, then this article might give you a reason to. If you have already used this incredible device, this article will provide you with a fantastic raspberry functionality that will motivate you to keep using it. See, more than just being a device that you can use to explore computing, raspberry can also be used as a router. How, you might ask? Well, the answer to that question is provided in this fantastic article. In this article, we shall explore:

  • Raspberry pi
  • How to use raspberry as a router
  • How to connect to my raspberry through my router
  • Raspberry pi VPN router
  • And so much more

If you love tech and you also love the planet, this is an article that you would not want to miss out on. Hence follow along as we explore the raspberry pi world and let us help you turn your raspberry pi router into a router!

Raspberry Pi 

Raspberry pi can be defined as a credit-card-sized low-cost computer that you plug onto a TV or a computer monitor. It uses a standard mouse and keyboard to function correctly. Using raspberry pi, people of all ages, old and young, can explore computing easily and learn how to program with languages such as python and scratch. Raspberry pi can perform all functions you typically perform using a desktop, from browsing the internet to playing high-definition videos, word processing, and even playing games.

The raspberry pi can also interact with the outside world. Due to this, it has been used in so many digital marker projects, from weather stations, music machines to tweeting birdhouses. What’s more, raspberry pi can also be used as a router; well, this device does set the bar quite high! But all in all, this device is pretty efficient. Plus, it has so many advantages, from being tiny (the size of a credit card) to having multipurpose functionalities and so on.

So why use a Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry pi Router

The reasons for utilizing a raspberry vary from one person to another. However, according to research, we found that most people utilize the raspberry pi because of the following reasons:

  1. Low-cost – the raspberry pi is considerably lower in price than most desktops. For only $45, you can have yourself a raspberry pi to utilize. However, in terms of functionality, this device outdoes itself. It is well worth the money.
  2. Low power consumption – as mentioned earlier, the raspberry pi is pretty tiny; it hence utilizes less power compared to most desktops.
  3. Less space utilization – the raspberry pi is pretty tiny. Hence if you have space issues, this small computer might help you out.
  4. It runs a free, open-source OS – The raspberry pi runs on a free, open-source OS. Hence, you can make adjustments to the OS’s source code to make it better or customize it to fit your needs.
  5. Raspberry pi community – Raspberry has a pretty solid community, one that is always there when you require assistance. Merge that with the many tutorials that exist on raspberry pi, and you have all the help you could ever need to utilize a raspberry efficiently.

Raspberry Pi Specs

The raspberry pi 3B+ has the following specs, which are a significant advancement from the raspberry pi 3B:

  • ARM Cortex-A53 1.4GHz CPU
  • 1GB SRAM
  • 2.4GHz to 5GHz of integrated Wi-Fi
  • 300 MBps ethernet speed port

These incredible specs have made the raspberry pi 3B+ pretty popular in the market. However, more advancements have been made, with raspberry launching a newer model known as the raspberry pi 4.

The raspberry pi 4 is the most recent raspberry pi model in the market; hence let us look at its specs and the functionalities that it has added. The raspberry pi 400 has similar specs; thus, almost everything described below also applies to it.

  • It has a Gigabit Ethernet port.
  • Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, Wi-FI 2.4/5.0 GHz
  • 2,4 or 8GB of LPDDR – 3200 SDRAM memory
  • Quad-core cortex CPU – A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC at speeds of 1.5 GHz
  • Supports two monitors
  • Micro-HDMI connectors
  • Supports H.265 (that’s 4kp60 decodes) and H264(that’s 1080p30 encode and 1080p60 decode).

Raspberry pi 3 vs pi 4

Compared to raspberry pi 3, you will find that raspberry pi 4 has better specs. For starters, the raspberry pi 4 has a faster clock speed processor (1.5 GHz) than the raspberry pi 3, which has a 1.4 GHz clock speed processor. When you move on to the RAM, this is where the difference clearly comes out. The raspberry pi 4 comes with an entry-level one Gigabytes of RAM and an added two Gigabytes or four Gigabytes, depending on the model you choose. However, when it comes to variety, then the raspberry pi 3 wins. See, raspberry pi 4 only comes in one variation, the raspberry pi 4 model B. On the other hand, the raspberry 3 comes in many different variations. Here are some of the options that you get:

  • Raspberry pi model B+
  • Raspberry pi 3 model B

Every raspberry pi 3 is unique and efficient in its own way. Hence, you can still utilize them for your project; the results are undoubtedly incredible. The steps we shall provide to help you turn the raspberry pi into a router apply to both the raspberry pi 3 versions and raspberry pi 4. However, we shall be referring to the raspberry 3 versions because they are the most widely used compared to the raspberry pi 4.

Now that we have gone through what a raspberry pi is and the incredible specs that this device bears. Let us take things upper a notch by helping you turn a raspberry pi into a router; now, this will be interesting; hence follow along!

Raspberry pi Network Relationship

Over time, most people have utilized raspberry “in” a network. In is in quotes because it means that the raspberry is actually connected as a node rather than a Wi-Fi provider; here is how:

How to connect to my raspberry pi through my router

The easiest way to connect a raspberry pi through a router is via an Ethernet cable (LAN cable). All you have to do is plug in the Ethernet cable onto your home router, then plug in your raspberry pi using the other end of the Ethernet cable. Once you connect your raspberry pi, the network LEDs should start to flicker.

  • If you are utilizing a raspberry pi zero, you will require a USB Ethernet adapter.
  • If you are raspberry pi 3, the pi 4, or pi Zero W, it is possible to connect to the router wirelessly.

But this, sorry to say, limits the functionality of a raspberry pi as it can do much more than just being a mere node in a network. See, raspberry as router other than a node increases its efficiency and usability which is pretty advantageous.

How to use Raspberry Pi as a Router

So is it possible to use the raspberry pi as a router? Well, yes, see, the raspberry pi is capable of doing so many things, and now that you can purchase it alongside wireless capabilities pre-installed onto the board, the possibilities are limitless. The newly added functionality means that the raspberry pi can now replace an expensive router since it can now act as an access point which is technically a router. We shall have to manipulate the raspberry pi via its command line to achieve this feat. However, we will make the project super easy so you do not have to get all worked; we’ve got you. All we are doing is utilizing raspbian and going to the extend of installing a few packages that will give raspberry pi router capabilities like assigning an IP address to all devices connected to it. Hence let’s get right to it.

Installing and Updating Raspbian

Installing raspbian is pretty much straightforward; all you have to do is:

  1. Set up an image disk

Here is how to set up an image disc on raspberry pi to log into router

  • Download raspbian – to download raspbian, hop onto your PC and search for “raspbian disc image.” Look for the latest version and then click on download.
  • Unzip the file – The raspbian disc image comes in compressed format; you hence have to unzip it.
  • Write the raspbian disc image to your SD card – move on to your microSD via your computer and write the resbian disc image onto it. You will require a specific program to accomplish this feat. Windows users can utilize Win32 disk imager, while Linux and Mac users can utilize Etcher. However, Mac OS comes with a pre-installed disk utility that can also perform this task.
  • Insert the MicroSD card onto your raspberry pi and boot up – once you have written the disc image onto your microSD card, you are all good. Now insert your Micro SD card onto your raspberry pi and boot up.
  • Check on upgrades and updates.

Once everything is up and running, move on to your terminal and ensure you check for upgrades and updates using the following commands:

  1. Sudo apt-get update
  2. Sudo apt-get upgrade

If any upgrades get prompted, remember to reboot using sudo reboot.

Install dnsmasq and hostapd

Using these two programs (dnsmasq and hostapd), we shall help you turn the raspberry pi into a router. To install them type the following lines onto the terminal:

  1. Sudo apt-get insall dnsmasq
  2. Sudo apt-get install hostapd

Both times, you will have to press y to proceed. Dnsmasq is an easy-to-use DNS and DHCP server, while hostapd is a package allowing one to make a wireless hotspot via raspberry pi. For both to work efficiently, we have to configure them. You will have to turn off the programs to execute this step. When both are off, type in:

  • Sudo systemctl stop hostapd
  • Sudo systemctl stop dnsmasq

Configuring a Static IP Address for WLAN0 Interface or platform

For the purpose of turning your raspberry into a router, we are going to utilize a standard home IP address which looks similar to 192.168.***.***. Hence, we shall assign 192.168.0.10 as the IP address for WLAN0 interface through editing the configuration files of DHCPCD. Editing using the command below:

  • Sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

Having reached the configuration files, type in the following commands:

Interface WLAN

Static ip_address = 192.168.0.10/24

Denyinterfaces eth0

Denyinterfaces wlan0

Once you are done, press the ctrl+X, followed by Y, and Enter to successfully save and get off the editor.#

DHCP Server Configuration

We shall utilize dnsmasq as the DHCP server. A DHCP server distributes network configuration parameters dynamically, for example, IP addresses for services and interfaces.

To start, you have to rename the default config, then write a fresh one:

  • Sudo mv /etc/dnsmasq.conf / etc/dnsmasq.conf.Orig
  • Sudo nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf

Now type in the following lines onto the newly built configuration file:

  • Interface = wlan0
  • Dhcp – range = 192.168.0.11, 192.168.0.30, 255.255.255.0, 24h

The added lines mean we shall provide an IP address between 192.168.0.30 and 192.168.0.11 for the wlan0 interface.

Access Point Host software Configuration (hostapd)

Now it is time to mess around with the hostapd configuration file. Open it up by keying in the following line:

  • Sudo nano /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

Once you key in this line, a new file will be created. Type in the following command:

Interface = wlan0

Bridge = br0

Hw_mode = g

Channel = 7

Wmm _enabled = 0

Macaddr_acl = 0

Auth_algs = 1

Ignore_broadcast_ssid = 0

Wpa = 2

Wpa_key_mgmt = WPA-PSK

Wpa_pairwise = TKIP

Rsn_pairwise = CCMP

Ssid = NETWORK

Wpa_passphrase = PASSWORD

Where we have put “NETWORK” and “PASSWORD,” you are supposed to develop and key in your custom name. The Network name will help you identify your network, while the PASSWORD will help with authentication.

Now let us provide the configuration file’s location to the system using the following command:

  • Sudo nano /etc/default/hostapd

In this hostapd file, find the line that states #DAEMON_CONF=””, delete the “#” symbol and then place the configuration file path in the quotes provided; you should get a statement that reads:

DAEMON_CONF = “/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf”

Set Traffic Forward

The idea behind traffic forwarding is that once you connect to your raspberry pi, it will immediately forward this traffic via your LAN cable. So we shall have wlan0 forward traffic using LAN cables to your modem. To achieve this, you have to edit yet another configuration file (hang on there, we are almost done). Just type in:

  • Sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Once you run this command, locate the following line:

  • #net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

As usual, delete the “#” symbol, but leave the statement as it is this time around. It should hence read:

  • Net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

Add a New iptables Rule

Next up, we shall add in IP masquerading, which will be responsible for the outbound traffic flowing on eth0 via iptables:

  • Sudo iptables –t nat –A POSTROUTING –o eth0 –j MASQUERADE

Once you are done, save the newly created iptables rule:

  • Sudo sh –c “iptables –save > /etc/iptables.ipv4.nat”

To load the boot rule, you have to edit the /etc/RC.local file by adding the following statement above the exit 0 line:

Ipstable – restore < /etc/iptables.ipv4.nat

Enable Internet Connection

At this point, your raspberry pi has already gained access point capabilities that means that other devices can connect to it. However, connected devices cannot use the internet. To enable internet access to these devices, we have to create a bridge that will efficiently pass traffic between the eth0 and wlan0 interfaces.

To create this bridge, you have to install another package:

  • Sudo apt-get install bridge-utils

Now add another bridge and call it “br0”:

  • Sudo brctl addbr br0

Next up, let us connect eth0 interface onto the newly created bridge:

Sudo brctl addif bro eth0

Lastly, we shall edit the interfaces files:

  • Sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Follow this up by adding the following commands onto the file’s end.

  • Auto br0
  • Iface br0 inet manual
  • Bridge_port eth0 wlan0

Reboot

Since everything is in place, let us now reboot using sudo reboot.

Once back on, you should have a working raspberry pi wifi router.

Raspberry pi VPN Router

Now that you have a raspberry pi router that you can utilize to browse the internet, cyber security becomes the next issue to handle. To ensure safe browsing, you can use a raspberry pi as a VPN router. Here is how:

Install OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a program that lets us set up a raspberry VPN. Open up the command terminal and type in this command:

  • Sudo apt-get install OpenVPN –y

Once this is done, reboot the raspberry pi, use the following line:

  • Sudo reboot

VyprVPN Download and Unzipping

To get our VPN up and running, we shall need VyperVPN too. Hence move on to your command line and key in:

  • Cd /etc/OpenVPN

Once you are done, this will redirect you to the correct directory.

  • Sudo wget HTTP: //support.goldenfrog.com /hc/article_attachments / 214728647/GF_OpenVPN_10142016.zip

Once you open this directory, it immediately downloads the following file:

  • Sudo unzip GF_openVPN_10142016.zip

The above command unzips the file, of course.

VPN List

Move into the newly generated directory, then type in ls to display the files in list form.

  • Cs GF_OpenVPN_10142016/OpenVPN256
  • Ls

A list of .ovpn files will be displayed. These are various VPNs that you can utilize, all listed by location. When you want to connect to a particular VPN, you are supposed to use these files.

Create Authorization File

To utilize VyprVPN, authorization is required. Hence let generate a file for authorization:

Sudo nano /etc/openvpn/auth.txt

Once you run this command, it should generate a new file. In this new file, key in two statements:

  1. Your Username
  2. Your Password

These credentials should not be made up; they should be the credentials that you use to log in to your VyprVPN (you are supposed to have a VyperVPN account for this to work). Now exit the file using ctrl+X, save the file (use Y), and press enter to confirm.

Test Run 

To test run, type in the following command:

  • Sudo openvpn –config “/etc/openvpn/GF_OpenVPN_10142016/OpenVPN256/FILENAME.ovpn” –auth –user-pass /etc/openvpn/auth.txt

Where we have “FILENAME.ovpn” plug in the VPN that you wanted to utilize, once you run this command, you should get a lot of text, which, if you did everything accurately, should include the “initialization sequence completed” text signaling success.

Iptables Fun

Do not get too excited since we are not yet done. While converting your raspberry pi to a wireless router, we helped you make a few changes to the iptables. Now we have to make a couple of adjustments:

  • Sudo iptable –F
  • Sudo iptables –t nat –F
  • Sudo iptables –X

Once you run this command, it should clear our old stuff.

  • Sudo iptables –t nat A- POSTROUTING –o –tun0 –j MASQUERADE
  • Sudo iptables –A FORWARD –i tun0 –o wlan0 –m state –state
  • RELATED, ESTABLISHED –j ACCEPT
  • Sudo iptables –A FORWARD –i wlan0 –o tun0 –j ACCEPT

What this command does is that it routes the wlan0 connection through the VPN tunnel instead of using the LAN connection:

Sudo sh –c “iptables –save > /etc/iptables.ipv4.nat”

Use the command above to save your work.

Automate Things

Now let us set up our VPN to activate once we activate our raspberry pi router. Type in the following command:

  • Sudo nano /etc/RC.local

Once you are in the RC.local file, find the statement that says “exit 0”, then add the following lines above it:

  • Sleep 5
  • Sudo openvpn –config “/etc/openvpn/GF_openVPN_10142016/OpenVPN256/FILENAME.ovpn” –auth-user-pass /etc/openvpn/auth.txt

Where we have FILENAME.ovpn, insert the file name you used in step 4. And that’s it; you have a raspberry pi VPN router. Use Sudo reboot to boot up your raspberry pi, then check if everything is working properly.

How Efficient is a Raspberry Pi 3 VPN Router

The raspberry pi 3 VPN router is pretty efficient. Using this router, you get up to 250 Mbps, it is not super-fast, but it is efficient enough to handle most of your online activities. On a pi 3B+, the load is mostly high on the core that is executing OpenVPN; it hence hits about 95%. It could, however, remain stable at 85% on downloads which use up more time compared to speed tests.

What’s more, the VPN means that you get to browse the internet anonymously which is great for security purposes. Changing your VPN also means you attain privileges provided to IP addresses that fall into a specific location. That being said, using a raspberry pi 3 VPN router, you can, for example, watch American shows while in China.

Conclusion

We are in an era whereby efficient and multipurpose devices are leading the way in the tech industry. When you glimpse into the wonders that the raspberry can do, you will agree with us when we say that this device has outdone itself. Its router capabilities not only saves you money but also space. It saves the world from plastic packaging pollution while at the same time performing incredible tasks. What’s more, the VPN functionality lets you browse anonymously hence keeping your identity and your information secure. If that does not spell out INCREDIBLE, I don’t know what does. We hope that this article has been of great help to you and good luck utilizing this fantastic device.