[Other Devices] Rock Pi S + WiFi Access Point

Hi there, since a couple of weeks I’ve been playing around with this amazing script called: RaspAP, according to its website, RaspAP is a: “Simple AP setup & WiFi management for Debian-based devices”. Well, under a Raspberry Pi (with Berryboot and non-Berryboot images), it works out of the box, just like that, perfectly but under a Rock Pi S it will required a couple of tweaks. RaspAP will, basically, convert your SoC board into a (very handy) WiFi router. Today I’ll show you how to install and run RaspAP under the tiniest board from the RockPi family: Rock Pi S.

Choosing the OS

The Rock Pi S board have some useful OS images, including: Debian, Ubuntu and Armbian. All these available from here. As reference I’m using Armbian Buster with Kernel v4.4. You must know that Armbian can configure a WiFi Access Point by itself through its tool: armbian-config. Both tools, armbian-config and RaspAP are working great but RaspAP offer a very nice Web User Interface that make things easier. Once you download the image, flash it into an SD card, insert it into your Rock Pi S and turn it on.

SSH Access

You need to access to your board through SSH in order to install RaspAP, to do that, it will required an ethernet cable connection. At first boot, Armbian will ask the login details, these are: root (as username) and 1234 (as password). Once you login successfully, Armbian will ask you to change your password and optionally create a new username. As reference, I manage the board with the root username, that’s ok for me.

Updating the OS

Execute a couple of command lines to upgrade the OS and reboot the device.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt dist-upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y

Once that’s completed reboot the device by executing this command line:

sudo shutdown -r now

WiFi Antenna (Optional)

In order to have a good WiFi signal range, I had to attach an external WiFi Antenna to the board. I’ve searched on internet for possible options to do it and actually there is a 2.4GHZ /5.8 GHZ ANTENNA + PIGTAIL BUNDLE. That should work.

Also, I remember that some Orange Pi boards (I don’t have one yet) include external WiFi antennas, so, I decide to take a look into it and after a couple of hours testing, I’ve built my own WiFi antenna. It wasn’t so hard at my end since I already had an old WiFi antenna from a WiFi PCI card. I’ve connected very carefully a couple of thin cables on Rock Pi S WiFi external antenna end (and external antenna end from WiFi card too) rounded by a thin plastic layer to hold them tight, well, it works and now I use this tiny board as my main WiFi router through RaspAP.

Note: You don’t have to attach any external antenna to your board, RaspAP will work without it but if you want to extend the WiFi signal range, please do it very carefully, you can damage your board. I’ll not take responsibility in case of any damage. It’s your board, it’s your responsibility.

Installing RaspAP

Once you’re in Armbian already upgraded, you can install RaspAP by its “Quick Installer“, just execute the following command line:

curl -sL https://install.raspap.com | bash

RaspAP developers has built a very nice install wizard, just follow it. As a reference, I’ve install everything, including the AdBlock and the OpenVPN client feature. Once the installation is completed, reboot your device.

Note: quick suggestion related to the OpenVPN client, it actually fails at the installation (at least at my end with both boards – Raspberry Pi 3B+ and Rock Pi S) but that can be fixed by installing it manually, after RaspAP complete its installation, just execute the following command line:

sudo apt install openvpn -y

Once that’s completed, the OpenVPN client feature will work smoothly. Reboot your device again:

sudo shutdown -r now

Configuring RaspAP

Now you should see a new WiFi network called: raspi-webgui, connect to it with this password: ChangeMe. Once you’re connected, type in your web browser URL bar: and now you will be able to see RaspAP Web User Interface.

Now, you need to change the interface of the hotspot, just select p2p0 instead of wlan0, so, go to the Hotspot left menu and change the interface there, once that’s completed restart the hotspot. Now go to DHCP Server left menu and change the interface there too, once that’s completed, stop the dnsmasq process and start it again. Optionally, you can setup Upstream DNS servers in the Advanced tab (recommended).

Lastly, access to your board through SSH (ssh [email protected]) and add these command lines to the rc.local file located at the /etc directory (taken from here) :

sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -o wlan0 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -o p2p0 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i wlan0 -o eth0 -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i p2p0 -o eth0 -j ACCEPT

Save file’s changes and reboot your board.

Testing Internet Connection

From this point you should have a working WiFi access point, I check my internet connection by typing these URLs on my web browser:

ipx.ac ifconfig.me


To wrap this up, I’m amazed by this tiny and very handy WiFi router, easy, simple and effective. I’ve been using it for a couple of days with no complaints. Also, RaspAP should be work in many SoC boards, if you don’t have a Raspberry Pi 3 or a Rock Pi S, don’t worry, it should work with any board with Armbian support, you can see a full list of supported boards here. Even if your board doesn’t have a built-in WiFi, you can use a WiFi dongle. Let me know any doubt, suggestion, complaint or issue about all this, just write a comment.

  UPDATE MAY 2021: Rock Pi S + ARMBIAN + AP-STA Mode

Want to know even more about it? Doubts? Leave a comment.

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[Other Devices] Rock Pi S + WiFi Access Point
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2 years ago

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

2 years ago

I like that tiny case in the pics, looks good.

2 years ago

that looks amazing, I’ll try it with Orange Pi Zero+. Thanks for sharing.

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