Repurpose an old router to run Home Assistant

With the chip shortest and inability to get Raspberry’s within an reasonable time frame AND price - I’m trying to figure out if there is an alternative approach.

I’ve got some old routers laying around, at the moment I’ve got an Asus RT-N12D1 that I used to use in my motorhome.

I don’t need the WiFi capability of the router as I can put it near my home router and hard connect.

I’m not adverse to finding a different router if more memory or RAM is needed. The N12D1 has 32Mb of memory/8Mb RAM.

I am by no means a tech whiz. I can stumble and trudge my way through things but for this project I am clueless about where to start. I have done things like set up a headless Raspberry Pi and implemented OctoPrint so I could drive my 3d printer wireless. And I’ve designed some controller boards and such. But this mountain is a pretty steep one for my skillset.

Hoping for someone more intelligent than I to help guide me.


I think this idea is not feasible because a router which is powerfull enough to run HA would be very hard to find. You would for example at least something with 1 GB of ram.
If you want to find a cheap alternative I would look into the direction of repurposing an old X86 based computer. (But they are more power hungry than a rpi)

Thanks Roeland!

I tried to go the old X86 route, but my PC’s were TOO old, would not support Virtual Machine.
I ended up going with an Odroid N2+ with 4 GIG. Works great!

You didn’t need a virtual machine, you could install Linux and have a standard python virtualenv installation. Or a container which is also very lightweight.

Is it possible - on any hardware - to install HA directly? I mean like install HA OS, without virutal machine, virtualenv, docker… so, say, take an old PC and install HA OS on it (without linux, windows…)?
What’s the fastest / best install - where HA runs best? VM? Docker? RPi?

Why not? Just flash HA OS on a drive stick it in some hardware and boot from it…
However, i think it at least needs to support UEFI

The issue with installing HA OS on sine random hardware is drivers.
HA OS runs on Alpine Linux and it can be a bit difficult to install extra drivers.
It is a lot was er to install Debian that support pretty much all hardware and then install HA on top of that.


if it has a 64bit processor and support UEFI, it can run HA OS. If not, installing Debian 11 and Supervised is the way to go.


Thanks for explanations. So, as always drivers are “critical point”. The reason i’m asking is that i wonder, if HA running directly would be any faster than, say, my current HA in synology VM…

Virtualenv has very little overhead.
Docker has some more, but it is still pretty lightweight.

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Thanks. The reason i’m in doubt is that i installed windows into synology’s VM (just for fun…) and it’s uselessly slow. Now, that could be because it’s running in VM or ( more probable, i guess) that CPU of my NAS is to slow for windows…

Virtualizing windows does take a lot more cpu then linux,
also, on HA OS there is no graphical user interface (which i guess takes the most cpu when virtualized)

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