Asus RT-N16 17.01.2 => 21.02.03 upgrade

Hi, I've got an RT-N16 that's been playing up on 17.01.2, sporadic reboots.

I'd welcome advice on how to get the root cause, however it's also overdue an upgrade.

The hardware openwrt page suggests 21.02.03 is compatible. If I want to upgrade such a big gap, what is the process, please? I really don't want to end up losing my router functionality as I'm now working frm home, so please let me know the risk (if any).

Should I just flash the firmware from the web gui? Or upgrade from the cmd line with sysupgrade? Or something else.

There is always a risk in upgrading firmware, so you should be familiar with the methods of recovering your device.

That said, you would need to be on 19.07 to upgrade to 21.02.

From the 21.02.0 release announcement.

Upgrading to 21.02.0

Sysupgrade can be used to upgrade a device from 19.07 to 21.02, and configuration will be preserved in most cases.

  • Sysupgrade from 18.06 to 21.02 is not supported.

Backup your configuration settings.

Don't keep your configs going to 19.07, and reconfigure from scratch using the 17.01 configs as a guide.

Then you should be able to upgrade from 19.07 to 21.02, and keep the 19.07 configs.

If you work from home, you may want to start on a weekend (assuming you don't work weekends) to give you enough time to get it set up.

This is not true. You can upgrade from 18.06 and it should also work for 17.01.

This specific quote from the release notes refers to the situation where a user wants to keep their settings. Keeping the configuration is not supported for 18.06 and earlier, but direct upgrades (without maintaining settings) are often possible. There are some nuances here, but in your case you have a bcm47xx based system, so it should be possible to upgrade directly from 17.01. Do not attempt to keep settings.
Make a backup before you do anything else. The backup will be useful for reference only -- attempting to restore this backup to a running 21.02 system will likely cause major problems. After you take your backup, I'd recommend that you reset your router to defaults before upgrading to 21.02.

Also, keep in mind that the wifi performance of bcm47xx based systems is poor when running OpenWrt due to the closed-source drviers.

It is true if you want to preserve configs, which I expect the OP wants.

I already mentioned backing up configs, and using them as a reference, so it was unnecessary to repeat it.

I'm sure if the OP is using 17.01 that they are aware of bcm47xx performance.

But you keep doing you.

The OP never stated that preserving settings was a requirement. Not losing router functionality may refer simply to not bricking the unit.

As I said before, this is not true. However, if you had explicitly said something like "in order to preserve settings, you would need to be on 19.07 to upgrade to 21.02" -- that would be true and I wouldn't have said anything.

I see that you are now able to see my posts again - or at least some of them. I'm not sure why you have what appears to be an adversarial attitude towards me, but it would be great to work this out in PMs -- this saltiness doesn't help the forum, but a collaborative and constructive relationship does. Care to try to settle our differences? Please feel free to message me directly.

I can view your posts when I click on View Hidden Reply.

Since it was directed at me, I viewed this one.

There is nothing to discuss, either on the forum, or through PM.

You don't seem to have the attitude for "collaborative and constructive" relationships.

I don't have time to waste trying to figure it out.

Okay I for sure didn't want to start a big argument!

My main objective is not to brick, I can always reconfigure it, I'm in tech so that won't take long.

So you are saying I can just flash straight to the latest version, expect to lose the config, it should work.

Nah, nothing you have done. There's a bit of a history here.

Thanks for the confirmation on this. That is what I had interpreted from your OP -- glad to know this was correct.

Yes, you can upgrade directly. You will be given the option to keep settings when you run the upgrade -- make sure that box is unchecked.

EDIT: Just for grins, I took my Linksys E3000 (also bcm47xx) back to 17.01.7 and then upgraded it directly to 21.02.3 -- works perfectly fine. The complete flash process was slow, so don't be afraid if it takes several minutes .

I didn't say flash directly to the latest version...

I would flash to 19.07, without keeping the configs, and re-configure 19.07 from scratch...using the 17.01 configs you backed up as a guide (what I suggested in the first response).

Then, flash to 21.02, keeping the 19.07 configs.

Bottom line is it might be less confusing (and less time consuming) for you to go that route, than configuring 21.02 from scratch.

There were a lot of changes from 19.07 to 21.02.

Your call.

@bmf - since you are in tech, you’re probably fairly safe configuring from scratch. The advice from the other person on this thread doesn’t really make sense, as configuring 21.02 isn’t all that different from 19.07 — it is not like one is significantly easier than the other.

In many cases, keeping settings through true sequential version upgrades may be fine (unless there are major architectural changes). But best practice in general is to reconfigure from scratch across any major upgrade. This is another reason why it doesn’t make sense to flash to 19.07 without retaining your settings, then configure19.07 and finally upgrade to 21.02. That is just not a great approach.

The most straightforward and least risky approach is to go directly from 17.01 > 21.02 without keeping settings, and then configure from scratch on 21.02.

1 Like

You didn't start anything.

That poster seems to have somewhat of an attitude problem, which I have called him out on before.

The moderators are aware of it as well.

Good luck.

If you are going to reconfigure from scratch anyway. Just jump to current release and reconfigure once. No need to upgrade on multiple steps


I personally tried it both ways, and found it easier to upgrade to 21.02 from 19.07, using the 19.07 configs.