Choosing between ar71xx vs ath79 for 19.07

Hi all -

I have a few questions about the above statement (from the 19.07.0-rc1 announcement thread). Presumably my questions would apply regardless of the 19.07 build (be it RC, official stable release, etc.)

For context, I'm using, I'm using a Ubiquiti RouterStation Pro without any wireless -- it is actually configured as a VPN appliance for remote access to my network. I use extroot on an SD card, and I'm currently running 18.06.4 (ar71xx/generic target path) which has been rock solid.

  1. Are there any advantages or disadvantages with respect to switching from ar71xx to ath79 targets (on supported devices). What are the practical and/or performance reasons to choose one over the other?

  2. What exactly is meant by the recommendation to perform a 'full manual install' to switch targets? Does this mean simply to upgrade without keeping settings? Or flashing to some other firmware (such as the original ubnt firmware)? Or maybe installing via a serial console?

  3. Since switching targets is not officially supported, does that imply that there is insufficient testing on this front to have reasonable confidence in a successful flash (obviously there's always some risk when flashing, but is this a higher risk operation)? And if there is a higher risk here and flashing does fail, is it a soft-brick (failsafe works or similar), hard-ish brick (serial recovery), or a total brick (e-waste)? Would this be reason enough to stay on ar71xx (assuming there aren't really compelling reasons from #1 to switch)?


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ar71xx is deprecated. There won’t be any after this release. Most development has been on ath79 for the last year or so.

The warnings are due primarily to config not being the same and the scripts to convert not being perfect.

Many have been running ath79 for months and months. If anything is is more tested than ar71xx, in my opinion.

Back up your config, take it slow, and you shouldn’t have any significant problems that can’t be fixed in config.

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Thanks @jeff!

When I do make the switchover, I'll make a backup and selectively restore files (i.e. those that have no direct interaction with critical base configurations, or in places where the base config files are otherwise identical), and I'll recreate other config changes where necessary --- shouldn't be too difficult as long as I am paying attention :slight_smile:

Thanks again!

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Can we just do squashfs-sysupgrade.bin without saving settings? Or do we need to go back to OEM and then squashfs-factory.bin?

# sysupgrade -h
        -n           do not save configuration over reflash
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Adding to what @slh said...

Using sysupgrade -n (and the corresponding sysupgrade image) should get your device onto the ath79 target without issues. Make a backup before you run the upgrade. But, once the upgrade is complete, do not directly restore the backup. Instead, use the backup files as a reference while re-creating your settings, especially for the network and wireless config files -- basically any files that affect fairly low level or critical configuration parameters. Certain files should be safe to move copy over (such as those related to packages like VPNs and the like), but do so methodically and test along the way.

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Thanks. I can do the sysupgrade via Luci and not save the settings. Fortunately I'm not doing VPN or anything worth saving. I'll just manually recreate my SSIDs via luci and be done quicker than saving backups. After having a bunch of guests over this weekend I hope it is more stable than 18.06 :wink:

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