Easiest and Safest OpenWrt Flashable Wireless Extenders

I've been looking on the OpenWrt ToH specifically looking through range extenders that have I could potentially flash OpenWrt firmware to. After the disaster I had trying to solder my BT HH5 which is now dead I want to avoid doing any serial connection flashing to avoid physical damage and bricking. Additionally once OpenWrt is flashed I would like the ability to revert back to the stock firmware without bricking the device.

Does anybody have any good recommendations?

See 8 devices which could be recommended based on their available flash + RAM for a first inspiration.

If that's too little choice for you: There are also range extenders out there with less flash + RAM, but without knowing your further requirements (easy to install can not be the only one, can it?), it's hard to really recommend those devices.

When I refer to easy to install I mean something that preferably has a web-GUI that I can upload a OpenWrt firmware image file to. The only reason I own two Linksys routers is because they have two recovery partitions; if something goes majorly wrong I can switch over to the partition with ease and start over. Obviously if I brick a range extender I will most likely have to use a serial connection regain access. From a quick scout around the web some OpenWrt users have completely bricked their range extenders trying to go from OpenWrt back to the stock firmware. I want to avoid this.

Comfast CF-WR752AC v1 sounds like it is made for you:

From the flashing instructions:

The U-boot bootloader contains a recovery HTTP server
to upload the firmware. Push the reset button while powering the
device on and keep it pressed for ~10 seconds. The device's LEDs will
blink several times and the recovery page will be at; use it to upload the sysupgrade image.

Alternatively, the original firmware is based on OpenWrt so a
sysupgrade image can be installed via the stock web GUI. Settings from
the original firmware will be saved and restored on the new one, so a
factory reset will be needed. To do so, once the new firmware is flashed,
enter into failsafe mode by pressing the reset button several times during
the boot process, until it starts flashing. Once in failsafe mode, perform
a factory reset as usual.

I just checked all 8 devices for your criteria: This one is the only matching one.

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Are there any smaller form factors routers that have recovery options expanding from just range extenders?

The only reason I specifically looking at AP/range extenders was that are small enough to plug into the wall and they're out of sight. If I stick with a router like most OpenWrt users use the firmware on it's opens the doors a lot wider, but at a cost off I will have to place the router somewhere sensible with enough elevation rather than being on the floor.

I have a Netgear EX7300 that I am using as an AP. It has a great tftp recovery mode, QCA9980 5ghz AC radio, QCA9558 2.4 ghz b/g/n radio, 16mb flash, and 128mb RAM. The 750mhz QCA9558 cpu seems to be plenty for a dumb AP, and it has been working great for me. It has a nice plug in form factor that may be what you are looking for.



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There is also a v2 of the EX7300 out there (which I guess you get when you order one today). Not sure if v2 will work with the available OpenWrt image.

I did not know there was a v2. Looks like it has different Radios/CPU (QCN5502 and QCA9984).

It does not look good for v2 support:

Too bad, mine makes a great little access point, and the 9984 is better than the 9980.

Other Netgear range extenders may be a possibility for me too. I've seen on some TP-Link routers with TFTP. From looking at this video below and the comments is appears that some of the Netgear products do have TFTP.

This will stupid, but does the TFTP stay intact and not get affected when flashing OpenWrt to devices like these?

I'm tempted to look through the manuals for the Netgear and TP-Link range extender products and see if they mention anything about TFTP recovery. If they do I just hope the TFTP doesn't get wiped over the top of when flashing custom firmware. I might even try and contact TP-Link and Netgear online support to see if they can give me an entire list of products with confirmed TFTP recovery.

If I find any information regarding TFTP recovery options who do I see about updating the Wiki @tmomas?

For the mere function of the device as a range extender, do you really need to flash it with OpenWrt?

I have a guest and private WLAN setup on my main router at the back of the house and I want to extend all of my AP's towards the front house where the signal gets weaker. With a dual band AP that would a total of four AP's I will need to create. OpenWrt should also offer the ability to reduce the TX power as I don't want to broadcast too far out of my house onto the street.

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