Help understanding Atheros

New to all this so please be patient if I don't know exactly how to explain my question.
I am reading this page and trying to understand what it means.
https://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/hardware/soc/soc.qualcomm.ar71xx

I've come across articles say their software will run on tp-link hardware that is ar71xx for example then comments from people saying they are running it on ar9xxx based hardware for example.

I am not understanding. Does this mean that any arxxxx stuff will run the same firmware/packages? How can I learn more about this to understand what runs on what.

Yes, but it's better to use the packages manager if you do not understand the CPU/Architecture breakdown. Also, you can access the package folder on the same downloads page where you access the firmware.

See: https://openwrt.org/toh/start

Each supported devices lists its CPU and Target Architecture. If you are trying to support a device not listed, you will have to be willing to open the router to get that information.

I use the package manager but many projects offer their own downloads which are not in the supported packages, one off custom builds. I did look at the toh but first need to have a clue about what I asked as a starting point. I am not trying to support anything but to understand when certain packages will run on other hardware.

I understand, that's why I told you:

That is how you know what packages to download, install and RUN.

Not exactly following but I'll check again. Thank you.

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For example, let's take...Asus RT-N56U A1

https://openwrt.org/toh/hwdata/asus/asus_rt-n56u_a1

On the page, you see the following:

Target: ramips
Subtarget: rt3883
Package architecture: mipsel_74kc
CPU: Ralink RT3662

We find the firmware here:

https://downloads.openwrt.org/releases/17.01.5/targets/ramips/rt3883/

We find the compatible packages here:

https://downloads.openwrt.org/releases/17.01.5/targets/ramips/rt3883/packages/

No problem, hope this clarifies things.

Might be of interest:
https://openwrt.org/docs/platforms/start
https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/targets/start#openwrt_targets_and_package_architectures

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Thanks for all the input. Doing lots of reading.