How do I get x86_64 laptop to work with OpenWrt?

Hello. I've installed OpenWRT on Lenovo Y700-15ISK laptop. Successfully resized, so everything seems good.

Now I have few questions:

  1. Display should only show boot logs, and it should not boot into ash, right?
  2. How do I access live system then? I connected laptop to the router. It doesn't get IP address, so I tried booting up Arch Linux, mounting OpenWRT partition and editing /etc/config/network (giving dhcp or static ip) - still nothing.

Keyboard is not working, so not an option. No serial connectors on laptop either - the only hope is Ethernet port or display+keybord, which is not either.

It has Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 gigabit Ethernet controller, so should be no issues for OpenWRT.

I an ideal world you would get console access to a terminal... ( you could see of a usb keyboard can activate this )...

You may need to research each chipset, compare with boot output and compile your own images, which include drivers.

Exotic hardware can be challenging for full blown distro's let alone minimal ones... power management being a common impedance on mobile hardware.

( alternatives include running OpenWrt on top of another~lightweight OS using Virtualisation )

Good luck!


That's because the default (first) interface enumerated in x86_64 OpenWrt is LAN. LAN is a DHCP server on in a clean install, so you would plug a computer into the Lenovo running OpenWrt to access it. That machine would get an IP issued by the Lenovo. Remember - your Lenovo is now a router too!

Hopefully, you don't need a driver for the NIC too. :pray:

Odd, should be...may be USB or something like @anon50098793 noted.


At this point I am not even sure whether OpenWRT successfully boots up.

"Keyboard not working" I mean that keyboard does nothing.

I tried connecting Laptop to my Desktop PC and check what data it sends using Wireshark - seems literally nothing...

It is not worth the effort.
OpenWrt is not a general purpose Linux distribution.
It has a lot of limitations regarding service and package management as well as lack of optimization for laptop-specific hardware.

If you think of it as a headless router, you’re ok, assuming it has a sane Ethernet interface.

I agree, if you want desktop or especially laptop features, Debian-scale distros are sort of the starting point.

The reason why I want to use OpenWRT on a laptop is because:
a) I have this spare laptop.
b) I need more processing power (mostly for NAT & wireguard). I have 1GBPS internet.

I am not much experienced in networking, so OpenWRT IMO really great platform for networking appliance (easy to use). Getting headless debian or Arch Linux would be way too time consuming, so I don't really want to go this way.

I definitely understand. It was more that you should expect that little more than Ethernet is supported for "turn-key" operation without significant, manual intervention. (That includes keyboards, mice, trackpads, fan speed, video, backlight, battery and temperature monitoring, case-close/open behavior, wireless, ...)


You connect two pc directly ? by straight cable or cross-over cable ? If connect between directly, you need to use cross-over cable.

I haven't used a cross-over cable in many years. Most everything I have handles auto-detection properly.


Initially I was think wtf would someone bother with this, but youve got some solid reasons!

Depending how old the laptop is, it might have a db9 serial connection. No idea if that would even work under openwrt, but might be another option to tell what’s happening.

Wouldn't work, have to configure it/install driver - meaning it's not available on boot...can't recall the all of the "ancient" serial terminology at this time; but the serial connections on PCs and the "other end"...were the difference between DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) and DCE (Data Communications Equipment) ports, respectively.

It was usually determined by the device having male or female DB-9 (PC/Laptops/Roters/PLCs, etc.) or DC-25 (e.g. 56k modem) connectors.

(wow, It's been since my childhood since I had to really recall these!!!)

Beside, the OP noted - no serial, though it could be infrared (do they still have those even, lol!?!?).

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Serial will work if the hardware is present. Otherwise I would suggest booting the OpenWrt image disk on another machine with a network card that is supported by one of the in-built drivers, SSH into it over the network, get it online and install network driver and either PS2 or USB keyboard driver. Then take the disk back to the laptop and it should work.

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