How to Install TP-Link Safestream TL-ER604w

I'm new on OpenWrt and I currently have a Tp-Link Safestream TL-ER604w VPN Router on my home. I'm looking for a feature reacher router software. Can someone guide me trought this cause i haven't found my device on the list.

I'm not quite sure what your actual question is.

As you noticed yourself, your device is not listed in the ToH - and this means it isn't supported right now (technically, based on the hardware, it probably could be, but actually adding support depends someone experienced to work on it with the device on their desk, at this point that could only be you; the device itself is a bit dated and low-spec though, but sufficient).

If you're looking to buy a supported device instead, you'll need to specify your requirements (WAN speed, wanted features (VPN, SQM, …?), budget and rough location/ country) and will probably already find some initial guidance in other existing threads.

Great, and if want to try by myself is there any "how to install" that you recommend for this escenario without ToH?.

I think you might underestimate the efforts required, but this provides some pointers.

…and no, there is no three step guide to success.

Thank Sr for your guidance and I apologize on my poor english and if my message was missunderstood... I

after trying OpenWRT on my TL-WR842ND I'm pretty satisfied and now I want to flash it also on my TL-ER604w.

I know it's not shown on TOH but the hardware/chips are pretty standard like many other routers.
from shoutwiki:
CPU/SOC - Atheros AR9341 (contains also the wireless/radio chip)
switch chip - Atheros AR8327N

AR9341 supported by OpenWRT (e.g. wr842nd).
AR8327N is also supported (e.g. wr1043nd).

I don't mind to build my own firmware. as far as I see it doesn't look that complicated and I have experience with Linux distro/kernels but worked mainly on VMs/PCs/servers and also with raspberry pi and arduino, but I guess they are bit different than general embedded devices.
Now I'm trying to understand if it is sufficient to follow begginers guide and choose Atheros AR7xxx/AR9xxx or ATH79 (is one better to choose over another?) in menuconfig for the target system and then just run make, take the firmware and install from web.
it is risky if both architecture and drivers supported in source tree?

I saw that TL-Link router should have an easy way to recover by power on in recovery mode (integrated tftp capability of the router) which tries to automatically download firmware from tftp from hard-coded address (video example: video) and avoid soldering UART pins, so I hope it make things easier and less risky.

Also just for making things clear, does flashing the firmware overrides UBOOT or is it saved in another place such separate ROM?

Will be glad for some help to avoid bricking the router and make OpenWRT work properly.

Thanks in advance!

It's not a matter of 'building', but about porting OpenWrt to your device. While the hardware might have drivers, you still need to develop the necessary device tree file to glue it all together, add GPIO/ LED definitions, set the default configure for the switch, apply MAC addresses, extract, patch and upload wireless calibration data, define the (OEM-) factory firmware format, the partitioning and sysupgrade support, …

If it isn't listed in the table of hardware , it isn't supported. Routers are embedded devices, usually with quite come quirks and peculiarities, and little standard adherence (so those exist in the first place), so each device needs its very own bespoke firmware image - there usually are no generic images.

That doesn't mean it's impossible to add support for it, but someone with the hardware on their desk has to do the hard development work of actually adding support for the device in question. Among a lot of other things, this involves opening the device, preparing serial console access and a method to tftpboot initramfs images - and then spending somewhere between a very rainy and long weekend to several weeks of long nights on the development.

@slh thanks for the reply.
OK, now I understand better, there indeed work to be done here.
Is it a must to work through serial console and initramfs or all of those can be done with the integrated TFTP capability?
I consider working on that and see how it goes.

About bricking the device and UBOOT - does flashing firmware overrides it or is it persistent / on ROM?
I'm trying to understand if bad flashing can completely destroy my device or not (I guess without UBOOT booting you don't have a way to write into the flash chip... unless integrated TFTP capability not relying on UBOOT)

Nothing is a must, as long as it works - however, without serial console access, you're...

  • blind and won't see what's going on, unless your first try is perfect and manages to enable the network. Debugging basics without seeing what's going on is hard (impossible).
  • forced to flash every development state you want to test, which comes at a big risk of bricking your device for good. initramfs images have the beauty not to modify your device in any way - it's broken?! just reboot and it's gone - this is invaluable during development.

In terms of u-boot and bricking - that's device specific, you'll probably have to find out the hard way.