OpenWrt Managed Switch


I was wondering if openwrt can be flashed onto a managed switch to then be controlled by openwisp in a fashion similar to say a ubiquiti suite ?

Kind Regards

I don't know OpenWISP. But there are a few managed switches that are supported OpenWrt, like the Zyxel GS1900 or Netgear GS108T. So, in general it should be possible to connect them to your OpenWISP controller. Mind you, though, the support for these managed switches in OpenWrt is fairly new, so I wouldn't expect this pairing to be a "works out-of-the-box solution". You probably will have to do some digging yourself to make this work – if it works at all the way you like.

1 Like

What about linksys managed switches ? could they be more compatible ?, could i flash openwrt onto a managed switch ?

Read up about the supported switches (none of them Linksys, so far) before going on a shopping spree, for quite some devices even the hardware revision matters (a lot!).

Don't speculate on a device gaining support in the future (unless you really know what you're going into), get something that is supported right now (at least in master/ snapshots) - fortunately there are about a dozen specimens ranging from 8 to 28 ports in that category right now (everything else is not). If a devices isn't explicitly listed as supported, the only sane default answer would be that it isn't - and in many cases that will hold truth for quite a while to come (depending on the SOC probably forever).

While it is quite likely that this list will grow in the future, and at least another half dozen of devices is already in varying stages of completion or very similar to existing ones (same model line as an already supported one, just differing in the number of ports), betting on these would be for the advanced users who can lend a hand to the development themselves, to drive it to completion.


The problem is the managed requirement. Yes, there are some managed switches you can install OpenWRT on. No, there aren't ANY SoHo-style management solutions ala OpenWISP or Ubiquiti Key for OpenWRT. Imagine managing a bunch of EdgeMAX devices as one-offs...that's the experience with OpenWRT. It's fantastic for hobby/lab/home, not so much for (W)ISP.

It's early days for DSA and (full blown-) managed switches in OpenWrt, plenty of opportunity to extend - the features and functionality are there, now anyone who cares can work on improving the accessibility.

First look at for the supported devices.

19.07 is still the latest stable release, but 21.02 is on RC3, so I'd not buy a new device that's not supported by 21.02.

But, why do u need a managed switch with OpenWRT? I had never used one, I guess they are for VLAN and some other very basic routing features.

How many ports do u need? U could buy a small router like TP-Link Archer C7 v5 and build a image removing all routing softwares u don't need. It'll give u pretty good WiFi (no WiFi 6) and 6 ports, which u can attack each to a normal switch.

OpenWISP is literally built on top of OpenWrt so I don't understand the statement
"No, there aren't ANY SoHo-style management solutions ala OpenWISP or Ubiquiti Key for OpenWRT"

1 Like

Apologies - the bit of light Googling I did suggested it's management console. If they are based on OpenWRT, that'll certainly work, but it'll require OpenWISP and their modified OpenWRT to support switches, not just 'base' OpenWRT. There's nothing intrinsically in OpenWRT that has anything to do with OpenWISP, other than one is built atop the other.

Sorry I was not clear enough. OpenWISP was developed specifically to manage OpenWRT devices and does NOT support anything else
(at the moment anyway, they plan to add support for other stuff and/or there are beta branches about other hardware)

The OpenWISP agent (aka the component that allows management) has been a package in official repos since LEDE aka release 17.07.
It is called "openwisp-config"

And that's all you need to add your openwrt device to the swarm. It's not a custom OpenWrt build.

All it does is provide a central management for OpenWrt's own UCI configuration system. So if OpenWrt's UCI can configure it on a single system, you can manage it with OpenWISP.

1 Like

Huh - now THAT'S interesting. I know there's been a LOT of discussion over the past six months or so in the Ubiquiti camp in particular about a safe harbor technology to consider migration to...this is good to know! Thank you very much for expanding on that!

In the past we tried adding experimental support to generate configurations for Raspbian and Ubiquiti AirOS from OpenWISP Controller, although is doable it requires a lot more resources which we don't have right now.
However, we are confident we're going to support at least monitoring AirOS and potentially other devices via SNMP.

Regarding switches, OpenWISP supports the switch configuration but this is changing quite a bit in OpenWRT 21.02, which is introducing a new format, not yet supported by OpenWISP, we still have to start working on that to support it, although it should be possible to use the old format, just wanted to be super clear about it to avoid people getting excited and then quickly disappointed.

Quite a number of users are coming to OpenWISP looking to replace their Ubiquiti based systems, but the truth is, Ubiuquiti has optimized their product for a specific use case and target, which is not really the original case and target of OpenWISP 2, which is aimed at experienced people who are well versed with OpenWRT and are not afraid to understand how the internals of Linux/OpenWRT and python/django work if they need to adapt it to fit their needs.
For this reason, some of these users coming from Ubiquiti to OpenWRT/OpenWISP can be quite frustrated sometimes because they expect to find the same point and click solution and they often take their frustration into the general support channels, which is something negative for the community which I want to avoid if possible, so let me be super straight:

Do not expect to just be able to replace Ubiquiti with OpenWISP without being willing to dedicate at least full 3 days (optimistic) of your time to understand all the basics you need to get it working. These are two different systems. Ubiquiti invested million of dollars into creating a great product, easy to use, very nice UX, which has the goal of locking you in and screw you.
OpenWISP was built to auomate configuration of networking services, starting out with public WiFI, the focus has always been on being able to customize it according to always varying use cases, it doesn't even have a fraction of the resources/users of Ubiquiti let alone a fraction of the contributors of OpenWRT so please don't have excessively high expectations.
It works, but it's not point and click, yet.

However, it all depends on usage. Me and others are able to work on OpenWISP because there's people using it and contributing to it to improve it over time, step by step, so if more people find it useful and can give us a tiny bit of help here and there, even if it's just constructive criticism, technical feedback and a bit of patience, I am confident we'll be able to accelerate on these topics.



Not quite, only for targets that are still using swconfig - those that have switched to DSA (e.g. ramips, mvebu) will need a DSA configuration - and all supported managed switches (no wireless, >4+1 ports --> realtek target, rtl838x) have been using DSA from the get-go.

1 Like

I use a WR1200JS as a managed switch with old 17.05 version