OpenWrt on TL-WPA8630 (UK) v2.0

@jwmullally , as you are probably the expert in this area, can I ask if the partition layout of TL-WPA8630 V2.0 (UK) is same as the (EU) one?

TP-Link points to the (EU) firmware here in the UK support page:

If I understand correctly, this post implies that it is possible to install EU firmware on UK products:

I have the UK non-P variant V2.0 and am wondering if I can install OpenWrt (initially 21.02 and then 22.03) even via a careful workaround.

Finally, is it by far beneficial to replace the stock firmware with Openwrt 22.03?


Yes, EU and UK are the same, the only difference is the physical plug. In the firmware selection table, that is the TL-WPA8630(EU) v2.0 model. I'll add the UK model format to that too now.

Beware: as the table states, this particular device is not part of the OpenWrt official releases. There is the unofficial workaround, but if it is already upgraded to firmware v2.0.3 or higher firmware, there is no way to install OpenWrt without bricking your device.

Only if you want extra Openwrt packages/features, or to change how the bridging/routing works. No difference performance wise AFAIK. The powerline interface can be reconfigured from OpenWrt, but it's easier from the OEM firmware. Most people will probably have a bigger main router running OpenWrt, and these just extend that network.

I was about to upgrade to the latest 2.0.4 version but now I thought about Openwrt. Unfortunately, I am already at 2.0.3 49754 (20190910) which tells me that the transition is not possible.

Is there any chance if I downgrade to 2.0.2 (not sure if this is possible at all) and then flash Openwrt?

IF SO, If I installed the patched 21.02.3 firmware first, would I be able to subsequently upgrade to the standard 22.03 release and be fully openwrt-supported going forward, or is it device-specific and I won’t?

My ultimate goal is to get a seamless connection at my father’s home without switching from different networks; At the moment I have an Openwrt router (BT HH5A) at the 1st floor and there is a dead-wifi area in the majority of the basement floor. I have installed a TL-WPA8630 Powerline Kit (with stock firmware) to get proper signal there. When going up the stairs from the ground floor to the 1st floor, usually 8630’s signal becomes weak and a wireless device (e.g. phone) connects to the OpenWrt router. Normally the connection is lost for a few seconds during the switchover. That is what exactly I want to utlimately resolve.

Unless I have understood differently, there is a technology called “mesh” that allows you to be seamlessly (?) connected; it is not as just cloning the master wifi’s network name. I have seen that in an Openwrt device one can enable it by changing the wifi setup from Access Point to 802.11s. My R7800 (on another home) does support “mesh” functionality but I need to check if BT HH5A supports it too (I think it does). I have to check if 8630 supports it too, either via the stock firmware (from what I see it doesn’t look it supports it) or via OpenWrt. If somebody could check and confirm the latter case (SSH to 8630 and then type “iw list” and then look for supported interface mode: *mesh point), that would be great.

A bit off-topic here, but is a “mesh” setup done among wifis of multiple devices (like a wifi repeater) or can this be achieved via a powerline network too (i.e. an access point with cloned wifi setup)?

Suggested reading: TP-Link WPA8631P multi unit Mesh with AV1300 backhaul

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Thanks @AndrewZ ! Your suggestion goes straight to the point. It turns out that I need a 802.11r setup instead - not a 802.11s (mesh) setup.
Which comes back again to the other question: Can I do it with my existing equipment? Definitely not with the stock firmware of the WPA8630 v2.
I need to check:

  1. If the BT HH5A can support 802.11r and
  2. if there is any single chance that I downgrade the 2.0.3 firmware of my WPA8630 v2 to 2.0.2 and then flash successfully OpenWrt on that, given that the stock firmware does not offer 802.11r.

Yes, there is no known way to revert to the older 2.0.2 firmware for those units through the OEM upgrade process.

With 2.0.3+, even if you flash the workaround OpenWrt image on it, the OEM fs-uboot will try load the kernel from 0x6b0000 instead of 0x40000, which will leave the device bricked. The full explanation is in the Flash Layout section of the wiki which you've probably seen already.

The only way to go back would be if you had taken a dump of your flash memory at v2.0.2 with a flash programmer, complete with your device specific settings (device-mac, radio partition etc).

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