R7800 some questions before update

Hi everyone,

In view of the future release of version 21, I'm thinking of planning to upgrade my router, my current version is -> OpenWrt 18.06.4, r7808-ef686b7292

I would like to try to keep any possible problems to a minimum though.
Are there any contraindications to upgrading from version 18 to the upcoming 21?
I've never done it, but I read that all packages installed manually will not be re-installed, so I started looking for guides and among many things I found this

What do you recommend doing? Do you have any suggestion or trick for the update?


Why are you still on such a old build?

Just flash, install packages and redo configs simples! OpenWrt 20.xx is not even out yet.

I saw hnyman R21 stable, so I thought that the next release will be the 21.
However, my concern is getting stuck with the configuration and not being able to restore everything.
So, your idea is to make a backup from system menu then after upgrade redo the backup? Or there's any other way to do that? And what about configs and extra application like PBR DDNS ...?


The current stable release is 19.07.7, the next stable release will be 21.02.0 - 18.06.4 is obsolete and insecure, even the last maintenance release of this branch (18.06.8) is EOL and -by now- contains known security issues. You really must update, not soon - now('ish).

If you care about sticking to stable release, 19.07.7 would be the only option now - waiting for 21.02.0 would not be advisable (although there are 21.02 snapshots, if you're more adventurous or e.g. hnyman's builds).

18.06.x should upgrade upwards, although there are changes between 18.06.x and 19.07.x, the common parts in preinstalled packages should be more or less o.k. (important, don't restore an older config tarball, that circumvents upgrade migration steps which might be critical). It's roughly similar between 19.07.x and the openwrt-21.02 branch (again, there are changes, but the most critical things should be more or less covered by automatic migration scripts). That does not rules out potential issues in more complex addon packages. Be aware that these migration scripts do not cover downgrades, so these might break hard (just as applying a config tarball from an older release would on a newer version). With the pending switch from swconfig to the DSA switch framework, there is a major/ breaking change ahead for ipq806x after 21.02.x - this really needs more attention (in practice, starting with a fresh config from scratch).

Depending on how familiar you are with OpenWrt[0], how closely you're following it - and how complex[1] your configuration is, you may opt to try retaining your configuration over an upgrade. If you want to play it safe and simple, starting with a fresh config and selectively applying your necessary configuration by hand may be simpler.

Stable release upgrades are generally pushed because of significant security issue in (preinstalled-) core components and rarely done 'just for fun', so timely upgrades are strongly encouraged. Taking smaller steps inbetween might actually make this simpler, than doing larger upgrade more rarely. The more practice you get, the easier it becomes[0].

The r7800 has been a well supported for quite a while now, which is hard to brick and rather cooperative to the user, there's no particular need to be afraid about upgrades here. A powerful device which should work fine with OpenWrt for quite some time to come.

[0] the more familiar you are, the more likely it becomes that you can handle rocky upgrades - making it easier to retain the configuration and selectively fix up the parts that need it. If you're not paying close attention, it's often easier to start from scratch and to only use your old configuration for reference - to apply your needed settings manually-
[1] the more complex your configuration gets, the more likely it becomes to encounter breaking changes - at some point it might be easier/ safer/ more reasonable to start over, rather than trying to debug issues and fix it up.

You are right slh.
I always did opkg upgrade, but as we know the command only upgrades packages, the version "jump" has to be done by hand.
I don't have a complicated configuration, I just have a lot of little things I need to bring back or recreate:
VPN Server
WG Client
Extra script (in root folder) that start at boot
VPN Policy Routing
Some static routes

As you can see it's not complicated, but in some cases I think I'll have to recreate some configurations, such as vpn server keys, ssh keys, nothing "impossible"...
The thing that I would like, if possible, to avoid doing is re-entering the Wi-Fi access key (WEP WPA or whatever I'm using)

If I understand correctly then, I have 3 options:

  1. I perform the update with the option to keep the settings
  2. I upgrade, reset and restore the old backup.
  3. Flash new firmware image without keep settings.

You have convinced me to update, in these days I will do it, how would you proceed? Meanwhile, I'm saving my scripts, /etc/config etc etc etc