Switching from OpenWrt: atheros WDS setup (and 4/32 repeater)


#1

I'm currently running OpenWrt on both my TP-Link routers (WDR3600 and WR841) with an Atheros WDS setup as described in this page of the OpenWrt wiki. to extend the Wi-Fi range.

I'd like to switch to LEDE as OpenWrt doesn't seem to be updated anymore (KRACK fix among other things). So here are a few questions before I proceed:

  • is Atheros WDS supported in LEDE? I couldn't find out doing a quick search on the wiki
  • is it safe to sysupgrade the WR841 router (a 4/32 barely supported one)? AFAIK there's no LuCi on LEDE stable - I'm fine with it - but it's currently installed on OpenWrt.

Thanks for answring!


#2

No. Take the 4/32 warning seriously.
https://lede-project.org/meta/infobox/432_warning

The 32 MB RAM will hurt with modern kernels.
You are likely better off by sticking to CC15.05 or older.

Atheros WDS is supported. LEDE has been built on top of the old Openwrt, so basically all features still exist.


#3

So WDS supported. Great!

I had read the warning before posting. In my case I don't need extra packages or a GUI on the crippled router. It's there only to extend the main router's range which gives me poor signal in the kitchen.

I'd gladly stick to CC if they plan to fix vulnerabilities but I'm not going to run old, unsecure, unpatched firmwares. Security is one of the reasons to use LEDE/OpenWrt.

Could I just buy a new router? I guess so but I bought the 4/32 TP-Link just three months ago and I'd rather give it a try with LEDE first (not really a money issue, rather a waste one).


#4

Actually, the remaining Openwrt devs have backported the KRACK fix for the CC15.05 branch along some other fixes. So, you could get the fixes immediately, if you build CC15.05 branch by yourself.
https://github.com/openwrt/openwrt/commits/chaos_calmer

(And I think that there is even a plan to publish CC15.05.2. Naturally, most of that code would still be from early 2015, but at least some of the later fixes would be there.)


#5

I guess I'd better wait then. I don't have time to learn how to build OpenWrt right now. I'll also ask an advice in the WR841 thread here.

@hnyman Thanks for helping!


#6

Or u can use community Lede build here: TP-Link TL-WR841N(D), WA701N(D), WR740N(D), WR741N(D), WR743N(D), WR940N, WR941N(D) - LADUS / JULIA / Ultra Lite / VPN builds
That build is up to date & fit for 4MB flash.


#7

@leeandy Thanks! I'd prefer flashing an official build but I'll check it out. The 32Mb RAM issue still applies or is this build somewhat "slimmer" on the RAM too?


#8

That thread have multibuild version, many people using & report work ok. Pls read report on that thread.
One thing, you can disable some startup features to free up ram.


#9

The 4/32 warning is there for a reason. So you should be aware off the limitations and that it might not be future proof. That said: I had a WR841 and WR740 connected using WDS and running LEDE.

Both routers had a second SSID for clients to connect. It works just fine as long as you don’t need anything besides “the basics”. Any packages you need/want need to be buildin before you flash otherwise there will be no space left.

Look at the community builds, or at least at what is included/excluded so you can build your own version if you don’t trust the builder.


#10

Thanks everybody, you were really helpful!

One last question: should I switch to LEDE on the main router only (and keep CC on the WR841) would my WDS setup still work?


#11

Can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t work. Both firmwares have a driver that supports it and the chipset is obviously compatible.


#12

It's better to run the same software on both devices though, if you can.


#13

Just an update: I upgraded the wr841 to LEDE flashing the official sysupgrade (wireless flash via LuCI) and reconfigured it as a WDS client. I'll upgrade the main router next.

Anyway everithing's fine so far and it even has LuCI installed.


#14

Nice. I would disable the HTTP server (and thus LuCI) on the TL-WR841N though.


#15

I agree with that. Once setup it’s basically “set-it-and-forget-it”. It will lower system runtime requirements a lot and if you ever need to make changes you can just start it again via SSH: so make sure you have ssh access before :wink:

Even some here don’t agree with a 4/32 device for a modern setup, I still think given the limitations you can make a useful device with this limited hardware given the fact that you already own such a device. To buy a new one is a different story.


#16

Is that enough to permanently disable the webserver?

/etc/init.d/uhttpd disable
/etc/init.d/uhttpd stop

I guess I can't uninstall it either since it was in the flashed image. Am I right?


#17

I've just upgraded the main router to LEDE so the switch is now complete. To sum up switching two router in a WDS setup from OpenWrt to LEDE was easy and problem free.