Sysupgrading over WiFi

When I first started using OpenWrt the directions were never to sysupgrade over WiFi for risk of damaging the device. I did ignore that rule two separate times over the years and wasted a few hours resurrecting both devices. Is this still true or can I use my tablet to upgrade my routers now?

It is still not recommended. In theory, it can work, but make sure you check the hash values to ensure the transfer worked as expected.

Also, fwiw, for any major upgrade, it is recommended to not keep the settings and to recreate them after the fact to ensure that a bad Or incompatible config file won’t brick your device. When you finish flashing with the default config, WiFi will be disabled, so you’ll need a wired machine to re enable anyway.

The official position will probably be to not do it, but I have been upgrading over wifi for years with no issue...


I've never heard that before and never had any problems. There are no directions about sysupgrade over WiFi on installation/generic.sysupgrade or installation/sysupgrade.cli, where have you found them? BTW, my wifi setup is quite complicated: several bridges with mesh and wifi only connected points.

I usually try to do sysupgrade via LAN. To avoid one possibility of issues. Which are rather frequent in this area, when sysupgrading custom images. But in general, sysupgarde works (or not) via wireless same as via LAN.

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I have been using OpenWrt since Barrier Breaker, 2014. There was a warning on the flash page about not sysupgrading over WiFi. I haven't seen the warning in 19.07 so I decided to ask the question. I figured it will always be less risky to sysupgrade from a wired computer, but maybe some safeguards have been put in place over the releases to make a sysupgrade over WiFi less risky. I tried sysupgrading two separate devices over WiFi and both resulted in nonfunctional units. The first was a BB to CC sysupgrade for a WNDR3400. The keep settings box was not checked. The other was a Linksys that I don't remember.

Then it will start with wireless disabled, so if you don't have access to the device by cable, you'll get locked out.

sysupgrade will always copy the image to /tmp before it writes anything to flash. I don't see why running it over ethernet should be any safer (or different) than running it over wireless.

The real question in all cases is: Do you have any alternative way to access the router if the config is messed up for some reason? Messing up the ethernet switch config is just as likely as messing up the wifi config. Messing up both at the same time is much less likely because the have little in common. So you are always safer if you can access the router both over wifi and ethernet before running sysupgrade.

But if you're upgrading to a stable release, and have read the release notes and followed any advice there, then I don't think there is any risk to consider at all. sysupgrade will work unless the release notes says otherwise. It's less risky than any changes you make to your network settings.


I didn't realize that at the time. When I tried to access the router over Ethernet I discovered I couldn't ping it and lights weren't flashing like they should have. I fired up my USB to serial cable and found the router was panicking. I was able to recover the device after a bit of work.

My usual method of operation is to sysupgrade and keep settings within the same major version, 18.06.6 to 18.06.7 to 18.06.8. I sysupgrade without keeping settings when I upgrade major versions, lede to 18.x to 19.x. I always do major version updates from a Ethernet connection. It would be nice to be able to sysupgrade minor versions over WiFi. These days I use my tablet much more than my computer.

I usually scp my upgrade image to the routers /tmp folder then ssh in and perform a sysupgrade. It may seem redundant, but using the gui has caused some fails in the past over wifi.

I'm lost...are those wishing to upgrade over WiFi missing the obvious risks of doing so (some already noted)...

Also, it didn't seem like there needs to be instructions or just perform the same steps without a cable...I was lost at the request for a Wiki/guide...

I mean...

  • is this just a thread to lament over not being able (per instructions)...or
  • is this a thread asking OpenWrt to fix something to make it "more safer"...?

If the latter...what in the world could be changed or fixed?


Within the last few years:

  • I SSH to the router
  • cd /tmp
  • wget http:/
  • sha256sum foo.bin - I verify this hash matches the one found on the downloads page (very important not to brick your device)!
  • sysupgrade foo.bin

Are you responding to the correct topic? No one in this topic has requested a Wiki or guide.

There used to be a warning in the flash page warning against flashing over WiFi but I haven't seen it lately so that led to my asking the question what is the policy about sysupgrading over WiFi? The policy seems to be do it at your risk. I am fine with that policy. I do think the policy of having the WiFi disabled after a sysupgrade without keeping the settings will have to be revisited in the future as fewer computers are being put in peoples houses. Most of my friends and family don't own computers anymore. They have smartphones and tablets. However this is just my opinion and I don't expect any decisions to be made use it.

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I do the same! (without the checksum)

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100% sure, see whole sentence (sipped to exclude link).

I do agree the warning maybe needs to return. It definitely is a risky thing. LOL