Tp Link C2600 hardware version 1.0 - most stable Openwrt firmware?

Dear Colleagues,

I have managed to obtain an unused Tp-Link Archer C2600 with hardware version 1.0 (not sure if this is the best hardware version to have for flashing Openwrt firmware ).
A few C2600 users on these forums have mentioned Openwrt 19.7.3 or 19.7.8 are currently the most stable, and versions 22 onwards are problematic - but omitted which hardware version of the C2600 they were using.
So I wanted to ask other Openwrt users:

  1. which firmware release have you found to be rock-solid/ most stable for hardware version 1.0 (or any other version)? and which settings did you use in Openwrt?.

  2. I am a complete novice/newbie to Openwrt and wanted to be safe and stick with 'stock' firmware, but have read on the internet that Tp link stock firmware appears to have problems with both the the 5Ghz channel and 2Ghz channel dropping connections, or disappearing altogether. So I want to try Openwrt.
    Thank you.

Only the OpenWrt versions 22.03.x and 23.05~ are getting security support, older versions do not and contain know security issues that mean they mustn't be used anymore (neither on the open internet, nor with active wireless locally). There's quite some development activity happening on ipq806x (both stability- and performance improvements/ fixes) in current snapshots (parts of those might find their way back into 23.05~ at this point), but if you want to improve the situation, work- and test with current master snapshots now, to get it fixed from 23.05~ upwards.

I've been using 2 of those units (v. 1.1) for the last 5 years and they've been rock solid. Currently running on 22.03. One of the unit is regularly reaching uptime of 100+ days at a small office with 30+ devices during the day (laptops and phones) on a 300 Mbit network connection. I've only restarted it a couple of times in the last year. The other one I use at home, with a much lower load, but similar stability. The default settings work fine for me, I only change the encryption to WPA2-PSK with forced CCMP (AES) cypher. Both the 2.4 and the 5 Ghz networks have the same SSID. One of the units has also 802.11r fast transition enabled (some additional access points are available), which mostly works - only 2 laptops occasionally refuse to connect to the stronger wireless network.
In short, I've been quite happy with that device and OpenWRT. I wouldn't stay with the stock firmware, as it is 7 years old, probably not secure enough.
Please note that when you upgrade to OpenWRT, you will not have the wireless network enabled - you will need to connect to the wired network in order to configure the router.

I had two as well, running as APs on 19.07, think one of them reached an uptime of 1+ year.

Frollic, can I ask which hardware versions of the C2600 you had?.

Don't recall, I sold them when I switched to WRX36s, sorry.
Still have one, but it's mostly been sitting on a shelf.

Dear peshos, you mentioned your two v1.1 C2600’s were running firmware 22.03, can I ask is it 22.03.3?
( if it’s before this firmware, can you tell me the specific number code).
Also do you have the option of adjusting the ‘fragmentation threshold’ in the firmware?.
Thank you and much appreciated.

Hi, cohen27!
It was either 22.03.3 or 22.03.4. I remember that I decided not to upgrade to the latest 22.03.4 or .5, because some people were complaining in the forum from degraded wireless performance. Unfortunately I can't provide the exact release number, since I've already upgraded to 23.05.0.

The router at home seems to be stable for the moment (13 days uptime, 110 GB of traffic). I decided to experiment with the non-ct firmware and drivers. The default CT firmware and drivers were throwing some kernel warnings constantly and I was not sure whether this might drop the wireless client or not. Non-ct driver also throws occasional kernel warnings (ath10k_pci 0000:01:00.0: failed to flush transmit queue (skip 0 ar-state 1): 0), but I haven't noticed any problems. Here is some more information how to do this, if you are interested.

Regarding the fragmentation threshold, it seems that I am able to set a custom with 23.05.0.

Dear peshos,

Thank you for your response.

  1. Was the speed/ throughput fast and signal strength good for 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz on the 22.03.3 / 22.03.4 firmware?.

  2. Is the speed and strength better on 23.5.0 rc1 or the same as the earlier firmware?.

Thanks for your advice about ct and non-ct firmware drivers - I’m an absolute newbie, so I will experiment.
I managed to obtain a C2600 version 1.1 and it’s my first entry in to openwrt.
(A few members have said that perhaps I should gargoyle or LEDE, but it’s not as developed as openwrt).
I might need your help in flashing the firmware using TFTP ( as the instructions state the router cannot be flashed using its firmware upgrade page ).

  1. I have the feeling that 23.05 is sometimes worse with some clients over 2.4 GHz - my phone does not utilize the entire bandwidth available, desktops seem to be fine. Over 5 GHz everything seems to be working great. 22.03 was somehow more consistent in this aspect.
  2. Signal strength is exactly the same, but I've chosen Taiwan for a country. This allows you to increase the signal strength a bit, but it might be illegal in some countries. I've also chosen automatic channel selection for 2.4 GHz.

If you are a newbie, maybe it's best to stay with the default CT drivers for now. I didn't have to use TFTP for the initial install of OpenWRT - just downloaded the factory.bin firmware and flashed it. Not sure whether I had to shorten the filename a bit in order to be accepted by the stock TP-Link firmware, that might have been different router.

Please be aware, that firmware upgrade on this router takes much longer time (approx. 5 mins) compared to other routers I've flashed - different versions of TP-Link 841, 941, 1043, C60 and A7, which only take about a minute or so. Just give it some time and don't disconnect the power until it finishes.

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Peshos, thank you.
I think I will try the routers firmware upgrade page first, to see if it works. Can I ask how short you have to make the factory.bin file name, before the router accepted it?.

I've seen that advise for some TP-link routers with older versions of stock firmware - factory.bin should do if it refuses to accept the original long OpenWRT file name. My C2600 were with firmware from 2015 or so.

Did you read the C2600 install instruction in the wiki ?
You don't get to choose the file name.

Peshos, when you flashed open-wrt on your C2600, apart from wireless passwords, did you leave the rest of the settings untouched?.

I am trying to figure out the best settings for wireless.

Is ‘SQM’ available as default or will I have to download this as a separate file?.

Frollic, yes I did. Surprisingly, the bin file flashed successfully and didn’t need to use TFTP client.

Setting the proper country Wireless -> Advanced settings might boost the signal. I've chosen Taiwan. It might also exceed legal thresholds depending on the country you live in. I'm also changing the default operation frequency to Auto. I believe the default setting is channel 1 for 2.4 Ghz, but not 100% sure if it is still like that, haven't started with clean config for some time now.

I haven't used SQM, but it is not available by default, you will have to install additional packages and configure it:

I usually enable Software flow offloading under Firewall -> General settings, I believe it is also not on by default.

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