Transfer config to new router

I want to transfer the router configuration from my existing router to a new router, and need some help please.

The existing router is a WNDR3700v1 and the new router is WNDR3700v4, so functionally similar devices but different hardware. Both are running OpenWRT 18.06.1. but the appropriate images for v1 and v4.

So I've tried this with Luci:

GENERATE CONFIG ARCHIVE on existing router

Essentially I am trying to clone the device settings. For example the Hostnames, DHCP & DNS, Firewall, and Wireless.

However it doesn't work. When I upload the archive on the new router the changes are applied the lights flash, but it stalls at the rebooting message and won't give me a login page. Rebooted several times to no avail.

The router does appear to issue a DHCP address to the PC, but no login page. Required a hardware restore to defaults to recover. Repeated the whole process a couple of times with the same result.

So it seems the Config Archive does not travel between v1 and v4 hardware. Or did I do something wrong ? Should it have worked ? Have I missed something ? Is there another way to do this ?

Would appreciate some advice please.

transfer the single files from the archive to the other device with scp or sftp, simply replace what you need


Restoring configuration tarballs between different hardware models (even if similar, but not the same) is not possible. Among other things, at least switch configuration and WLAN paths are bound to be different (and incompatible).


WNDR3700v1 and WNDR3700v4 are not much related to each other, except by similar name. v1 is an old NOR flash based device, while v4 has NAND flash. Netgear simply used a "good" router name to introduce different variants.

Like slh said, there are some differences.
You should not copy /etc/config/system, network and wireless files.
Most other config files for "normal" packages are likely ok.


Yes likely you have no Ethernet access due to wrong switch configuration. You can copy all of the /etc/config/network except for the interface names and the switch part.

Mostly all that "save configuration" does is tar up the config files. You can open the archive and edit the files.


Thanks for the help guys.

I deleted the wireless, system & network files from the archive, restored the router defaults, then uploaded the archive and it seems to work. Managed to transfer the list of Hostnames and Address reservations that I was most worried about. I'm not sure though what some of the other files do, so I will probably just copy the selected files that I need in future.

To me it feels like there should be a better way of dealing with this. I think the hardware specific parameters should be separate from config parameters, so that universal config data can easily be transferred. Perhaps there should be a HAL.


/etc/config/dhcp is mostly hardware agnostic (as long as you keep the number/ names of interfaces it has to serve the same).

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To some extent an abstraction layer exists, it's called uci and doesn't involve the configuration files directly. However, there is a huge variance between devices -the underlying hardware-, which can't be abstracted away completely (single-band, dual-band, tri-band wifi, 5 GHz radio supports the full band or only high- XOR low band, switch configurations beyond the simple WAN/ LAN splits, internal xDSL modem, 3g/ 4g modem, FXS ports, integrated display, etc. pp.) and we are still dealing with heavily resource constrained devices (while not actively supported anymore, the base line to consider still is 4/32 MB).

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