OpenWrt on TP-Link TL-WR703n

Hey! Listen! There are a few posts about installing OpenWrt on these travel routers. Make sure you’re reading the latest version, below.

DateURLUpdates
2015-08-26OpenWrt with OpenVPN server on TP-Link Archer C7
  • Initial post
  • 2015-02-15OpenWrt with OpenVPN client on TP-Link TL-MR3020
  • Setup entirely through SSH instead of LuCI
  • Small tweaks
  • 2015-01-24OpenWrt with OpenVPN client on TP-Link TL-MR3020
  • Added SAMBA share
  • Added alerting scripts
  • 2014-10-19OpenWrt with OpenVPN client on TP-Link TL-MR3020
  • Replaced PPTP client with OpenVPN client
  • Replaced my home server with PIA server
  • 2014-06-28OpenWrt with PPTP VPN on TP-Link TL-MR3020
  • Replaced WR703n with MR3020
  • 2014-06-08OpenWrt on TP-Link TL-WR703n
  • Initial post
  •  

    Recently, I purchased a TP-Link TL-WR703n from Amazon with the intention of installing OpenWrt on it. I wanted a router that could act as a VPN client to connect back to my VPN server at home when I travel. Any clients that connect to the router’s wireless network would be automatically VPNed in. Apparently, this travel router is very OpenWrt-friendly, as there are plenty of mods available for it.

    The process was supposed to boil down to two basic steps:

    1. Flash OpenWrt
    2. Configure OpenWrt

    Unfortunately, it ended up being a little more complicated than that. According to the OpenWrt wiki page, any router with a firmware version of 1.7 or newer can’t be flashed with OpenWrt without bricking the router. A sticker on my router said v1.7, but I wanted to verify.

    I plugged in the router and ran ipconfig from the command line (Windows).

    Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:
    
    Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
    IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.100
    Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
    Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1

     

    I opened Chrome and navigated to 192.168.1.1. If you’re not aware, this router isn’t sold in the US, and the entire web interface is in Chinese.

    20140608_001

     

    Chrome offered to translate this for me, but since my only network connection was to this device, I said no.

    20140608_002

     

    At the prompts, enter “password” for the username and password.

    20140608_003

     

    Next, you’ll be greeted by the main screen. Select the first link on left (运行状态), which is Status.

    20140608_004

     

    Here, you can see the build number, mine is 140120. Again, according to the OpenWrt wiki page, build 120925 corresponds to v1.7, so I must have a newer build of v1.7. According to this comment, the newer builds of OpenWrt work with v1.7, but it doesn’t mention a specific build number of the v1.7 firmware. According to this thread, the newer builds of v1.7 calculate a checksum of any uploaded files to verify integrity. Because the OpenWrt firmware isn’t in the list of approved files, it won’t upload.

    20140608_005

     

    Select the last menu on the left (系统工具), which is System Tools, and then the 3rd sub-menu (软件升级) which is Software Upgrade. If you try to upload OpenWrt, you will see that it fails with error 18009.

    20140608_006

    20140608_007

     

    Until someone finds a fix, I’m using this router as a paperweight. Let me know if you hear of anything!

    -Logan

    2 thoughts on “OpenWrt on TP-Link TL-WR703n

      • Thanks! Unfortunately, I’ve given up on the 703n after moving onto the MR3020. But you may want to post your link here as well.

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