Hey! Listen! There are a few posts about installing OpenWrt on these travel routers. Make sure you’re reading the latest version, below.
|2015-08-26||OpenWrt with OpenVPN server on TP-Link Archer C7|
|2015-02-15||OpenWrt with OpenVPN client on TP-Link TL-MR3020|
|2015-01-24||OpenWrt with OpenVPN client on TP-Link TL-MR3020|
|2014-10-19||OpenWrt with OpenVPN client on TP-Link TL-MR3020|
|2014-06-28||OpenWrt with PPTP VPN on TP-Link TL-MR3020|
|2014-06-08||OpenWrt on TP-Link TL-WR703n|
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:
- Flash OpenWrt
- 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.
Chrome offered to translate this for me, but since my only network connection was to this device, I said no.
At the prompts, enter “password” for the username and password.
Next, you’ll be greeted by the main screen. Select the first link on left (运行状态), which is Status.
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.
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.
Until someone finds a fix, I’m using this router as a paperweight. Let me know if you hear of anything!