The OpenWRT devices in my home are critical to the networking I have here. As OpenWRT is used primarily for embedded devices, rather than generic x86 devices, recoverability can pose some challenges. This is very true for myself, using Cisco Meraki hardware, as the console access is within the enclosure of the devices and requires a TTL Serial cable. See my journey into OpenWRT on Cisco Meraki in this post.
Upgrades, any change, always introduces risk. Regardless of the number of times something has been done in the past, new variables are forever present, so too much comfort can always come back to bite you. Therefore, here is my reference guide for performing an upgrade to my OpenWRT devices.
If you start with an AP and it fails the impact is minimal, none of my devices require WiFi, so I can recover an AP without too many headaches. That is to say my laptop can still use a wire, as does my desktop, and my phone has mobile data. All of these can be used to research the problem, download tools and packages, and finally work the problem. If you start with the Gateway and it fails, all you’ve got left is mobile data, so make sure you can tether that connection. An issue faced with the AP may be present with the Gateway, now you know of the issue, and the resolution steps (or you can abort and wait for an upstream fix).
- A USB to TTL Serial is to hand
- A USB to TTL Serial driver is installed
- A USB terminal app is installed (eg
- Review the release notes (
<version>> Release Notes > Known issues) for any breaking changes
- Review the upgrade path (
<version>> Release Notes > Upgrading to OpenWrt
<version>) from your current release to planned release for any breaking changes
- Review the device specific recommended release version
- Download the latest release version
- Take a backup of the existing configuration
- Determine IP addresses used
- Start a monitor ping
- Start the upgrade flashing via the webui
- SSH to the devices, note the DNS may not resolve as we have just updated the DNS, which is why we checked for their IP earlier.
- Check the running version is the upgraded version
- Re-enable HTTPS UIs 1
opkg install luci-lib-px5g px5g-standalone libustream-openssl
opkg install luci
- Check the webui for the latest version numbers
- Fabian Lee - OpenWrt: Enabling HTTPS for the LuCI Web Admin Interface