Updating OpenWRT on TP-Link Archer A7

I have bought at least four of these routers (TP-Link AC1750, Archer A7 v5.0) for various purposes, so figure I should take some notes on my latest update. The main reason I’ve updated these in the past is for some VPN and advance routing capabilities I need that the stock firmware didn’t have. Ironically, I’m doing this latest upgrade to back out of some advance features I had previously setup on a router that I now wish to do simpler things with.

Reference: https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/installation/sysupgrade.cli

The router I’m updating already had OpenWRT on it, but I reset it and couldn’t get into the web interface (luci). I was able to SSH into the router, but got suck trying to “opkg update”. From the CLI, I could also see that luci wasn’t getting loaded, but I never investigated further (just looked at “netstat -tlpn” to see that no process was bound to ports 80 or 443). The best I could tell, the update links were old and (at least) needed to reference https links, not the https links that were listed. However, “opkg update” calls wget and wget didn’t have SSL enabled (and it looked like a pain to get wget updated with SSL without the underlying package manager working). So I figured I would just update the system from CLI since I could at least get that far (and it seemed like this way would be “cleaner”).

I grabbed tplink_archer-a7-v5-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin from https://downloads.openwrt.org/releases/19.07.4/targets/ath79/generic/ but I’m sure there will be something newer the next time I do this.

  • Start at https://downloads.openwrt.org/releases/
  • Navigate to target release (probably the latest one)
  • In targets, look for ath79
  • Navigate into “generic” folder
  • Look for “tplink_archer-a7-v5” but verify the hardware version on the router
  • Download and check sha256sum
  • Copy the .bin file to the router
  • From the router CLI, run “sysupgrade -v -n <name of .bin file>”

This will update the router and reset all settings (omitting “-n” supposedly preserves some settings, but I didn’t try this since I wanted the router completely reset).

It seemed to take a few minutes to upgrade after running the sysupgrade command. After upgrading, login to (in a web browser) to configure the router.

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