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Installing OpenWrt on your Router [OpenWrt Wiki]

This wiki is read only and for archival purposes only. >>>>>>>>>> Please use the new OpenWrt wiki at

This is a draft language for a new page that tells newcomers how to install OpenWrt. Please comment in the Fix top-level Wiki Pages issue on Github. Thanks. -richbhanover

Installing is OpenWrt is pretty straightforward, whether you want to install on a router you already own, or if you're searching for a new router. You'll want to review the Table of Hardware since it has links to the Details page for all routers that work with OpenWrt.

Note: As of September 2015, the current stable release of OpenWrt is "Chaos Calmer" ("CC" or "15.05"). The wiki is being updated to indicate which devices can work with the CC release. The previous release "Barrier Breaker" ("BB" or "14.07") release is still a good choice for all devices that do not indicate they can use CC.

1a. Installing OpenWrt on a device you already own

  1. Click the Device Details column for your router, that leads to a page of detailed information about the router.

  2. The Device Details page should provide a direct download link for the device. If not, look at Finding Firmware section below.
  3. Use the Installation instructions (if any) of the Device Details to install the firmware. If these instructions are absent, you can try the Generic Installing OpenWrt instructions. If you are successful, please take a moment to update the Device Details page with the steps you took so that others will have an easier time.

1b. Purchasing a device to use with OpenWrt

  1. If you're going to purchase a new device, get one that supports the stable build of OpenWrt. The Price Comparison section of the Buyer's Guide gives a way to find popular models.
  2. After identifying an interesting router, look it up in the Table of Hardware. The Most Recent Rel column should indicate that it supports the current stable release.
  3. Click the device's Device Details column to go to the router's page of detailed information. Look for two important pieces of information:

  4. If either of these is missing, this is an indication that no one has tried current firmware on that device, or that they have not made the effort to document their success. There are plenty of affordable well-supported devices, so unless you're up for a challenge, we recommend you look for a different, better supported device.

1c. Installing OpenWrt instead of another aftermarket firmware

There are other "aftermarket router distributions" such as dd-wrt, tomato, openwrt. It is usually possible to flash openwrt onto these devices, however details on how to do that depend on the device and the distribution you're using. Sometimes there might also be a difference in functionality offered by openwrt and e.g. dd-wrt. Sometimes the process involves going back to router manufacturer provided distribution, and sometimes it can be done directly. You should consider asking for help in openwrt forums or on freenode/#openwrt.

2. First Connect after Flashing Firmware

After you flash the firmware in your device, there are a set of steps that you should do to complete the setup of your router.

More about Firmware

The steps will help you flash OpenWrt into your router. The remainder of this page gives background information about the various builds and releases of OpenWrt.

Finding Firmware

The stable release of OpenWrt is called Barrier Breaker, and is also known as "BB" or 14.07 (because it was originally slated for release in July 2014 - the final release was in September 2014). Use this version if you want to "set and forget" your device.

If your router is well-supported, the Details page linked from the Table of Hardware tells how to get the current stable BB image that you can flash into the router, and gives the procedure for flashing.

If the Details page does not have a direct link to a firmware image, you can go to This directory contains builds for the release, sorted by the CPU Target. Look at the Target column for your router in the Table of Hardware then enter that sub-directory. Check the file names for your vendor/model. If there is an image for the device, it should work. If you are successful at installing OpenWrt, please consider updating the Details page with the direct link to the build you used.

Other Builds/Releases

There is a next release branch of OpenWrt called Chaos Calmer also known as the "CC". It is currently in stabilization process - there are release candidate images that are mostly stable, and developers are working to fix a short list of issues before declaring a release final. If you want to help development providing feedback about these releases is one of the ways how you can contribute.

There are also trunk builds. These come as 'nightly' builds, as well as from individuals, as anyone can download the latest source code for openwrt and build their own images, with or without modifications. Needless to say, these images have usually not undergone as much testing, may contain freshly introduced bugs, and features may get added/removed as the development on openwrt proceeds. There's still a general effort to keep the source code at trunk functional at all times.

Warning: The trunk builds are not for the faint of heart. Lots of people post messages on the forum about trouble with the trunk builds. If you choose to install a trunk build, you should check the Details page for information about bringing it up. If it's not present, and you're not comfortable with uncertainty and lots of research, perhaps you should consider the (stable) Barrier Breaker release. You have been warned:

Older devices

OpenWrt runs on lots of older routers. We do not recommend you go out to purchase a new device whose Status column includes 12.09, 10.03, 8.09, Kamikaze, or Backfire, or a release number of the form "R######". All these are all earlier firmware versions that are no longer being supported or maintained. You will be better served by spending that money on a newer device that supports more modern firmware.

However, if you have an older model router and would like to upgrade the firmware from the stock vendor version, review this information.

The 'Attitude Adjustment (AA - 12.09 final)' release of 25th April 2013 was a predecessor of the 14.07 Barrier Breaker release. This older AA build may work on some devices that cannot support the current Barrier Breaker or trunk builds. The AA release requires more than 16 MiB of RAM (check the RAM column of the TOH).

If your router has 16MBytes or less RAM, we recommended you use a Backfire image, since it has a smaller memory footpring. Backfire releases are at:

For very old routers, you can look at the Historical Releases section of

The best way to to check for existing support is check the Details page for your device. If there is a direct link to firmware, then someone has installed the build and made the effort to document it so that other people will succeed more easily.

Router vs Switch vs Gateway and why NAT influences this decision

Router vs Switch vs Gateway and why NAT influences this decision

The following is meant as roundup

  • such that you can decide if you want to configure your device as either switch, as router or as gateway

  • such that you can decide how you want to deal with the IPv4 double NAT problem in your individual home network situation.

Switch vs Router vs Gateway

Network devices can operate in 3 different modes:

OpenWrt as Client Device - Connecting the device to an existing networkIf you want to connect your device to an existing network to provide additional functions (for example, you just want to use the Wi-Fi network it provides, the additional ethernet ports, or the device is a NAS serving files over the network, or a mini-server offering some other service).

OpenWrt as router deviceIf you want to run OpenWrt in its default router configuration, where the device routes traffic between several LAN devices connected to the LAN ports and another network on the WAN port (commonly to an “ethernet modem” that is in fact acting as a gateway).

as gateway deviceYour device also behaves as router. But in contrast to the 'as router device' mode, in this mode your device either uses an integrated modem to connect to the Internet or has an external modem attached on its WAN port that needs one of the following protocols for proper operation: WAN interface protocols.

Router/Gateway and Double NAT problem with IPv4 or mixed IPv4/IPv6

You are a OpenWrt newcomer? Does this page with lots of technical network information seem scary? Are you worried that you don't know enough to make these decisions now?→ Just stop reading and use the default configuration for now. Your device will act as a router in a cascaded double NAT scenario which will work just fine for normal internet access, so you don't have to do anything. or…→ Get familiar with OpenWrt first, come back later and decide

Double NAT is issue that exists solely with IPv4. In a few decades, when the whole world is fully IPv6 enabled, this won't be a problem anymore, as IPv6 strictly forbids NAT, in the meantime for IPv4, act according to this how-to.

Problem of IPv4 is: If you simply add an additional IPv4 router to an existing router of your ISP (internet service provider), you will face a problem called “double NAT”: your newly added router does NAT and the existing router also does NAT, resulting in your client data traffic being NATed twice, before it reaches the internet.

This double NAT scenario won't cause problems on basic tasks like browsing the internet or reading mails. But it can cause problems, when you are trying to host servers at home that you want to be reachable from the internet or when doing peer-to-peer online gaming (which often uses UDP protocol and does some funny firewall stuff called “UDP-hole punching”)

To deal with this double NAT problem and use IPv4 as flawlessly as possible, you need to choose between several options, how OpenWrt gets connected on its upstream side

You basically have the following options to connect the upstream side of OpenWrt to your existing home network: Each option tries to work around the double NAT problem with different technical tricks or configuation.

NAT Usage variant Visualization
double OpenWrt as router acting in default cascaded router double-NAT configuration clients ↔ OpenWrt router with NAT ↔ ISP router with NAT ↔ Internet
single OpenWrt as router and having an internet ISP device configured as modem-bridge clients ↔ OpenWrt router with NAT ↔ ISP bridge (no NAT) ↔ Internet
double OpenWrt as router in double-NAT configuration with Dualstack Lite on ISP side clients ↔ OpenWrt router with NAT ↔ ISP router with DS-Lite NAT ↔ Internet
single OpenWrt as router with disabled NAT, additional routing rules in both routers clients ↔ OpenWrt router (no NAT) ↔ routing rules ↔ ISP router with NAT ↔ Internet
single OpenWrt as router, OpenWrt router being “exposed host” in the ISP router clients ↔ OpenWrt router with NAT ↔ ISP router with NAT + “exposed host” feature ↔ Internet
0 look-out: OpenWrt as router in IPv6 only configuration + ISP router clients ↔ OpenWrt router (no NAT) ↔ ISP router (no NAT) ↔ Internet
single OpenWrt as gateway using either OpenWrt-device-built-in or external modem clients ↔ OpenWrt as gateway with NAT ↔ built-in/external modem (no NAT) ↔ Internet
single OpenWrt as switch (connected by wire or access point or as wifi repeater) clients ↔ OpenWrt as switch (no NAT) ↔ ISP router (with NAT) ↔ Internet
  • all variants allow to handle both wireless and wired clients on your downstream side (=your client devices connected to your local network)

  • all variants allow to host software services for both downstream and upstream side (like NAS shares).

OpenWrt as cascaded router behind another router (double NAT)

This is the default (and easiest) option for your OpenWrt device, right after the OpenWrt installation for off-the-shelf devices sold as “router”, that have 1 Ethernet-WAN port and some Ethernet-LAN ports, because for this scenario you simply connect the OpenWrt WAN port to an unused LAN port of your existing ISP router.

  • usually the ISP router has its firewall on and NAT on and provides DHCP on the downstream side (which is the upstream side of your OpenWrt)

  • OpenWrt also has it's firewall on and NAT on and it provides DHCP aswell on the downstream (which is the upstream side of your connecting clients)

So whats the problem? Some traffic scenarios may not work, line hosting servers for the internet or playing online games.

The problem isn't so much IPv4 NAT (=Network address translation), it's a combination of

  1. NAT usage

  2. how homerouter firewalls treat UDP-traffic: The firewall treats UDP data traffic statefull. That means if a sourceIP:sourcePort → targetIP:targetPort package goes out, it will lower the firewall in the reverse direction for a short time, such that the target can answer with the same combination of address and ports: sourceIP:sourcePort ← targetIP:targetPort.

  3. and how mostly online games use tricks to get peer-to-peer data traffic of other players through your firewall(s) to your game client.

Unfortunately the firewall details aren't a fully standardized behavior. And unfortunately the NAT behavior that happens in parallel isn't predictable either: every router may decide a little bit differently how it maps addresses and ports on outgoing traffic. Most games and game consoles report this as “NAT status” of your router, using 4 different high level categories “open, moderate, strict, blocked”, which aren't standardized either - each game vendor may use them for slightly different technical details.

So should you use this double NAT scenario and be happy with it? It highly depends on your equipment and your usage scenario. Double NAT is not automatically bad. - if you just do browsing and mailing, you don't have to care (your internet browsing will not even be slowed down by double NAT). - check if you want to run servers at home that you want to expose to the internet (e.g. a VPN or web server) - such hosting will definitely not work over double NAT - check, if your usual online games work flawlessly.

Now most online games use weird UDP tricks to temporarily bypass your router firewall (without opening your firewall to the whole world), to get less-lagging UDP packets to your game client. Usually those tricks can only bypass a single NATed home router, but not 2 of them. You will find out, if you either cannot connect at all to online sessions or if there is noticably more game lag than usual (more lag happens, because most games will first try to fallback from UDP to TCP, before giving up, if the so called “UDP hole punching” through your 2 firewalls/NATs won't work. This TCP-fallback will sometimes be noticable). Most online games report this as “NAT status” in the game settings. Your aim usually will be to either have this status “open” or “moderate”. If your game engine reports anything else, it is usually failing on your 2 firewalls+double NAT and it will then fallback to the slower TCP and can even fail completely to connect to a game session (and i guess you should be able to notice that, if you are left alone in an Online game session).

The next few sections explain what you can do to bypass these problems, while keeping both routers and firewalls enabled Just keep in mind: don't try to fix problems that you do not have.

Device as router, internet ISP device as modem-bridge

Mostly for Cable internet, you can often choose to reconfigure your ISP cable router into 1 of 2 operation modes:

  1. router mode

  2. bridge mode

Sometimes you have to configure this in in nested online portal menus of your ISP (and not on your ISP router GUI).

When set to bridge mode, the ISP router starts behaving like a pass through device: it will only authenticate you as a legitimate customer, but will otherwise just passthrough the IPv4 traffic unchanged to your OpenWrt router. The firewall and NAT and DHCP of the ISP device will simply be disabled, when set to bridge mode.

Bridge Mode - how its supposed to be done

Device as double-NAT router with Dualstack Lite

Often you do not have a choice, whether your ISP gives you a real IPv4 address or an often discredited dual stack lite IPv4 address. (please research the full story e.g. on wikipedia, if you want to understand what Dualstack Lite is, in contrast to dual stack)

Very often dual stack lite is offered as default package by TVcable- or fiber-based Internet providers. A key feature of DS-Lite is, that it has so called carrier-grade NAT happening in some network equipment several blocks away from your home at your ISP's site, not in your ISP router at home.

Now it is important, to mention that dual stack lite and this carrier-grade NAT isn't really implemented in a standardized way. It can have slightly different implementation behaviour, depending on the actual equipment that the ISP has bought and depending on how this equipment is configured.

Sadly this won't help you, to expose any home services over IPv4 on the internet - This won't be possible with dual stack lite in any case.

But if online gaming over DS-Lite is your only concern, you might want to check if your double NAT on IPv4 is at all a problem in your favorite online games. Nowadays, often the carrier grade NAT of DS Lite is configured very online game-friedly, resulting in a “moderate” NAT rating in the game engine even when having the additional OpenWrt NAT cascaded in front of it and even when running with default firewall rules.

So if gaming (and game related UDP-peer-to-peer traffic handling) is your only concern regarding the double-NAT problem, you may just want to check your favorite games first and their reported NAT status, before investing extensive time in solving a double NAT problem that maybe does not even cause a problem for you.

Device as router with disabled NAT, additional routing rules

Using this scenario depends on, whether your ISP router supports custom routing rules.

This requires that your ISP router allows to define forward routing rules (often ISP routers are functional restricted in function and do not allow this).

The idea is of this solution is

  • to disable NAT on the OpenWrt router, but keep it's routing (and firewall) on.

  • so both your OpenWrt and the ISP router have routing enabled

  • you have to define non overlapping separate IP ranges and static IP addresses for the OpenWrt router and the ISP router

  • as OpenWrt's NAT is disabled, you need to manually set static routes, such that clients on both routers can send traffic to the other router

  • you need to add a static routing on the OpenWrt router, forwarding all Internet-address ranges to the ISP router

  • you need to add a static routing on the ISP router, forwarding the address range managed by OpenWrt to the OpenWrt router

Device as router as "exposed host" in the ISP router

This is an optional feature of your ISP router (so it could be that your ISP router may not support this). Sometimes this feature is called “DMZ for single server”, “exposed host” or “poor man bridge mode” (there is no standardized name)

The feature enables your ISP router to define a single one of its downstream ports to be a so called “exposed host”. The ISP router will then forward all incoming Internet traffic from its upstream side to this “exposed host”.

This effectively disables NAT on the ISP router only for a single connected device on the ISP router downstream side: For obvious reasons, we will be connecting our OpenWrt router as this exposed host. So in the end, we have achieved single NAT solely in the network chain towards the OpenWrt router.

(Remeber you still need to define usual port forwarding rules in your OpenWrt router, if you want to expose OpenWrt-connected-servers to the Internet)

Drawbacks of this method are: - the feature may not be supported by your ISP router, you'll have to find out if it does - the OpenWrt upstream port is exposed to the Internet, so be sure that you have not added any non-needed careless extra rules to the default OpenWrt firewall rule set - one of your ISP router ports is now without firewall protection. So be careful with this one downstream ISP router port now, in case you ever connect something else to this port.

"Exposed host" a.k.a "Poor Man's Bridge Mode"

Device as router in an ideal IPv6 only configuration

Obviously this ideal world does not yet exist. Its just a look-out for much later.Once this happens, the previous chapters of this howto can be ignoredThis will then be the default (and easiest) and only router option required for your IPv6 OpenWrt device, as you it will just work out of the box for all business cases.There will be no NAT issues, there is no longer a discussion whether to switch the ISP router to bridged or routed and no more discussion whether a “exposed host” config is needed.

  • You will be choosing to run OpenWrt as router (without variants), if you want to have an extra firewall active inside your home network (in addition to the firewall of your ISP router)

  • You will be choosing to run OpenWrt as switch instead (see below), if you don't want the extra bit of routing and firewall inside your home network

  • You will be choosing to run OpenWrt as gateway instead (also see below), if you need to connect to Internet via a special modem protocol

Device as a gateway, with a true modem between it and the Internet

If your OpenWrt device has no WAN port at all out of the box adn has a built-in modem with something like a VDSL-phone port, or if it has a WAN port and you have an external modem that can be put in “bridge mode” (either full bridge or half bridge), this is for you.

See this tutorial

OpenWrt as wireless repeater (wifi<->wifi switch)

If your OpenWrt device does not have LAN ports or if you don't want to connect any other devices using RJ45 LAN cables, then most probably you want to use the OpenWrt device as a WiFi repeater in your existing network.

OpenWrt as a wireless repeater (also called wireless range extender) takes an existing signal from a wireless router or wireless access point and rebroadcasts it to create a second network.

  • the other wifi network provides Internet access

  • OpenWrts upstream side (the other wifi network it will connect to) will be a wireless connection to another access point. OpenWrt acts as a client of this existing other network.

  • OpenWrts downstream side (the wifi network that OpenWrt will provide) will be an access point for your wireless clients.

  • the existing network on the wireless upstream side provides the DHCP service (OpenWrt's own DHCP will be off)

  • usually some other network device of the connected wifi has a firewall and NAT on and provides DHCP

  • OpenWrts firewall and NAT will be off (As OpenWrt will operate in switch mode which cannot use NAT)

  • as long as you do not purposely disable the LAN downstram ports, OpenWrt will also act as a wire-to-wifi switch
  • summed up, OpenWrt acts as a wifi-to-wifi switch

  • Note that OpenWrt will no longer listen on the typical default router address of your subnet (e.g. ip-address, but will get a custom address (either by DHCP from your other router or you have manually set a static address of the subnet of the other wifi)

Wifi Extender or Repeater or Bridge Configuration

Note: In case you are interested in creating a so called “wireless mesh” instead of a wireless repeater, you will have to refer to other projects like at this time.

OpenWrt as wireless access point (wifi<->wire switch)

As a wireless access point, OpenWrt connects to the existing network by wire. OpenWrt then acts as a networking device that allows your Wi-Fi devices to connect to the wired network over OpenWrt.

  • the wired network provides Internet access

  • OpenWrts upstream side (the other wired network it will connect to) will be a wired connection to the existing router. So OpenWrt acts as a client of this existing other network.

  • OpenWrts downstream side (the wifi network that OpenWrt will provide) will be an access point for your wireless clients

  • the existing router on the wired upstream side provides the DHCP service (OpenWrt's own DHCP will be off)

  • some other network device on your network will have a firewall and NAT on and provides DHCP

  • OpenWrts firewall and NAT will be off (As OpenWrt will operate in switch mode which cannot use NAT)

  • summed up, OpenWrt acts as a wifi-to-wired switch

  • as long as you do not purposely disable the LAN downstream ports, OpenWrt will also act as a wire-to-wire switch
  • Note that OpenWrt will no longer listen on the typical default router address of your subnet (e.g. ip-address, but will get a custom address (either by DHCP from your other router or you have manually set a static address of the subnet of the other wifi)

Wifi Access Point

OpenWrt as a wire-to-wire switch

This scenario has already been covered in the previous described access point scenario, as the downstream LAN ports in OpenWrt are active by default, providing switching: All your wired and wireless clients connected to either OpenWrt or your other network switches can talk to each other without restrictions, as no firewall is active on the OpenWrt device.

  • so just follow the wireless access point description - just with the difference: if you only need a wire-to-wire-switch, then just do not enable the downstream wifi

  • OpenWrt will then act as a wire-to-wire switch between the different OpenWrt-attached downstream devices and between the downstream ↔ upstream ports

  • in switch mode, OpenWrt cannot use NAT

  • Note that OpenWrt will no longer listen on the typical default router address of your subnet (e.g. ip-address, but will get a custom address (either by DHCP from your other router or you have manually set a static address of the subnet of the other wifi)

docs/guide-user/network/switch_router_gateway_and_nat.txt · Last modified: 2018/03/03 20:15 by

Buyers' Guide [OpenWrt Wiki]

This wiki is read only and for archival purposes only. >>>>>>>>>> Please use the new OpenWrt wiki at

OpenWrt is a niche Linux distribution, which enables you to deploy a vast variety of software. Your hardware is the only limit. This guide is intended to help you pick the right hardware to meet your particular needs.

OpenWrt does not recommend any hardware or manufacturer! There is no "best hardware", so stop asking. Purchase something that meets your requirements. Inform yourself about the current hardware support on the Internet and ask other users/developers for a personal recommendation in the forum. Avoid overhyped, overpriced products -embedded hardware can be VERY inexpensive! OpenWrt is what does the magic!



  • the bootloader should not only be under a FOSS license, but preferably under the GPL, so that the OEM is forced to release the complete source code
  • some bootloaders make installing OpenWrt unnecessarily complicated or even impossible!

  • some bootloaders allow you to boot from a USB device or Boot over Ethernet but many do not


  • How many NICs does the System on a chip incorporate? Common are one or two, very seldom more. These are implemented as SoC-integrated Ethernet-MAC-blocks, which are each connected over a xMII to a distinct PHY (chip).Note: Do not confuse the number of Ports with the number of NICs.
  • Which Ethernet-Layer-1 standard does the NIC/NICs support?BASE100-TX (i.e. 100MBit/s, Fast Ethernet) orBASE1000-T (i.e. 1000MBit/s, Gigabit Ethernet)?
  • Is there an integrated Ethernet switch?

  • Which Ethernet-Layer-1 standard does the integrated switch support? (BASE-100TX or BASE1000-T)

  • How many RJ45 ports are there? Most common are 5 Ports (4 for LAN and 1 for WAN).
  • Is the switch manageable? Which capabilities does it offer?

  • Support for EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet), Green Ethernet officially: IEEE 802.3az
  • Support for PoE (Power over Ethernet). non standard "passive" 12V, 24V or standardized IEEE802.3af,IEEE802.3at


(Please consult the Wireless Overview)

  • How many WNICs? Common are one or two. These can be :
    • SoC-integrated: this is commonly called WiSoC

    • Onboard: the wifi chip is the same used in MiniPCI/e cards but soldered on the main PCB

    • MiniPCI: the wifi card can be extracted, and replaced by another different MiniPCI model
    • MiniPCIe: the wifi card can be extracted, and replaced by another different MiniPCIe model
  • Which substandards of the IEEE 802.11-family shall the wireless hardware support? Most common ones are 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac and 802.11s
  • Capabilites: 1T1R, 2T2R, 3T3R or 2T3R ..

  • Frequencies (or bands):

    • For the AP to be capable to run in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at the same time, the router must support dual band simultan aka DBDC (DualBand-DualConcurrent). This tag shall help you find suitable devices more quickly: 802.11abgn simultan
    • At 2,4GHz you only have 3 distinct channels without overlap, in the 5GHz band there are 19 (EU)/ 13 (USA)/ ?? (Japan) channels without overlapping available

    • The 2.4 GHz band is quite crowded with Bluetooth PAN, while 5GHz is usually unused.
  • Is it relevant to you whether the WNICs are SoftMAC or FullMAC devices?
  • Are the antennae detachable? If so, you could replace them with ones with a better gain, or with (home-made) directional antennae.
  • FLOSS drivers: this is very important for a correct wifi performance/behavior. For years Broadcom didn't supply enough quality FLOSS drivers (or hardware specifications) and it seems won't ever happen, propietary wl drivers often causes crashes or incorrect behaviors, then avoid Broadcom's wifis. As recommended by many people, Atheros or Ralink/Mediatek wifis are probably the best choice.


Processors and Memory

  • The most crucial decision is your choice of RAM. If you are going to run asterisk, mumble, Direct Connect, BitTorrent, a web server and other stuff, enough RAM will make them run smoothly. Some of them tolerate SWAP pretty good, others do not. FYI: If you are considering adding more RAM, keep in mind that there are no DDR1-Modules bigger then 64MB. Also, the SoC sometimes only support so much. For example, the Marvell Kirkwood, supports a maximum of 512MB.
  • Occasionally the computing power of the CPU proves to be a bottleneck. To compare you should have a look at the CPU included on with SoC. Do not compare raw MHz, e.g. a MIPS [email protected] is in most scenarios faster then a MIPS [email protected]
    • as you can see by referring to the flash layout with a total of 8MiB flash memory, you can use about 5MiB for own packages.


  • TRNG: Most devices use a software random number generator. Only few are equiped with a true hardware random number generator, see trng tag


  • USB: connect a hub, harddiscs, ssds, usb sticks, UMTS modems, cameras, sound cards, etc. →usb.overview
  • Serial: very useful for developers, limited uses for end users →port.serial
  • JTAG: very useful for developers and also for end users →port.JTAG
  • TAE sockets: a telephone connector used mosly in Germany


  • You can boot your device into OpenWrt Failsafe with a reset button, without one, this is only possible through connection over serial! Also, after boot up, you can attach functions to the buttons, like start/stop WLAN, reconnect DSL, start/stop a daemon, mount/unmount partitions, etc.

Platform / Architecture

OpenWrt targets traditional routers. These run on ARM or MIPS CPUs. However running inside a VM or on common x86 Hardware is also possible. While most consumer Hardware can lack Ethernet ports, Hardware for IPC (Industrial PC) or server mainboards are built and advertised for 24/7 operation. Other embedded devices or SBC (Single-board_computer) may be viable alternatives.

Certified Operation Modes

Temperature Most hardware is constructed to run at a temperature range from 0-40°C (Operating Temperature). This is appropriate for most indoor use cases. However - increased temperature can speed up the aging of electric components. Industrial PC, Server Hardware or outdoor equiment may be certified and constructed to extended temperature ranges:

  • 0-70°C (server, IPC)

  • -30-75°C (outdoor AP)


Some plastics used in wiring or enclosures are problematic in outdoor operations under direct sunlight. Specialized UV resistant outdoor cabling and enclosures exist. Shielding from water (rain) and/or dust is certified with an IP_Code.


Price comparison for currently purchasable hardware

There used to be price comparison sites which could search on keyword for OpenWRT. Currently none are known. If you find a site with an effective comparison please add it to the wiki here or report it on the OpenWRT forum.

Note_1: On many price comparison sites you can search for OpenWRT. Beware, though, that sometimes this is the information that OpenWRT only works on certain versions so isn't useful.. Check with the OpenWrt Table of Hardware to see if the router is really supported.

United States

Amazon also lets you search for OpenWrt, but you cannot filter for OpenWrt support:

Note_1: The filter is not 100% perfect, be sure to double check a router before buying

Find hardware matching your criteria

Installing OpenWrt [OpenWrt Wiki]

This wiki is read only and for archival purposes only. >>>>>>>>>> Please use the new OpenWrt wiki at

The installation of OpenWrt is device specific. These device specific procedures should be found in the wiki. See Table of Hardware for available procedures. If your device is not listed, information in this Howto may be helpful.

:!: If your attempt to install OpenWrt fails, please view generic.debrick for fixes.

:!: This HOWTO is VERY generic. You cannot use it in most situations, as you have to adapt values and other parts for specific hardware. Please look at the supported hardware page for device-specific documentation.

In most circumstances; you have three options:

  • Option 1: install OpenWrt onto the router's non-volatile memory

  • Option 2: install OpenWrt onto the RAM

Four Installation Methods

There are four ways to install OpenWrt on a device:

Method 1: via OEM firmware

Open the WebUI of the OEM firmware with your web browser and install the OpenWrt factory firmware image file using the "Firmware Upgrade" option. Your device should reboot with OpenWrt installed.

NOTE: Sometimes the OEM firmware will only allow you to flash your device with a specific firmware file. If that is the case, you will not be able to install OpenWrt using this method. However, for some devices the build bots prepare tagged builds such that they are compliant with the firmwares from the manufacturer. This should be documented on the device specific page for your model.

Method 2: via Bootloader and an Ethernet port

Most, if not all bootloaders provide built-in functionality for this purpose. Some use a TFTP-client, others a TFTP-server, others a FTP-client, some an FTP-server, some a web server and some use the XMODEM-protocol.

Before proceeding you need to determine the following:

  • the preset IP address of the bootloader (not necessarily identical to the IP address the device has after it has booted the original firmware!)

  • the protocol and whether the bootloader acts as client or as server

  • the correct port number (if not default)
  • the interface you need to connect to

  • a user name and login password (if necessary)

  • the time window you have after starting the device to obtain a connection

Once you know all of the above parameters, you may proceed.

  1. Install the appropriate software on your PC (i.e. if the bootloader uses an FTP-server, you need a FTP-client).
  2. Configure a static IP address for your PC interface in the same IP address block as pre-configured in the bootloader.

  3. Connect your PC to the device.

  4. Power cycle the device.

  5. Connect to the bootloader using the software you chose

  6. Install the OpenWrt firmware file.

  7. Do not overwrite or alter the bootloader until explicitly instructed to do so!

NOTES: Sometimes even the bootloader prevents you from flashing a non-OEM firmware. If you have a short time window, the connection between your computer and device needs to be established quickly. To make this as quick possible, you can disable auto-negotiation on your NIC and/or disable media sensing.

Specific Howtos

Method 3: via Bootloader and Serial port

Method 4: via JTAG

Install a ramdisk-image into main memory

This step shows you howto upload a new ramdisk image to the device. The existing firmware on the flash remains unchanged! You require a working serial cable to do the ramdisk upload.

  1. specifically select the RAMDISK option to make OpenWrt Buildroot create a ramdisk-image for you to upload

  2. connect an ethernet cable between your computer and one of the LAN ports (doesn't matter which, just so long as it's not the WAN port) of the WNDR3700.
  3. connect your serial cable to the header on the WNDR3700 and set your local terminal program (eg. minicom) to

  4. set your computer's ethernet port to use the IP address

  5. set up a TFTP server on your local computer to respond to requests on the interface. Make sure that the ramdisk image (openwrt-ar71xx-uImage-lzma.bin) is in the directory used by the TFTP server.

  6. Fix the header for the ramdisk image so that it's recognized by the u-Boot firmware. Use the wndr3700.c program that was posted by *aorlinsk* on the forums here and run it from the TFTP server's data directory. I've also reproduced the code here just in case:
    • ./wndr3700 openwrt-ar71xx-uImage-lzma.bin openwrt-fixed.out
  7. power up the board. When it gets to the message asking you to press any key to interrupt the normal bootup sequence, press a key on the serial console (or just hold down the enter key from first bootup until you get to a prompt):

  8. enter the following into the serial console:setenv ipaddr setenv serverip setenv bootargs 'board=WNDR3700' tftpboot 80800000 openwrt-fixed.out bootm (if you forget the bootargs piece below, the board will boot and look normal, but it won't be able to bring up any of the network interfaces!)
  9. The system should boot!

Concrete examples: wnr2000, …

Don't forget to consult the other Generic Basic Howtos for OpenWrt

Installation Checklist

This checklist cannot and does not completely cover all the ways you can install OpenWrt.

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