How to Download and Install OpenWRT
OpenWRT is an open source firmware project for routers and embedded devices. The goal of the project is to provide users with an alternative to the stock firmware provided by vendors. OpenWRT provides a robust root filesystem, a package management system, and a custom user interface. This guide will show you how to download and install OpenWRT on your router using 2 different methods; directly with an ethernet cable and with Windows.
A note of caution here; it’s advisable to have some systems admin experience when attempting to download and add files/new applications to both your machine and router. Any downloads and upgrades you attempt to make are completely at your own risk.
Method 1: Installing OpenWRT with an Ethernet Cable
This method is the easiest providing you have an ethernet cable to hand.
If you’re still confident and planning to proceed, here are the steps you’ll need to get OpenWRT running:
1) Download the OpenWRT image file from the OpenWRT website.
2) Connect your router to your computer using an Ethernet cable.
3) On your computer, navigate to the OpenWRT website and select the image file that you want to download.
4) Select your router model from the drop-down menu and click “Download”.
5) Once the file has finished downloading, extract the contents of the ZIP file to a new folder on your computer.
6) Inside the new folder, locate the image file that you downloaded (it will have a .img extension).
7) Copy the image file to a USB flash drive.
8) Insert the USB flash drive into one of the USB ports on your router.
9) On your router’s web interface, go to “Administration” > “Firmware Upgrade”.
10) Under “Upgrade File”, select the image file that you copied to the USB flash drive.
11) Click “Upgrade” and wait for the upgrade process to complete.
12) Once the upgrade is complete, you can begin using OpenWRT on your router!
Method 2: Installing OpenWRT via Windows
This method will also require additional installs such as Putty, again exercise caution with any additional downloads.
Here’s how to install OpenWRT via Windows:
1) If you are using Windows, download PuTTY from any official mirror site.
2) Extract putty.exe from the ZIP file that you downloaded and launch it.
3) In the “Host Name (or IP address)” field, enter your router’s IP address (you can find this in your router’s web interface).
4) In the “Port” field, enter “22”.
5) Under “Connection type”, select “SSH”.
6) Click “Open”.
7) When prompted, enter your router’s username and password (the default username is “root” and there is no password by default).
8) Once you are logged in, enter “wget http://downloads.openwrt.org/snapshots/trunk/ar71xx/generic/openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wr841n-v7-squashfs-factory.img” without quotes and press Enter. This will download the latest snapshot of OpenWRT for TL-WR841N v7 routers.
9) Wait for the download to complete (it may take a few minutes).
10) Once it has finished downloading, enter “sysupgrade -n openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wr841n-v7-squashfs-factory.img” without quotes and press Enter (this will start upgrading your router’s firmware).
11) Wait for the upgrade process to complete (this may take a few minutes).
12) Once it has finished upgrading, open http://192\.168\.1\.1 in your web browser (replace 192\.168\.1\.1 with your router’s IP address).
13 You should see the OpenWRT web interface! (note: if you see a message asking you to login, use username: rootpassword: none)
You should now be able to use OpenWRT on your TL-WR841N v7 router!
And That's It
With just a few simple steps, you can easily download and install OpenWRT on your router! By following this guide, you can take advantage of all that OpenWRT has to offer, including a robust root filesystem, package management system, and custom user interface.
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