Upgrading to OpenWRT 10.03.1-rc5

A few weeks ago, I upgraded my Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH home router to OpenWRT 10.03.1-rc5. I followed the same upgrade process as I used to upgrade to previous releases. However, this time most settings were not restored correctly.

Note: The 10.03.1 “Release Candidate” series aren’t true RCs. They are reasonably stable snapshots of current development, rather than iterations of bug fixes of the same stable code base. rc5 includes a new Luci web interface and newer kernel and hardware drivers since rc4. This makes experimenting with these releases that much more exciting.

What went wrong:

  1. The LAN IP address changed to the default, 192.168.1.1/24. The Luci interface showed the DHCP server disabled, although it gave me an address (from the new range) when I connected. It stopped doing so after I changed the interface IP, which means the “no DHCP” setting took effect when I hit Apply.
  2. A number of other settings reset to defaults: hostname, domain name, all DNS and DHCP options, remote syslog server IP, LED configuration, and wifi settings.

What went right:

  1. It is no longer necessary to install the kmod-ath9k and wpad-mini drivers after installation. Wifi just works without additional packages.
  2. My custom firewall configuration survived, as did my .profile for root.
  3. The new Luci interface really is better than the old one.
  4. Multiple wireless networks with different encryption settings now works. I can again have a hidden WEP network for my Nintendo DS.

After the upgrade, I followed the steps in my original post and reconfigured the lost settings. Since my BackupPC server takes regular backups of /overlay, it was trivial to restore most of what was lost from /etc/config. That was especially useful for my OpenVPN configuration.

The problems began when I tried to enable wifi. I found that it was stable in 802.11b-only mode, but when I tried to use “auto”, “b+g”, or “g+n” mode, both of my laptops repeatedly lost their connections. I tried many combinations of options before giving up and using another AP (as I have done since a week after buying this router). I have hope that this will one day be unnecessary.

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