December 5, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas

New Network covid-19: day 613 | US: GA | info | act

Our trusty AirPort Extreme has served us well for years, but it’s showing its age. I think we could have kept using it a bit longer, but it’s started acting a bit quirky, so I decided to preemptively replace it and tweak the network at the same time.

So, with the success of the travel router build, I decided to get a router/wireless access point that could run OpenWrt. After a bit of reading, I decided upon the TP-Link Archer A7 v5. It’s relatively cheap on Amazon, compared especially to the Apple base station I’m replacing. I set it up with the stock firmware, and it ran pretty good. I waffled a bit on flashing it, but most of my online reading and viewing convinced me to just make the upgrade.

This morning was time. The web-based flash did not work, so I had to use the TFTP method (this guy’s video was helpful to get a sense of what I was doing). My old iMac running Mojave had one built-in, and the process was pretty easy following this guy’s minimalist how-to. The only indication I had that it was working were the LEDs on the front of the router. The power light blinked as the firmware was installed, then after a couple of minutes, the LAN port I was plugged into lit up. No wireless connections were possible at first, so I had to manually assign an IP to my iMac to connect to LuCI. Bam, I was in. A quick flash to the current version of OpenWrt, and then I had my wireless connections up in a couple of minutes.

I had a bit of configuring to do, but I look forward to putting this guy through his paces over the next few days.