OpenWRT upgrade

I upgraded my OpenWRT firewall/router/wap last night, as traffic shaping broke on my previous build a couple weeks ago. I learned a couple of things in the process:

  • While ipkg looks like apt-get, openwrt isn’t really set up to do a full system update in the same way as debian. To upgrade from where I was to RC6, I needed to reflash my base image.
  • Flashing an image is a lot less scary now. The inband mtd tool is very nice.
  • OpenWRT does a really nice overlay between a squashfs ro and jffs rw filesystem now. What that means to the layman is the base image never is modified, just changes on top of it are tracked, so you can easily revert a disruptive change to the base. I was using an old jffs only image, so this is a nice change. It also looks like a future update of the squashfs image will leave my overlay alone (not tested). I’ll do the backup later to ensure I can recover after another backup.
  • There is a traffic shaper built in now (via the qos-scripts package) which is a Layer 7 classifier (so it doesn’t matter if bittorent / http / anything uses different ports, as it is doing classification by examining the packets for content). One of the big reasons for me doing the upgrade is wondershaper on my old image broke for me after an update. The shaping by qos-scripts are quite good from all my tests last night.
  • The web configuration interface for OpenWRT is a lot better, and doesn’t seem to break things horribly (which is what happened the last time I used it).

Upgrading firmware on any device is always a scary thing, however I’m really happy with what the openwrt team has done so far. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on an Aruba AP70 to play with kamakaze (openwrt-unstable) on. Moving up to a current 2.6 kernel would be a nice thing. 🙂

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