Advice on frequency of updating?

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ellick
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Joined: 28 Mar 2016
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 14:33    Post subject: Advice on frequency of updating? Reply with quote
I have a linksys WRT1900acs v.1 I tried installing dd-wrt last year and could never get the 5ghz radio working. I used openwrt for the last year.

I recently tried dd-wrt again (I prefer it's ease of use) and am running DD-WRT v3.0-r39884 from the end of May/2019

My question is do most people upgrade to the newest build all the time? My needs are pretty simple and I just want something to set and forget as long as it does what I need. This build seems to fit the bill so is their any reason to upgrade to newer builds or is that mostly for the hobbyists who like to tinker all the time?

I know some people run years old firmware but how often do people recommend upgrading for better features or security updates?


Last edited by ellick on Sun Jun 16, 2019 13:40; edited 1 time in total
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giles02134
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 20:35    Post subject: Reply with quote
Speaking personally, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. By that I mean if everything is working the way you want it to, there's no real need to upgrade.

That said, you probably don't want to get too far behind the latest release. My primary concern is waiting so long to upgrade that I'd be forced to reset completely, rather than carrying my settings from one release to the next.

I went a year without updating, and then begin updating at the end of May, and have had no problems at all. Assuming the current release that I'm using now is stable, I'll probably just stick with it for awhile.

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eibgrad
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Joined: 18 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 0:30    Post subject: Reply with quote
Unless there's a security issue or a desperate need for a new feature, I generally update only once per year. And mostly because the update process that I recommend is NOT very convenient.

I don't recommend updating the firmware w/o also clearing nvram, then reapplying all your changes manually. To do otherwise is to risk problems. History has shown this to be the case. Yes, you may get lucky in some cases, but often the resulting problems are not immediately obvious. These routers routinely get messed up just changing from one set of configuration options to another on the same firmware, nevermind updating the entire firmware. And the reason is simple; due to limited space, the amount of error checking and resetting that takes place is *very* limited. And that sometimes results in artifacts from the prior configuration that linger (inappropriately) in the new configuration. That's why you'll often see ppl w/ problems being told to reset the router to factory defaults. And like magic, their problems just disappear.

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giles02134
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:14    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm wondering--suppose one were to update, make a settings backup, clear NVRAM, then after the reboot, restore the settings backup. Would that be a way to perform a clean install without having to manually reenter all the settings?
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Router: Linksys WRT1900ACSv2
Modem: Arris Surfboard SB6141
DD-WRT v3.0-r40134 std (06/27/19)
ISP: RCN
NAS: ReadyNas314
eibgrad
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Sep 2010
Posts: 8034

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:24    Post subject: Reply with quote
giles02134 wrote:
I'm wondering--suppose one were to update, make a settings backup, clear NVRAM, then after the reboot, restore the settings backup. Would that be a way to perform a clean install without having to manually reenter all the settings?


No, because the artifacts are in nvram. And when you backup and restore the settings, that's what you're backing up and restoring, nvram.

Also, there's no guarantee the nvram settings from one version of the firmware to the next are exactly the same. Variables can be added, removed, or changed at any time. The only safe time to backup and restore settings is to the same version of the firmware, which of course is of no value when updating to a new version of the firmware. You would only perform a backup under such circumstances in case you had to return to the old firmware.

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ttowling
DD-WRT User


Joined: 01 Mar 2019
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
eibgrad wrote:
giles02134 wrote:
I'm wondering--suppose one were to update, make a settings backup, clear NVRAM, then after the reboot, restore the settings backup. Would that be a way to perform a clean install without having to manually reenter all the settings?


No, because the artifacts are in nvram. And when you backup and restore the settings, that's what you're backing up and restoring, nvram.

Also, there's no guarantee the nvram settings from one version of the firmware to the next are exactly the same. Variables can be added, removed, or changed at any time. The only safe time to backup and restore settings is to the same version of the firmware, which of course is of no value when updating to a new version of the firmware. You would only perform a backup under such circumstances in case you had to return to the old firmware.


So when updating between builds, the nvram is not refreshed?
Yemble
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Joined: 17 Feb 2010
Posts: 577
Location: Yorkshire (GOC)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:50    Post subject: Reply with quote
eibgrad wrote:
Unless there's a security issue or a desperate need for a new feature, I generally update only once per year. And mostly because the update process that I recommend is NOT very convenient.

I don't recommend updating the firmware w/o also clearing nvram, then reapplying all your changes manually. To do otherwise is to risk problems. History has shown this to be the case. Yes, you may get lucky in some cases, but often the resulting problems are not immediately obvious. These routers routinely get messed up just changing from one set of configuration options to another on the same firmware, nevermind updating the entire firmware. And the reason is simple; due to limited space, the amount of error checking and resetting that takes place is *very* limited. And that sometimes results in artifacts from the prior configuration that linger (inappropriately) in the new configuration. That's why you'll often see ppl w/ problems being told to reset the router to factory defaults. And like magic, their problems just disappear.


Well that is a slightly paranoid way of looking at it Shocked

For a lot of us, who upgrade fairly frequently, whilst also retaining settings, serious issues are actually very rare. A lot depends upon your router model and the feature stack that you run, but for a basic WiFi setup, DD-WRT upgrades are usually non events.

My advice is to read all of the relevant DD-WRT forum posts relating to each new release first and avoid those releases where significant issues have been reported.

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wizardeye
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 27 Jun 2019
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:32    Post subject: Reply with quote
I agree with the folks above... If it ain't broke don't mess with it.
That said you do need modern features occasionally

I wish there were a public list of BEST builds stating why you want the version (major bug fix X or feature X implemented) with notes that many people are stable for at least 30 days. I simply cant keep up with the daily\weekly builds nor do I want to... I'll have others do the experimentation. (Thank you to those that do!)

I had many of the same questions.
I was running v3.0-r30796 std (10/25/16) up to last month and often had up times well exceeding 200 days.

I made the jump over to v3.0-r39884 std (05/30/19) and currently have an uptime of 25 days with no issues

You want to clear NVRAM because my understanding is that unlike firmware (which there are two and you can switch) there is only one set of NVRAM. Need to clear it so you're not polluting the startup.
NBA Jam
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Nov 2018
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 0:24    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yemble wrote:
eibgrad wrote:
Unless there's a security issue or a desperate need for a new feature, I generally update only once per year. And mostly because the update process that I recommend is NOT very convenient.

I don't recommend updating the firmware w/o also clearing nvram, then reapplying all your changes manually. To do otherwise is to risk problems. History has shown this to be the case. Yes, you may get lucky in some cases, but often the resulting problems are not immediately obvious. These routers routinely get messed up just changing from one set of configuration options to another on the same firmware, nevermind updating the entire firmware. And the reason is simple; due to limited space, the amount of error checking and resetting that takes place is *very* limited. And that sometimes results in artifacts from the prior configuration that linger (inappropriately) in the new configuration. That's why you'll often see ppl w/ problems being told to reset the router to factory defaults. And like magic, their problems just disappear.


Well that is a slightly paranoid way of looking at it Shocked



That's a pretty standard way of working with software upgrades. If you've ever implemented software upgrades in an enterprise environment, there's a reason why they'll spend weeks planning ahead, determining rollback plans, etc. Downtime costs money. Upgrades don't always go as planned.

There's no reason to regularly update unless you're looking for specific fixes for issues you're currently having, are waiting for a specific feature, or if you're an active beta tester.

Gotta keep in mind that DD-WRT releases don't go through a formal QA process. There's no dedicated multifunctional team testing out software on different types of hardware with a standard check sheet before each release. There's always a possibility that a new DD-WRT release will break things. Thankfully DD-WRT can be fairly easily rolled back on most routers.
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