Archer C7v3: need help on a few questions b4 FW install

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darussiaman
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Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 94
Location: Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 23:56    Post subject: Archer C7v3: need help on a few questions b4 FW install Reply with quote
I have the Archer C7 v3 router w/ factory firmware. I want to install DD-WRT.

What I've researched so far:
* read the install wiki and the firmware FAQ.
* read the sticky threads here and here
* Found a few threads about this router using search

However, I still have some questions about installing. The wiki is a bit confusing/contradictory/vague to me. Here are my questions:

1.) Just to double-check: what exactly is the next step after flashing the "factory-to-ddwrt file"? Wiki says to "Reset DD-WRT running firmware to factory defaults first to clear out the NVRAM". But all the settings will already be at default, right? So, this step doesn't change any settings but does clear the NVRAM--is that right?

2.) After resetting to defaults, do I immediately flash the actual build that I want to use? The wiki also says "Assign desired IP and configure the rest of the router... " before it gets to the section about upgrading. This is a mistake right? Should I ignore that part and proceed to upgrading the build?

3.) Someone in this thread says to "use erase nvram command via telnet or SSH" for resetting. Is this actually necessary?? Is the reset in question 1 enough?

4.) As for which build to use. One of the sticky threads says: "Sometimes today's latest release may not be the best in terms of performance because a lot might have been stripped out to make way for newer features. This is both good and bad. With new features come new bugs and/or increased CPU & Ram usage which may cripple the router under heavy loads."
So, I found in this thread someone saying that one of the 2017 builds works well. Is there a good reason to go for the newest builds instead of this older one? I'm not sure if I would benefit from the newest features.

Thank you.

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blkt
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Joined: 20 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:59    Post subject: Reply with quote
Reset should be done after build installation and boot; use newer command (2018) nvram erase && reboot.

Also avoid using any webUI reset method within factory defaults, and especially during a firmware upgrade.

The factory-to-ddwrt.bin is enough to install dd-wrt and tplink_archer-c7-v3.bin upgrades an existing install.

Pale Moon (52), Waterfox (Latest 78, Classic 56), Firefox ESR 78 Portable or Firefox ESR Legacy (68/52/45)

New Build - 04/19/2021 - r46395: ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2021/04-19-2021-r46395/tplink_archer-c7-v3/

I do not have Archer C7 v3 model. If older performance or usability outweighs security, make a decision.

Try different builds see how they work. Recommend R7800. Alternatives are R9000, R7500v2 or EA8500.

Edit: Build r46395 released, so updated build thread and ftp links. Avoid Chrome or Chromium browsers.


Last edited by blkt on Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:32; edited 2 times in total
servicetech
DD-WRT User


Joined: 26 Jun 2019
Posts: 377

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:15    Post subject: Re: Archer C7v3: need help on a few questions b4 FW install Reply with quote
darussiaman wrote:
Here are my questions:

1.) Just to double-check: what exactly is the next step after flashing the "factory-to-ddwrt file"? Wiki says to "Reset DD-WRT running firmware to factory defaults first to clear out the NVRAM".


Use the factory-to-ddwrt from a known good build for your hardware. You should not use anything older than 2019 for security reasons and there should be a reason in using older builds (stability, performance). Keep in mind, that dd-wrt targets different hardware, so it is less optimizable per design for a specific chipset. The factory firmware stores its settings into nvram, a nvram erase && reboot will clear nvram for dd-wrt.

darussiaman wrote:

2.) After resetting to defaults, do I immediately flash the actual build that I want to use?


You should start with a known good build for your hardware, and know recovery options. Do NOT flash dd-wrt from any openwrt build only from factory firmware.

darussiaman wrote:

3.) Someone in this thread says to "use erase nvram command via telnet or SSH" for resetting. Is this actually necessary?? Is the reset in question 1 enough?


nvram erase && reboot is the most reliable way. There are builds without a reliable working GUI factory reset, update or reset button.

darussiaman wrote:

4.) As for which build to use. One of the sticky threads says: "Sometimes today's latest release may not be the best in terms of performance because a lot might have been stripped out to make way for newer features.

Thank you.


Depends on your network and device setup. Read build related posts matching your device. I don't own a C7 v3.
A recommended build for a C7 v2 (hardware is identical) is r41791
darussiaman
DD-WRT User


Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 94
Location: Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2021 23:37    Post subject: Reply with quote
blkt wrote:

The factory-to-ddwrt.bin is enough to install dd-wrt and tplink_archer-c7-v3.bin upgrades an existing install.


Ohhh, okay! I had a stupid misinterpretation in my head. For some reason I thought the installation from factory firmware is a 2-step process where you first use the factory-to-ddwrt file and then install the tplink_archer-c7-v3.bin immediately after from the same build. No idea why I thought this... *facepalm* It's been years since the last time I've installed DD-WRT on anything.

The wiki totally makes sense, after all.

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darussiaman
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Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 94
Location: Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 0:59    Post subject: Reply with quote
blkt wrote:
If older performance or usability outweighs security, make a decision.


servicetech wrote:
You should not use anything older than 2019 for security reasons and there should be a reason in using older builds (stability, performance).


Thank you for bringing up security reasons for why I should use a newer build. Just curious: what are the security improvements between a build from after 2019 vs before?

blkt wrote:
Avoid Chrome or Chromium browsers.


Thanks for the reminder! Speaking of this, I think someone in the developer team should update the Installation wiki to include this. I recall seeing this stated somewhere before but I can't find it anywhere anymore.

Anyway, I'm working on this in small steps. Thanks for pointing out that V3 is the same hardware as V2. As a result, I've decided I will try build r44715 based on this thread that I found. If there are any issues with that one, I'll try 41791, and then option C will be 36527 based on the same thread.

I've enabled Telnet and already had Pale Moon installed.

So I should be all set to go. Just to double-check, my next steps are:

1. reset stock firmware to default via the GUI
2. flash the "factory-to-ddwrt.bin" file using the stock firmware's install firmware option (while using Pale Moon)
3. Once it's done flashing, use Command Prompt to:
Code:
telnet 192.168.1.1
nvram erase && reboot


Is this correct?

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servicetech
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Joined: 26 Jun 2019
Posts: 377

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:07    Post subject: Reply with quote
darussiaman wrote:
Thanks for pointing out that V3 is the same hardware as V2.

the hardware is same, the factory firmware is different to my knowledge. I remember a post, that the C7 v3 is sold in US only, and the factory firmware is modified (locked to US).

If you see weird behaviour on GUI/basic functionality or flashed update/downgrade tplink archer v3 file, nvram erase && reboot will clean up the settings space, after reboot the device should run equal to first dd-wrt start.

There are no stable builds, it's try and decide what build gets your daily driver. If the device WAN is directly attached to ISP (modem/media converter) with public IP it should be as recent as possible. Wifi is different to me, as wifi security is mostly based on the wifi security settings and a reliable wifi driver and the wifi range restricts the battlegound for attacks.

EDIT: I have used the bitdefender home scanner to check the private network devices via WLAN on my WR941v6. It did not detect any problem on the router with r40750 except the http webgui (insecure). The 4M WR94x firmware does not support https WebGUI, WebGUI must be restricted to home private network.
darussiaman
DD-WRT User


Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 94
Location: Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2021 19:48    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey all,

I finally installed build 44715, and it's working... but with some problem(s).

The 5 GHz antenna is not working. The second antenna light is not lighting up on the router, and in GUI what I see is in the attached screenshot.

Should I just accept that this build is problematic for this router and try a different one? Or is there anything else I should try first?

***

Also, why does the "System Information" panel say that this router is a C7 v2 even though it's definitely v3? It says that it's v3 on the back.

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Rocket222
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Joined: 26 Nov 2019
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 16:36    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just installed latest beta dd-wrt firmware (r46604) on my newly bought used Archer C7 v2 router and it works fine as an AP.

Try following this: https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=324014, in setting up the wireless.
darussiaman
DD-WRT User


Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 94
Location: Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 1:45    Post subject: Reply with quote
Rocket222 wrote:
I just installed latest beta dd-wrt firmware (r46604) on my newly bought used Archer C7 v2 router and it works fine as an AP.


Thanks for letting me know! I actually figured out what the problem was at about the same time as your post. I had somehow forgotten to fill in the password (or key?) for the 5 GHz network, though I had set all the other security settings. Apparently, even if you enable the radio, it stays disabled until you finish setting all the security settings, and I didn't notice that I wasn't finished.

Anyway, build 44715 appears to be working now.

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