Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 14:33 Post subject: ASUS RT-N66U Silently failing to upgrade DDWRT versions
I have an old N66U that I am trying to get running DD-WRT as a part of a home networking project.
I understand that this router is fairly well supported by DD-WRT, and overall the installation has gone smoothly. (or as smoothly as a first time router firmware replacement can go, haha.) I am just having one problem that I can't find any documentation on.
This router has followed the following route of firmware upgrades:
1. Pulled out of my basement with 380.x on it. Not sure what the exact version was. It was incredibly buggy, so I had to get off of it.
2. Installed the Merlin WRT 374.43_52E7j9527 LTS build using the CFE/recovery mode method.
3. Installed dd-wrt v24 21676 NEWD 2 K3.x mega RT-N66U trx file from the Merlin WebGUI.
4. Attempted to install the dd-wrt v24 46979 NEWD 2 K3.x big RT-N66U trk from the DD-WRT WebGUI.
For this step, the firmware loaded, router reported a successful upgrade, the router rebooted, etc, but when I logged back into the webGUI, the firmware in the top right corner still reported the older DD-WRT installed in step 3.
Between each step I cleaned NVRAM, did some basic config, tested to confirm it wasn't hopelessly broken, cleared NVRAM again, then uploaded the next firmware as described above.
I used the listed versions because I found multiple forum posts for each describing them as working properly on this model. So far all but the last upgrade have gone smoothly.
I am mostly looking to upgrade to this new release for any security gains, for any extra features, and to bring the system as up to date as I reasonably can. If staying at the current DD-WRT version doesn't present any huge issues, that's a solution for me. Same with going back to MerlinWRT.
This router will be used to establish a DMZ for a little self-hosted website on an old Pi I have kicking around, so it doesn't need to do anything particularly fancy.
I am confused if I am simply missing something, or if I am doing it wrong. I have looked all over these forums and search engines for a similar issue, but it doesn't seem to come up. Any ideas? I would be happy to read any further documentation people can share. I've gone over all the major articles related to installing and updating DD-WRT that I could find, mostly from the Wiki and Peacock thread and this forum's search function.
Firefox/FF ESR Portable in private browsing mode; Asus mini CFE webserver (recovery mode); Asus firmware restoration utility. There have been noted issues upgrading from 21676 I seem to recall; you may want to also look into upgrading via CLI (see installation wiki in sig). Big thing of importance is the CFE version installed on your RT-N66U as to what firmware images you can flash. It's all discussed in the wiki.
I'll try again with FF ESR portable, I was using IE based on guidance I read somewhere in the documentation for that build. (or something... the last couple days of perusing the documentation here is a blur)
CFE is version 18.104.22.168, (when I checked under MerlinWRT), which the last build I'm trying to move to should work with. DD-WRT shows that 64 KB of NVRAM are available in total, so I think the main issue of compatibility there is already solved.
If FF ESR doesn't work I'll try to command line update. I will see if I can find any other people's reports about updating from this hard-to-upgrade build and see if they have any specific wisdom.
I'll report back here if I find anything interesting and when I've tried something else. Thank you both for your replies.
Alright, so I got it to upgrade to 46979. I simply downloaded, set up, and launched the Firefox ESR browser.
I am going to be up front and say that I *may* have previously upgraded from 21676 to 21676 by uploading the same build twice, but I am not sure. When I went to upload the firmware just now I noticed that the files were in the opposite order that I had thought they were in, so it's possible I uploaded the wrong version last time and did in fact successfully upgrade from 21676 to 21676. I am sorry for the waste of time if that's the case.
Anyways for sake of discussion -
Not exactly sure why you are zeroing in on that specific build but for image size comparison to current release:
So I figured I'd go to that and see if anything is broken that that user isn't using. If there's a better methodology for choosing a build I would enjoy learning about it. I figured it was either what I did or try the latest and work backwards.
Yeah, that was my plan if anything was broken. I figured it was better to jump from "entry" build to known good release before going to latest. Keeps the jump a little smaller and avoids the "nope, upgrade went fine, latest just happens to be completely broken on this device" headache. I am going to test any functionality I need before putting it onto the WAN and upgrade if any of that seems to be not right.