How to Waste the Day (Again)

The DD-WRT developers did me in again while updating the firmware in my Asus RT-AC66U.

I was trying to configure OpenVPN, which seems to be some kind of inside trade secret with DD-WRT. Surf the web and the DD-WRT forum and notice how many people are unable to configure OpenVPN in DD-WRT — despite tons of help. When configuring firmware becomes so elusive for so many users then something is down right flawed with OpenVPN in DD-WRT.

After again not getting OpenVPN to work, I decided to update the firmware to something more recent. I was using version 30826 (November 1 2016). I decided to update to version 31899 (April 24 2017).

Having been down this road before with DD-WRT, I backed up all settings.

After updating the firmware OpenVPN still did not work and the update introduced a new twist. After logging in with SSH the firmware was not sourcing my .profile file. I could manually source the file after logging in, but that seems rather stupid. Annoying.

I found a DD-WRT forum thread where the problem was reported. As often is the case in the DD-WRT forums, nobody had an answer but the problem quietly disappeared in subsequent releases. I decided to update the firmware again.

That’s when the router bricked. I started the upload, walked away for a nature break, and when I returned the firmware said the update was successful. I pressed the Continue button and that was the last I saw of DD-WRT.

Once again I played the game of performing a 30-30-30 reset and trying to toggle the router into recovery mode.

This time I repeated the steps many times. In recovery mode the Power LED flashes slowly and is an indication the router is in recovery mode. Try as a I might I could not connect to the Asus default IP address of

After much cursing I spontaneously wondered if the firmware update had not fully bricked the router and my LAN assigned IP address was still in effect. Sure enough that was the case. I could successfully ping the router with my assigned IP address rather than the Asus default. I used tftp to restore the 31899 version of the firmware.

    $ tftp
    tftp> connect
    (to) ${router ip address}
    tftp> binary
    tftp> put dd-wrt-31899-Asus_RT-AC66U.trx
    tftp> quit

I watched the LAN 1 LED flicker, which confirmed data was being transferred. The tftp command exited with no error messages.

I restored the nvram settings from my backup.

I again flashed the firmware to a more recent version that would resolve the annoying .profile sourcing problem. I was back to normal except for the lost hours trying to fix what should not have ever broken.

I hate these kinds of problems. They are exhausting.

OpenVPN still does not work. I suspect the problem is the firewall because the router logs indicate OpenVPN is starting, but the assigned port 1194 is not open with a port scan.

Perhaps I should look for a different router and firmware.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: DD-WRT

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