Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH packaging lies and unbricking info

My Linksys WRT54GS running OpenWRT has been faultless, however, it was running an old release (White Russian) and needed upgrading for a newer kernel with proper IPV6 support.

Rather than gleefully upgrading and risking breaking my housenet's ability to see the internet, I decided to proceed cautiously, and buy a new router, with a view to setting it up as a new shiny drop-in replacement. A good opportunity to upgrade hardware for, amongst other things, N wireless. After searching for recommends, settled on the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH, and placed an order with Amazon.

Yet again, I failed to notice that I'd selected a US vendor, and waited for ages for it to arrive. Grr. At self. When it did turn up, I immediately ignored the DD-WRT pre-install, carefully chose my OpenWRT firmware, flashed it, and bricked it...

Well, I've been here before. Odd though, as I really had been careful picking my image and flashing it properly, so why do I now have a brick? Here commenced a mammoth session of flashing the device with every possible vaguely correct-looking firmware, all with no joy. Even the firmwares on the shipped install CD failed - in fact, the only firmware accepted by the device was the OpenWRT one that bricked the device in the first place.

Then I noticed the model number on the device itself - WZR-HP-G300NH2 - none of the packaging reflected this, the order certainly didn't, and surprise surprise, the chipsets are different.

Armed with my 1-character-different search term, I found http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/buffalo/wzr-hp-g300nh2

Here's a write-up of the unbricking:

# grab this pre-merge build of the firmware that will unbrick the device:
wget http://dl.dropbox.com/u/38634684/openwrt/openwrt-ar71xx-generic-wzr-hp-g300

# wzr-hp-g300nh2 bootloader tftp expects this MAC and IPs:
ifconfig eth0:11
arp -s 02:AA:BB:CC:DD:1A

# set up tftp to rehit every second, and...
# set timeout high enough to cover the boot period when the tftpd is open:
tftp # from here until next 'exit' is at a tftp prompt:
rexmt 1
timeout 60
put openwrt-ar71xx-generic-wzr-hp-g300nh2-squashfs-tftp.bin
# ...let that retry, plug ethernet into device port 4, and switch on device,
# wait 15 secs and you should see the xfer start and complete...

# wait 6 mins...
# then connect (no password) and do initial setup:
ifconfig eth0:1
telnet # from here on in is at device root shell:

# this next bit is to allow the device to see the internet,
# change this to suit your network,
# its needed to install luci webgui packages:
ifconfig br-lan:10
route add default gw
echo 'nameserver' >> /etc/resolv.conf

# install luci webgui packages:
opkg update
opkg install luci-ssl
/etc/init.d/uhttpd enable
/etc/init.d/uhttpd start

# then login to:
# and restore a backup, or whatever.
# I read somewhere that it should be possible to flash the device back into
# DD-WRT firmware via OpenWRT's webgui firmware upgrader page,
# but this did not work for me.

# NOTE! this firmware is not ready yet!
# so upgrading things like kmods could break wifi...
# once this is merged into the openwrt snapshots, and the kernel is
# these issues should go away...

Posted by doug on Sunday, October 09, 2011