Replacing the Dockstar …

My Dockstars, which I usually use as local “edge routers”, are aging, and I’m looking for replacements. A colleague pointed me to the TP-Link TL-WR1034ND GBit wireless n- router, capable of running OpenWRT (and hence OpenVPN), so I decided to give it a try.

TL-WR1034ND in Aktion

Well, first thing to do, after ordering and receiving the device from Amazon (next day delivery, Prime just rocks), is to put OpenWRT on the device.
This, unfortunately, is a bit cumbersome; I received a “Ver 1.11” device, which means I had to downgrade the TP-Link firmware to a specific German one first, due to obscure issues with the “WAN” interface. See OpenWRT’s support pages for the odd details, what worked for me is the procedure this post, basically:

  1. Get and flash specific German firmware (used to be in this Dropbox)
  2. Get and flash OpenWRT Attitude Adjustment factory image
  3. Get and install the sysupgrade image

Worked flawlessly for me, your mileage may vary.

The benefit I’ll intend to receive from using the TL-WR1043ND over the Dockstar is better troughput (the 1043 features a GBit switch, whereas the Dockstar just has one GBit interface) and reduced complexity (the 1043 will sit on the ground floor, serving both of my SSIDs (historical reasons …) at n-speeds, replacing one Edimax BR-6226n n-AP and one FritzBox 7170). I will try to have the 1043ND run all my OpenVPN tunnels (which are currently on the Dockstar), which leaves the Dockstar to just deal with NFS traffic (the poor thing previously stalled the routing every now and then when there was much NFS/SMB going on).

Stay tuned on updates, as to how well the 1043 serves as a Dockstar replacement; the Dockstar is clocked at 1.2 (ARM v5l) GHz, whereas the 1043 runs at 400 (MIPS 24Kc V7.4) MHz — I’m a bit unsure if the MIPS CPU will be able to saturate the 20+ MBit/sec VDSL line with OpenVPN, to be honest … My colleague only uses it for partial OpenVPN traffic, IIRC.