Installing OpenWRT on Archer A7 Router

by Joel 10.7.2022

What is OpenWrt?

OpenWrt is a Linux based operating system that can be installed on various routers.

Why would you want to use OpenWrt?

  • For more robust network control
  • For more customizable router controls
  • Or in my case, to enable SQM(Smart Queue Managment) to control Bufferbloat


I have relatively fast internet so when I play a game or jump on a video call, I expect my internet to be fast with no buffers or delays. To my frustration I have noticed high latency and jitters periodically during gaming or video chatting. Up to this point I had just accepted the delays and thought they must be due to my router placement or competing wifi bands or the little router gnomes not doing their job correctly. My internet was fast enough and most of the time I could just wait a second and the high latency would go away.

And then I watched this video from Linus Tech Tips. I recommend you go watch it as they do an excellent job explaining what Bufferbloat is and how SQM can help. In short, Bufferbloat is a phenomenon that occurs when small packets are delayed in the buffer waiting for larger packets to be processed. In reality this results in high latency and jitters in-game and in video calls.

The solution? Smart Queue Management(also known as Active Queue Management)

Smart Queue Management

In short SQM is able to allow the small packets through the que before the large ones finish going through.

This is a simple explanation so if you want to learn more here is a link to a wikipedia article about SQM.


Installation Steps

  1. Set PC lan settings to automatic(should be already set this way on Windows)
  2. PC ethernet cable connected to LAN-1 port on the router
  3. Go to the TP-Link(the router's) network address. Default address for the archer a7 is
  4. Log in with your admin username/password. Default username and password are both just admin
  5. You should see the home page. Select AdvancedSystem-ToolsFirmware-Upgrade
  6. Select the Browse button under the Manual-Upgrade and select the downloaded firmware.
  7. Wait until the the firmware flashing is done.

    Do NOT interrupt the firmware flashing process, you risk bricking the router!

  8. After the flashing process you should see a "Page not Found". Don't fret, this is expected
  9. Restart your router and go to the Open Wrt default web address
  10. If everything went well you should see the Open Wrt login page
  11. Leave the password space blank for your first connection. It will log you in and then tell you to let a new password.

Congrats, you have successfully installed OpenWrt on your Archer A7!

Did you like this tutorial? Want to see more like it? Leave a comment! Ha, you can't cause I haven't configured comments yet.

Linus Tech Tips' video:

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