Reflashing the wifi router

The wifi router (a TP-Link Archer C2600) started to  have some issues with wifi dropping out and I noticed there was a new firmware available for it, so I decided it was time to give it a reset and flash the new firmware while I was at it.

It’s normally a straight forward process, but somehow the router had gotten itself into a state where any login attempts ended up returning a 500 Internal Server Error, even after doing a factory reset on it. Didn’t matter what browser I tried to log in with.

Without a way to get into the router’s interface, I thought I was going to have to get a new one, which would have been disappointing because the C2600 had been working pretty well, and wasn’t all that old.

The next thing I considered was flashing OpenWRT or LEDE to the router. After a bit of poking around in the documentation, and a suggestion from someone in one of the Slacks I hang out in, I learned that firmware could be installed via tftp. This turned out to be a fairly straight forward procedure and not too difficult to set up.

If you don’t have tftp already installed on the computer, the instructions here are pretty good.

  1. Connect the C2600 (turned off) to the computer with an ethernet cable.
  2. Manually configure the IP address of your computer to 192.168.0.66
  3. Extract the factory firmware for the C2600 and rename it to ArcherC2600_1.0_tp_recovery.bin. Copy the file to /var/lib/tftpboot/
  4. While holding the reset button down, turn the router on. Keep the reset button pressed for about 15 seconds. This should put the router into recovery mode.
  5. Wait for the firmware to be transferred to the router. You might see some messages show up in /var/log/messages indicating the transfer has occurred.
  6. Wait about 5 minutes and power cycle the router.

With any luck, the router will come back to life with the firmware installed and everything should be honky-dory. If not, try again. Once you’ve got the firmware flashed, you can disable the tftp server and close up the firewall port.

The C2600 is back in service and seems to be working fine again. I can log into the router again, and there haven’t been any problems with the wifi dropping out.

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