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OpenWrt 21.02 Arrives With Linux Kernel 5.4 & WPA3 Support

The OpenWrt community announced the first stable update of their series, OpenWrt 21.02.

In case you did not know, OpenWrt is a project that helps create custom operating systems for embedded devices.

It enables users to openly customize their devices according to their networking needs, something that the stock router firmware doesn’t. Other than routers, OpenWrt can run on a variety of devices such as smartphones, residential gateways, and even 32 bit PCs!

With this release, they have over 5800 commits since the older OpenWrt 19.07.

Let us take a look at what is new with OpenWrt 21.02.

OpenWrt 21.02: What’s New?

While there are several technical changes and improvements, let me highlight the key additions.

WPA3 Support

Although present in the 19.07 release, the latest security standard for Wi-Fi networks is now included by default in the images.

WPA3 stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 and is a major improvement in terms of security over the popular WPA2. Backward compatibility is also supported.

TLS and HTTPS Support

Just like WPA3, TLS and HTTPS support is also included by default. This comes with the trusted CA certificates from Mozilla as well.

With this addition, wget and opkg should now support fetching resources over HTTPS out-of-the-box. Moreover, LuCl is available over HTTPS in addition to HTTP.

Initial DSA Support

As the release announcement states:

“DSA stands for Distributed Switch Architecture and is the Linux standard to deal with configurable Ethernet switches”

This has replaced the swconfig system which was being used until now. This is a notable change to how VLANs and switch ports are managed.

New Minimum Hardware Requirements

With numerous new features and updates to OpenWrt, including the increase in the general size of the Linux kernel, the minimum requirements have been increased.

Devices now require at least 8 MB of flash and 64 MB memory to run the default build ensuring proper stability.

Package Updates

The release also comes packed in with several package upgrades, some of them are:

  • Linux kernel 5.4.143
  • gcc 8.4.0
  • glibc 2.33
  • binutils 2.34
  • busybox 1.33.1

Along with the above-listed packages, there are many others that have also received upgrades. You can get the full technical details in the official release announcement.

Download OpenWrt 21.02

You can head to its official website to download the latest stable builds or opt for development snapshots for experiments.

Instructions to build your own packages, and firmware should be available in their documentation.

The sysupgrade command can be used to upgrade your system from OpenWrt 19.07 to OpenWrt 21.02. Do note that you won’t be able to upgrade from 18.06.

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