TP-Link Archer C7: How not to NAT

I have had the TP-Link Archer C7 wireless router for a few months now. Although the hardware in this router is great bang-for-buck, the stock firmware leaves much to be desired. I run a number of servers out of my homelab which requires the router to be configured with port based NAT rules. I found that even after upgrading to the latest firmware that TP-Link put out for the v2 hardware version, there was a nasty bug that would cause the NAT rule for my web server to stop functioning. I do have monitors in place to check on all my servers and I found that the issue would recur every 4 days or so. The problem went away if I restarted the router.

At some point, I gave up on the stock firmware and decided to go the OpenWRT route. Router firmware flashing is a bit tricky; you want to make sure that a) you have a backup of all the configuration data and b) if the upgrade does brick the router, or locks you out, you have a way of connecting via a cable to fix it. I followed the instructions on the OpenWRT page for Archer C7. I had to reconfigure all the NAT rules and DHCP reservations for all the servers. I’m happy to report that OpenWRT is simple, flexible and definitely a breeze to work with as opposed to the stock firmware.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *