In a previous post I reviewed the travel router GL-AR750S-Ext (Slate) from GL.iNET and recommended it.
If you didn’t know, the GL-AR750S-Ext (Slate) is an OpenWrt-based travel router with a custom GUI and added features on top that make it easier to use for non-technical users. You still can access the traditional OpenWrt GUI (and shell!) and have access to all OpenWrt features, though! And if you don’t like the modifications by the OEM, OpenWrt supports this device, so you can always flash a “clean” or “vanilla” version of OpenWrt.
There was one thing, that kept bugging me, though. The firmware on this device was based on 18.06 and was somewhat stuck on that. At some point they updated to 18.06.1 but that was it. However, to be fair, they did release regular updates and did backport security issues, which is the important part. But it still bugged me that it was based on 18.06.1, especially now that OpenWrt dropped support for the 18.06 branch.
Today, I wanted to use the travel router again (at home, don’t worry!) and noticed a major update came out! In fact, it came out just 10 days ago. I regularly check manually on their homepage, to see if a new firmware came out. I checked not long ago, but it was a bit more than 10 days ago, so I almost missed it! ;)
The Major Update
So, what’s so major about it? This new firmware is now based on OpenWrt 19.07.7, which at the time of the update’s release (and the time I’m writing this) is the very latest stable version of OpenWrt. So, this update is a double-update, so to speak, because not only do you get the OEM update (their modifications on top) but also all the updates/features from the OpenWrt 19.07 branch (the thing it’s based on), like for example WPA3 support, which came with the 19.07 branch!
Of course this update includes a bunch of security and bug fixes, some OEM features, especially “cloud” features provided by the OEM (I don’t use those, though, due to security and privacy concerns) and some other smaller things.
One notable thing is, that this update includes IPv6 support, which was previously lacking. But not only is now IPv6 supported for “internet” but also for VPNs (both OpenVPN and WireGuard). While I didn’t miss IPv6 (it’s a travel router, after all, and the locations you’d use it at usually only assign IPv4 anyway), it’s nice that it’s now supported, especially if you want to use it as “home” router. Although I’d probably not recommend using it as that, at least not directly attached to the internet, unless you flash clean OpenWrt, just to be safe. ;)
Another notable thing is that this update hit for many different devices. So if you have a device by GL.iNET, go check for updates right now (look for version 3.201 or newer)!
Now that this one issue, namely semi-outdated OpenWrt is ironed out, and considering the OEM kept supporting it with updates for years, I can again recommend this device without any strings attached! (:
It’s a bit odd, the previous firmware version which was still OpenWrt 18.06.1 based had version number 3.105 and came out in December 2020, while this new 19.07.7 based firmware has version number 3.201… I would have expected it to move to version 4 since the base is a new one. Maybe this means all devices on the 3.x branch will get this new firmware? So far, many devices have gotten the update already. I hope more will get it in the future!
Notes on LuCI (default OpenWrt GUI)
There are two ways to reach the default OpenWrt GUI, either by entering the address of luci directly, or by clicking on “Advanced” in the OEM GUI. However, the default OpenWrt GUI (LuCI) is not installed by default anymore with this update. This means if you previously accessed it directly, you have to first open the OEM GUI and click “Advanced” where you will be prompted to install LuCI. This only has to be done once, after which you can again access LuCI directly. Perhaps with this update, the OEM is confident that their GUI is ripe enough and sufficient for all needed configurations? I remember when I first reviewed this device, the OEM GUI was still technically in Beta, but I did already think it’s enough for an end-user. Of course, it has been out of Beta for a long time since that last review. Or maybe they just don’t want their users to be confused by a second GUI.
I have an >>affiliated Amazon (Germany) link<< for this router in case you want one and want to support this blog!
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