Troubleshooting a disabled radio on an OpenWRT router

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I’ve been tinkering with a used Linksys WRT1900AC running OpenWRT, and one of the first pitfalls for me involved the fact that by default, only the 2.4 GHz radio was active. It’s funny how much I’ve taken dual-band routers for granted, because the wireless was slow and unusable in that state.

Creating a seperate SSID to test the 5 GHz band proved to be unsuccessful, prompting status messages like “Wireless is not associated” and presenting the radio in question (“radio1”) as if it had been disabled, with only a non-functional “Restart” option.

So I searched around and found a functional workaround. First, SSH into the box, and then choose your adventure:

If the wifi command is available (Source)

1. Run wifi status to see what’s going on:

$ wifi status

{
  "radio0": {
    "up": true,
    "pending": false
    ...
  },
  "radio1": {
    "up": false,
    "pending": false
    ...
  }
}

2. In my case, “radio1” is the 5 GHz radio, so let’s turn it on:

$ wifi up radio1

3. Now wifi status reports radio1’s status as “pending”.

$ wifi status

{
  ...
  "radio1": {
    "up": false,
    "pending": true
    ...
  }
}

4. Reboot the hardware to turn that “pending” status into an “up” status.

$ wifi status

{
  ...
  "radio1": {
    "up": true,
    "pending": false
    ...
  }
}

Plan B: Reload the networking service (Source)

$ /etc/init.d/network restart

I hope this helps!

- Solomon, a network administration newbie