Postmortem needed : OpenVPN server broken after reinstal of Merlin 284.18

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Regular Contributor
Yesterday I tried upgrading my RT-AC86U to Merlin 384.19, had some problems, flailed around for a few hours, and eventually returned to 384.18. (The problems had nothing to do with Merlin but I didn't know that at the time.) Prior to this activity my router had been behaving fine. Afterwards almost everything was working fine. But today I discovered that I could not connect to the OpenVPN server running on the router.

First, the server was stuck displaying " Initialinzing the settings of OpenVPN server now, please wait a few minutes to let the server to setup completed before VPN clients establish the connection" (probably since I reloaded 384.18 the day before). I stopped an restarted the server. This time it initialized, but the router's log shows TLS negotiation errors whenever I tried connecting.

Eventually I decided that I would re-export the OpenVPN config. After a brief panic over not finding the Export button, re-applied the OpenVNP settings and the Export button magically appeared. After putting the new config in the client (that happens to be a laptop sitting right next to me) I was able to connect with no problem.

But why did this happen?

The flailing involved loading 384.19 and at least 2 resets to factory settings and a reload of 384.18 (each followed by a reload of a config backup taken before this adventure). There was also a reformat and reload of JFFS after loading 384.19, and another reload of JFFS after reloading just in case the config reload didn't include that.

I expected that to have put OpenVPN back the way it was before all this activity. In fact I expected OpenVPN to not be effected by the upgrade to 384.19. Was I being naive?

I thought maybe my messing around caused new certificates to be created (for no obvious reasons) so I was going to export a new OpenVPN config, but the Export button seems to be missing.)

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