Run an OpenWRT VM on Proxmox VE

What is OpenWRT?

OpenWrt is an open-source project for embedded operating systems based on Linux, primarily used on embedded devices to route network traffic. The main components are Linux, util-linux, musl, and BusyBox. All components have been optimized to be small enough to fit into the limited storage and memory available in home routers. -

Creating the VM

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to the ProxMox web UI https://ProxMoxDNSorIP:8006/
  2. Click the Create VM button at the top right
  3. On the General tab, name the VM OpenWRT and set a VM ID (123 in this example) > click Next
  4. On the OS tab select Do not use any media and set the Guest OS Type to Linux and Version to 5.x - 2.6 Kernel > click Next
  5. On the System tab click Next
  6. On the Hard Disk tab set the Disk size to 0.001 > click Next
  7. On the CPU tab set the number of CPU cores and the Type to host > click Next
  8. On the Memory tab set the amount of memory to 256 MiB > click Next
  9. On the Network tab set the Model field to VirtIO (paravirtualized), Uncheck the Firewall box > click Next
  10. On the Confirm tab review the settings and click Finish
  11. Select the newly created OpenWRT VM from the left navigation panel
  12. Select Hardware from the left sub-navigation menu
  13. Click the Hard Disk to select it
  14. Click the Detach button at the top of the main content window to detach the hard disk from the VM
  15. Click the Unused disk to select it
  16. Click the Remove button at the top of the main content window to permanently delete it
  17. Click the Add button > Network Device
  18. Set the Model field to VirtIO (paravirtualized), Uncheck the Firewall box > Click Add

Setting Up the OpenWRT Disk

  1. Select the Proxmox node name in the left navigation menu
  2. Click Shell in the left sub-navigation
  3. Run the following commands in the terminal
    # lookup the latest stable version number
    regex='<strong>Current Stable Release - OpenWrt ([^/]*)<\/strong>' && response=$(curl -s && [[ $response =~ $regex ]] && stableVersion="${BASH_REMATCH[1]}"
    # download openwrt image
    wget -O openwrt.img.gz$stableVersion/targets/x86/64/openwrt-$stableVersion-x86-64-generic-ext4-combined.img.gz
    # extract the openwrt img
    gunzip ./openwrt.img.gz
    # rename the extracted img
    mv ./openwrt*.img ./openwrt.raw
    # increase the raw disk to 512 MB
    qemu-img resize -f raw ./openwrt.raw 512M
    # import the disk to the openwrt vm
    # update the vm id and storage device as needed
    # usage: qm importdisk
    qm importdisk 123 openwrt.raw HDD_500GB
  4. Once the disk import completes, select the OpenWRT VM from the left navigation menu > Hardware
  5. Double click the Unused Disk > Click the Add button
  6. Select Options from the left sub-navigation menu
  7. Double click Boot Order
  8. Check the Enabled box next to the hard disk
  9. Drag the Hard disk up in the boot order as needed, typically below the CD-ROM device
  10. Click OK
  11. Double click Use tablet pointer > Uncheck the Enabled box > Click OK
  12. Click the Start button in the top right of the screen
  13. Click the Console link to watch the boot process
  14. Wait for the text to stop scrolling and press Enter
  15. Run the following command to change/set the root password
  16. Type a new root password twice to set it
  17. Continue the configuration by running the following commands
    # set the lan ip address, use something in the same subnet as your LAN
    uci set network.lan.ipaddr=''
    # restart network services
    service network restart
    # update openwrt packages
    opkg update
    # install the luci web ui
    opkg install luci
  18. Open a new browser tab and navigate to http://IPofVM, in the example
  19. At the login screen, enter the username root and the password set above > Click the Login button
  20. Enjoy OpenWRT running in Proxmox