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I have a wifi router set as repeater (GL-AR300M-Lite) for my smartphone hotspot. The hotspot settings (SSID + WPA password) are saved in by the router, however it does not connect automatically to it.

https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/faq.wireless provides the following commands to scan for networks:

ifconfig wlan0 down
iw phy phy0 interface add scan0 type station
ifconfig scan0 up
iwlist scan0 scan
iw dev scan0 del
ifconfig wlan0 up
killall -HUP hostapd
opkg update
opkg install iwinfo
iwinfo wlan0 scan

so one possibility would be to run a script periodically. But I am hoping for a more direct solution.

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Upgrading the software from v3.019 to the beta v3.022 solved the issue.

The release note (https://dl.gl-inet.com/firmware/ar300m/testing/) state:

v3.022-20190329

[UPDATES]
1.Optimize Repeater Auto Connection.
...

where "optimize" might stand for "fix bug"...

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