Setting up a MESH Node with AREDN Firmware

Setting up a MESH Node with AREDN Firmware

In this episode, I will walk you through the process of setting up a new Ubiquiti Node from scratch, and flashing it with the latest AREDN firmware. Then we will connect it to another node and look at the channel options on the firmware itself.



Toronto Mesh

Toronto Mesh
About
Based in Toronto, we are a grassroots and decentralized group of volunteers who started Toronto Mesh at CivicTechTO in early 2016. Through building community-owned infrastructure using off-the-shelf hardware and open-source technology, we are hoping to address barriers to internet access in our city. There are many ways that people can be involved.

HSMM-MESH Wireless Network - TORONTO CANADA

HSMM-MESH Wireless Network - Ontario CANADA


East Toronto Canada




Broadband-Hamnet how-to for WRT54G-RG (Rogers router) and WRT54G-TM (T-Mobile router)

Broadband-Hamnet how-to for WRT54G-RG (Rogers router)  and WRT54G-TM (T-Mobile router)

Note that these routers are equivalent to the Linksys WRT54GS v3.0 router and thus have the additional memory needed to load the extra files to implement vtun (see Tunnel Install Instructions at:
http://www.broadband-hamnet.org/documentation/204-the-tunnel.html 

To prepare, download the latest version of the BBHN “bin” file supporting the WRT54GS v3 from: http://www.broadband-hamnet.org/software-download.html (in the following, I was installing bbhn-3.1.0 onto a new “RG” router).

Make sure you don't power off the router at any time during the upgrade. Wait 5 min after each software change for everything to settle down and all directories and files to be written by the router operating system.

1.Power-up the router and wait for it to boot.
2.Hold reset button for 10 seconds... then let go for 5 seconds...then press for another 10 seconds (this ensures a proper reset)
3.Power cycle router and allow to boot (solid power light indicates boot completed).
4. Connect PC to router LAN port and allow it to acquire a DHCP IP address.
5. Log in to router (Google Chrome works well) at 192.168.0.1 (no username; password = admin)
6. Change PC network card to static IP eg. 192.168.0.17 (Netmask: 255.255.255.0)
7. Click on Administration tab; then Firmware Upgrade tab. Click “Choose File” and navigate to firmware file "CFE_Updater-WRT54G-RG.bin", or “CFE_Updater-WRT54G-TM.bin”. Click “Upgrade”.

WRT54G-RG and WRT54G-TM Linksys routers

Linksys produced hundreds of these routers for Rogers and T-Mobile for a voip project that was canceled. Both are essentially the same as the WRT54GS v3 (they have 8 MB flash and 32 MB RAM) and thus can be loaded with the WRT54GS v3 Broadband Hamnet firmware. Many of these Rogers routers (in Canada) and T-Mobile routers (in the USA) can be found still sealed in the original packaging.

A zipped file with instructions and all required files to replace the original firmware with HSMM-Mesh bbhn can be downloaded from:   Broadband-Hamnet on WRT54G-RG and TM.zip

The TRX file to upgrade existing Linksys bbhn routers to bbhn-3.0.1 (zipped) can be downloaded from: http://ve3wex.ddns.net/wax/files/bbhn-3.0.1-brcm-2.4-squashfs.zip and the procedure to add the new tunneling solution to Linksys routers with 8 MB of flash and 32 MB of RAM can be found at: http://www.broadband-hamnet.org/documentation/204-the-tunnel.html

Your first HSMM-Mesh Broadband-Hamnet node should be a NanoStationM2

If you are just getting started in Broadband-Hamnet, I recommend you start out by purchasing a Ubiquiti NanoStationM2 as your first node. I do not recommend starting out with a Linksys WRT54G series.

Broadband-Hamnet has undergone a lot of growth over the last couple years. We now have another option in hardware vendors. We have the ability to use multiple frequency bands and even to link them together using Device to Device linking. We have more choices than ever.

When I first started in what was then known as HSMM-Mesh, now known as Broadband-Hamnet, the WRT54G series was the only hardware we had. It served its purpose, we were able to create some nodes, install them in locations that allowed for direct line of sight access and we were able to create some functional networks. The problem was the WRT54G was never designed to be used in this type of application. In order to use them in an outdoor location, it had to be mounted in a weatherproof enclosure. The stock antennas were intended to be used to provide links within a home. The stock antennas were not intended to be used for long range connections. Installing a high gain antenna on the WRT54G required coax to connect the two. The cable losses at 2.4 GHz required large diameter cables (at least LMR-400) and short cable runs. All this adds up to extra costs and complicates the building of a working node for us.

ComponentQuantityUnit CostExtended Cost
WRT54GL15050
Enclosure14040
Antenna24590
COAX21530
POE11010
Ethernet Cable12020
TOTAL240