squirrel_features
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:53 pm

Wi-fi Mesh Network

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:39 pm

I just saw this on Slashdot:
http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/12/08/ ... onds-video

I've been pondering about wi-fi mesh networks for awhile now, and thought the Raspberry Pi would be the perfect platform for running a mesh node.
In the comments the Byzantium guys state eventually they hope for a package to be available for the most popular distributions ( i.e Debian) which would make setting up a node on the Pi a simple apt-get.

What do you think?.

maddogjetz
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:47 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:55 pm

Outstanding idea. I have an application for a large property a friend has. The idea is, take a 230 acre wooded property, with trails all around it, then hang raspberry pi boards, with video camera, battery, solar cells, and a zigbee card. Each of these would create a node on the mesh network to track wildlife travel patterns throughout the property, and have it sense movements, and capture video surrounding the movement. The video would be uploaded across the network back to the house, and available over the internet.

I just need this network to be functional with a low-wattage zigbee pro such as this:
http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/zigbee-ie ... /7193815P/

If you ever find a reasonable solution, would love to see it. Just post back here. If I find one, I will post it here.
Karl M.

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:44 pm

I have a project to implement exactly what you're talking about, on 2 levels... it's not really published yet, as I'm sure there's some debugging to be done, and a few things I'm not sure about, but at this point given some prerequisites (such as working wifi, and manual installation of a kernel module which I may have to compile each time there's an updated kernel)...

You can find some minimal documentation and (eventually) installation details at this URL:-

http://www.netlore.co.uk/airmesh/

If you want to play around with it, be a guinea pig etc. then please contact me here, or on the email address linked from the documentation that's in the link above.

My tool implements both B.A.T.M.A.N, and CJDNS which are documented here, to provide 2 different types of mesh. One local, a broadcast domain like a LAN, and the other routed like a WAN... both restricted to IPv6 so they don't interact with local internet routers etc:-

http://www.open-mesh.org/projects/batman-adv/wiki
https://wiki.projectmeshnet.org/CJDNS

The current version also joins the routed meshs together so it extends beyond the range of wireless if there is an internet connection available.

Setup is fairly trivial... there are some packages you need to install first, then if you have both working wireless, and a working batman-adv module (from my site).. then the software consists of a tarball you extract in /opt, and an init script....

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:48 pm

Be gentle with me, there's a few possible things that I know about that might possibly stop this from starting up... but I need to see where it fails on other systems.

The very first release (and the first for Raspbian) is available here:-

http://www.netlore.co.uk/airmesh/Download/Raspbian/

James

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:02 am

Still no actual website, but there's a lot more content now, and an image for Raspberry Pi. It's a bit alpha still, not much error checking, but if you have a supported wireless adapter plugged in when you boot it should come up fine.

http://www.netlore.co.uk/airmesh/
http://www.netlore.co.uk/airmesh/Download/Raspbian/

null0
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:43 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:49 pm

Great work, I'm about to take delivery of my Pi and eager to test this out. I'll let you know how it goes this week hopefully.

I've been thinking about implementing the openNHRP stack on a Pi to build dynamic IPSec VPN connections, hopefully I'll get time to tinker soon - thinking your project may be a good place to start. Do you have any experience of this ?

Thanks :D

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:55 pm

No, I don't have any experience of OpenNHRP, but I am wondering what your goal is... certainly some possible goals might already be solved, especially with some optional parameters such as turning off the LAN bridge.

CJDNS itself has very strong end-end encryption, and possibly once I document how to specify other nodes to pair with manually then if you're not scared of IPv6 it makes a very effective multi-point VPN.

Very interested how you get on, I've not got too much feedback yet... it's taken some effort to get to this point, and I do have some things I want to fix, but it would help to focus on real world issues to make it more usable for real users.

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:46 pm

Just released version 0.85 for both Raspbian and Ubuntu, I still recommend you use the image as it guarantees you'll have kernel and batman modules that match up. It is a lot larger than the stock image, but by the time you do all the updates and rpi-update, and get the right kernel module... I imagine it's still quicker.

If you want to install yourself, the procedure I used to create the image is as follows.

Write standard Raspbian image.
Add rpi-update in /usr/sbin
copy RPi-AirMesh0.85.tgz to /opt

*Then the following must be done from the Pi itself.
cd /opt
tar xvzf RPi-AirMesh0.85.tgz
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get purge openssh-server
apt-get install git
rpi-update
*reboot
uname -a
*make the correct folder eg. "mkdir /lib/modules/3.2.27+/kernel/net/batman-adv"
*copy the correct module eg. "cp /opt/airmesh/misc/batman-adv.ko_3.2.27+_#151 /lib/modules/3.2.27+/kernel/net/batman-adv/batman-adv.ko
depmod -a
*test the module loads
modprobe batman-adv
*install the software
cd /opt
./airmesh-install.sh

Done.
If you are tempted to burn an image to distribute, please do so before starting airmesh for the first time or do the following:-

cd /opt
./airmesh-distclean.sh

This will remove the unique ID created the first time we start.

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:51 pm

If you do this, and I don't have the right module version available, drop me a mail and I'll compile one for the "current" version. Usually I don't compile modules in-between releases as a matter of course, unless it's a long time or someone asks.

I'm lead to believe that Raspbian may include this module at some point in future.

mkremer90
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:06 pm

Excuse my lack of knowledge behind mesh networking, would this allow various rasbian systems with wifi dongles to connect to a master system that has the actual internet connection?

Thanks,
Matt

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:35 pm

I've deliberately set up the baseline configuration of the mesh software to avoid that happening, because it is by it's nature a network that anyone can join... and obviously you don't want to share your internet connection with unknown 3rd parties...

BUT... depending on what you want to achieve, it is possible, and infact I have done something like this for my own use.

What I have done is install the Airmesh software on a master system which could easily be a raspberry pi, but I have used a slightly more powerful machine running Ubuntu.... In addition, on that machine I have a web proxy server, and infact I also have a mailserver there.

Can you give me more details on what you want to achieve?

James

mkremer90
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:35 pm

I may have a network of 25-75 devices in a large room, all of them can take in information and have to post this information to the web, but I only want to manage one internet connection on one master device.

I suppose if the initial configuration disallows shared internet access, the devices could send the data to the "master" with the internet connection, and then that master could be in charge of all the posting.

blueadept
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:52 pm

mkremer90 wrote:I may have a network of 25-75 devices in a large room, all of them can take in information and have to post this information to the web, but I only want to manage one internet connection on one master device.

I suppose if the initial configuration disallows shared internet access, the devices could send the data to the "master" with the internet connection, and then that master could be in charge of all the posting.
If you are talking about posting data via a web interface you would simply need to set up a proxy on the master device, and configure the clients to use the proxy rather than going directly to the internet... or perhaps some intermediate client / server solution would be just as easy.

I have yet to get much feedback about possible applications for the system... so I'm really happy to work with you to get something going, I'm sure we can achieve what you need. I assume you would be burning your own image with the appropriate configuration on the Pi's?.

Feel free to mail me directly on [email protected] so we can discuss it in more detail.

Texan4Life
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:16 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:47 am

I think this is an awesome idea. It could be used for tons of different applications. I think it could go beyond just sharing internet. The low cost and small form factor makes adding nodes super easy.

this is making me want to take the plunge and buy 1 or 2 rpis even though I'm a total noob.

gwbond
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:36 pm

i'm thinking about giving airmesh a try - what wireless chipset do you recommend?

EDIT: never mind - i see from http://www.netlore.co.uk/airmesh/?page=about that Railink is recommended

cbaizen
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:30 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:56 am

I may try out your mesh project. The other one I am considering is here:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=347621

I'm attempting to set up a network of 4 rpi which will be near the rooftops of 2-story buildings. They'll have to cover an area of around 40m x 40m, possibly with no line of sight and 30m of rooftops/buildings between them.

I'm not sure if a centrally located consumer level wireless N router will be able to talk to all of them, so I'm exploring wireless mesh solutions.

Currently, I'm expecting that the 4 rpi in "the field" will communicate with a 5th rpi. The 5th rpi will be the only one with internet access via ethernet.

Texan4Life
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:16 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:44 pm

have there been and updates or progress with mesh networks on pi's? maybe other resources or new projects going on.

sitwon
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:26 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:33 pm

Texan4Life wrote:have there been and updates or progress with mesh networks on pi's? maybe other resources or new projects going on.
Yes. Project Byzantium has been awarded a grant and the first milestone will be porting Byzantium Linux to the Raspberry Pi.

http://project-byzantium.org/
https://github.com/Byzantium/ByzPi

Texan4Life
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:16 am

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:28 pm

sitwon wrote:
Texan4Life wrote:have there been and updates or progress with mesh networks on pi's? maybe other resources or new projects going on.
Yes. Project Byzantium has been awarded a grant and the first milestone will be porting Byzantium Linux to the Raspberry Pi.

http://project-byzantium.org/
https://github.com/Byzantium/ByzPi
Nice! thanks for the links

sitwon
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:26 pm

Re: Wi-fi Mesh Network

Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:33 pm

Project Byzantium has completed the first milestone of our grant and our code for getting mesh networking working on the Raspberry Pi is available for testing.

Instructions: http://byzantium.github.io/ByzPi/
Blog: http://project-byzantium.org/news/

Please give it a try and give us feedback on Github or on our mailing list.
http://groups.google.com/a/hacdc.org/gr ... ium/?hl=en

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