Difference between revisions of "Mesh/Firmware"

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To support letting node owners select how much bandwidth they share. Allow users to block forwarded traffic based on type. There's an paper regarding [http://www.scribd.com/doc/155501125/Layer-7-Classificarion-and-Policing-in-the-PfSense layer 7 traffic shaping] too.  
To support letting node owners select how much bandwidth they share. Allow users to block forwarded traffic based on type. There's an paper regarding [http://www.scribd.com/doc/155501125/Layer-7-Classificarion-and-Policing-in-the-PfSense layer 7 traffic shaping] too.  

* [http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/firewalls-ipfw.html ipfirewall] (ipfw) or [http://info.iet.unipi.it/~luigi/dummynet/ netdummy].
* [http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/firewalls-ipfw.html ipfirewall] (ipfw) or [http://info.iet.unipi.it/~luigi/dummynet/ netdummy]
* [http://people.freebsd.org/~mtm/ipfw-classifyd.tar.bz2 ipfw-classifyd] (used by pfSense)
* [http://people.freebsd.org/~mtm/ipfw-classifyd.tar.bz2 ipfw-classifyd] (used by pfSense)
* [http://l7-filter.clearfoundation.com/ l7-filter]
* [http://l7-filter.clearfoundation.com/ l7-filter]

Revision as of 22:29, 1 December 2013

Documentation for the sudo mesh firmware.

Firmware generation features

It should be easy to generate a new firmware with the following custom config:

  • Location and ownership information.
Contact info should be saved in a secure database but maybe not on the node itself?
  • Randomly generated passwords set for wpa2, admin interface and ssh.
The SSH password should be stored securely and a couple of stickers with the wpa2 and admin password should be printed for the user.
  • Web interface
  • ssh key generation

Freifunk Meshkit is pretty neat!

Sudomesh Firmware Github Repo


Stuff the firmware should have

Ranked from most to least important


When the node doesn't have internet access, it will redirect traffic to our mesh hosted Splash Page.

We need something hosted on the node that can check if it has access to the internet. There's a bit of an issue where certain OSes won't connect to APs that don't have internet access. Juul will look into building a hack that properly manages these requests and redirects them to our node-hosted site.

InternetIsDownRedirect may also have to fake the expected captive portal detection responses? We need to figure out if android/iOS/Mac/Windows will connect to a wifi that does not have internet access.

Status: Implemented except for OS-specific captive portal requests.

Splash page

We can capture OS specific probes in order to specifically redirect captive portal requests without affecting any other network traffic.


  • Brief info on the mesh
  • Link to our website?


Juul is in the process of implementing. He needs help with:

  • Finding out captive portal request protocols for different OSes. He's covered Iphone, but needs information on other hardware
  • We need UX/UI designers!
  • Co-located server ($$)

SSH server

The SSH server should be contactable from any interface. It should initially allow root access using a random generated password that the mesh group has and that the node owner can get and change if they are so inclined.

Status: Need Key generation feature. Otherwise Implemented in openwrt. See firmware generation above.


We'll use this as the mesh protocol.

Status: Implemented

Multiple virtual network interfaces with their own SSIDs

  • One ad-hock mode, unencrypted interface for the mesh nodes, e.g. sudomesh-backchannel
  • One access point mode, unencrypted interface, for non-mesh devices to connect to the mesh, e.g. sudomesh.
  • One access point mode, private interface with WPA2, for the people who own the nodes. [optional]

Traffic on the private interface should be completely separated from traffic on the non-private interfaces unless a client connected to the private interface requests an IP on the mesh.

Maybe the last one is optional because some people may not need that feature (they already have another access point and they want to keep it), but then how do people administrate the router?

In order to serve a secure web admin config to home users, we'll probably always serve 3 APs with one private WPA encrypted home link so that users can access their admin page.

Status: Implemented

Web admin interface

Development information should be put in Web Admin Dev. This section can remain a wish-list.

A very simple one-page interface. It should do at least the following:

  • Display some set of user statistics
Ideally we could list/graph the number of people who have associated with your mesh node.
We could also just list/graph the up/down data of people who have been using the mesh.
  • Set location, name, description.
But do you want to know the location centrally as well so that you can display nodes on the map? Will people enter this information twice or will you pull this information from nodes and then display on the map? Same for name and description. I would suggest that information is stored only once. In your case on the node itself. So probably you can then pull this information through nodewatcher scripts on nodes and then display nodes the map. Just really should not require people to enter or maintain information on two places because it desyncs very fast. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
  • Let people select how much bandwidth they share.
They always share 100% when they're not using the connection themselves.
This works if people are using their private SSIDs on the node. But if the node is connected to their existing home network you might not easily configure such sharing. But maybe there is a way to detect that host network is free and can limits can be increased. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
Do any ISPs have bandwidth caps around here? If so, let people specify how many MB to share per month.
Maybe also a button for temporary increase limits (make them more restrictive) which are then after some time automatically restored.
  • Let people change the admin password and the private wifi wpa2 password.
Probably private SSID as well.
  • Donate / "buy routers as presents for your friends"-button.
One idea we had (but this is probably better for splash screen) is "adopt a node". Where a neighbor who uses a node a lot and depends on the node can donate some money to keep it up, but can then give a nickname or avatar to the node. Or something. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)

Status: Maxb is implementing.

Source here:


Watchdog script

Node tests itself to see if it has connectivity, etc and resets itself if necessary. OpenWrt supports the hardware watchdog on our PicoStations without any additional hacking, yay!

By default the hardware watchdog will automatically hard-reset the AP if /dev/watchdog is not written to at least once every 60 seconds. A Lua library has been written to interface with the batman-adv kernel module through the batctl command line utility. We need to identify a list of conditions that require a hard-reset and work them into the Lua watchdog script in the openwrt-firmware repository.

The Freifunk group has an awesome watchdog setup, details: http://wiki.freifunk.net/Kamikaze/LuCI/Watchdog

list of possible reset conditions: high sustained load, cron goes down, sshd goes down.

nodewatcher watchdog

Potential use of Quilt to update nodes.

QoS / bandwidth shaping

To support letting node owners select how much bandwidth they share. Allow users to block forwarded traffic based on type. There's an paper regarding layer 7 traffic shaping too.

Status: Juul is hacking on.

Internet VPN

The firmware should tunnel all Internet traffic from the mesh through a VPN server, unless this feature is specifically disabled.

This should not be a single VPN server, as that would be a single point of failure.

I suggest to use TunnelDigger. Mitar (talk) 21:50, 11 July 2013 (PDT)

Another tunneling option: OpenMesher jwentwistle

Network Topology

Status: Juul is implementing.

Mesh VPN

If the mesh does not see any other nodes (and maybe even if it does?), and it has internet, then it should connect to another node or two over VPN. The easy solution is to use the same VPN servers as for the internet.

Network Topology

Status: Implemented

DHCP and batman-adv gateway mode

Nodes with an internet connection should run DHCP and batman-adv gateway mode. We want to detect if the node can connect to a relay in which case it should configure as a batman-adv gateway server node. Otherwise they should configure as batman-adv gateway clients.

Staus: Needs hacking.

Location and status reporting

Something that reports location and status when polled.

We developed this format and easy to publish status data from nodes for our nodewatcher. OpenWrt packages are here. Mitar (talk) 22:02, 11 July 2013 (PDT)

Nice to have:

  • Status info: How many nodes is your node connected to. Is the internet link working.
  • An "I don't know what my internet bandwidth is, test it for me"-function.
  • Usage statistics (so people can see how many people they helped get internet!)
This is the most important thing! Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
You should add as well graphs on how much bandwidth was consumed by the node. This is useful when hosts see that their Internet is slow and believe that it was because of the node. Then they can check and see if it is really node (which often is not) or maybe just ISP has problems. Important because people like to attribute issues they have to nodes they don't understand. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
  • Let people put up a bit of info about their node / house / co-op, on a simple web page that people can access only if they're connected to that node. It could be shown as part of the splash page.

Status: Waiting for nodewatcher project to finish

Intelligent Wifi Channel Switching

It would be nice to be able to have the network intelligently determine channels

IPv6 support

We should have IPv6 support, but I am ok with launching the mesh with only IPv4 and adding in IPv6 later. (Juul (talk))

Stuff the firmware could have

DNS server

Each node could run its own (caching) DNS server. Doing this would allow people to access the admin interface for their node by going to e.g. http://me.mesh/ from the private interface.

RSSI Testing and Logging

At intervals, the nodes could conduct RSSI tests and log them with some way to compare and visualize signal strengths over time.

Caching web proxy

We could use Polipo to improve people's browsing experience. Not sure how much cpu and memory this would need. We may not be able to run it on the routers with less than 32 MB ram (e.g. the Bullet 2 HPs).

Block ads and tracking

We could use e.g. Polipo with the sources from both adblock plus and ghostery. If we implement this, it should be an optional (default off) feature that you can select on the splash page, with a "remember this" that remembers either using a cookie or using your MAC (but then we'd be logging people's MAC addresses :-S). The block should probably be time-limited (e.g. 30 days).

Compatible devices

We should have ready-made images for:

  • One really cheap indoor router (with 3G usb stick support?) like TP-Link TL-WR703N
  • One nice high-speed indoor router (300 mbps 802.11n)
  • Ubiquiti hardware. Most of the AirMAX stuff.