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Monday, September 06, 2004

mesh on linksys - comments from sveasoft

On Sat Jan 10, 2004 sveasoft placed the following poll on their forum: should we build a WRT54G mesh box?

How many folks would like to see a fully interconnected wireless mesh based on the WRT54G?

This would require dumping the WRT54G application source tree and starting anew with an AODV port and some tricky routing daemons built from scratch.

The result from the user base was 79% were for it and 20% were against it

Some highlights from the respondants

Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 16:44

I would be *very* happy if that could be implemented. Why not using "mobile mesh" from http://www.mitre.org/work/tech_transfer/mobilemesh/ ?
I've only heard nice things about it (e.g. finds other nodes swiftly, uses wired links (via so called border gateways) to decrease the load on the wireless links if necessary etc.)

There are quite a few initiaves in several towns who want to build up free networks. Meshing is one of the things very much needing!

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 22:23

I'd love to be able to setup my WRT54G as a mesh-capable box. I had looked into running the locust software a while ago, but my hardware (an older model laptop) wasn't up to the job. But perhaps more importantly, I didn't have anyone else to connect with! If a widely available box like the WRT54G supported meshing, there'd be a far greater chance that others in the area would spend the $80 (on the box) to join the network.

My fantasy world would have a few dozen meshing boxes around the city, all forming a private network. Other mesh servers could join the mesh without pre-coordination (though there would be protection against rogue-meshboxen trying to DOS or whatever). Clients could roam easily. If the box was connected to the Internet, you'd have the option of sharing it publicly to locally connected clients only, publicly to the whole mesh, or privately (through the mesh) via ipsec/pptp/whatever.

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 23:05

I would absolutly LOVE to see mesh on this device. Locustworld would be nice
as it would allow already deployed networks to add this unit. IMO there needs to be a way to control what channel the mesh lives on. You do not want the entire mesh running on 1 channel. You want to beable to make sectors and have gateways that transport between the two. Locustworld is in the best position to develop such a item due to there central registration and configuration setup they have.

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 23:19

Posted by sveasoft again

We are looking at using IPv6 and incorporating the Ethernet MAC so we won't need to interact with IANA or any other central body.

At this point I think we will stick with BSS mode and use WDS for the links, depending on what limits we find while developing and testing.

This will mean the mesh build will support all 802.11b/g clients out of the box rather than requiring adhoc mode.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 04:05

OK the thing about Mesh's and there best advantage is you don;t need to be with in the range of a AP only with in range of anothe rmesh use and you can hope through them to the AP hence you ned to keep this in Ad-Hoc mode other wise you are limiting the mesh to AP's only and there i sno way to have the mesh expand at large.

I am right now working on a mesh project and we loked at using the wrt54g but I could not get the wifi card to go into adhoc mode, if I could I woulsd be all over this in a heart beat.

We are doign this wiht out ham community to try and provide coms fo rthe hams (since we can use more power on the band) and this will greatly increase the range of the mesh, we are workgin with Mobile Mesh and IP Mesh Linuz and Windows Versions yes and they work well together.

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 09:27

Posted by sveasoft again

Adhoc mode is supported in the Sveasoft firmware. But adhoc mode is not interoperable across all manufacturers.

With WDS we get the same peer-to-peer connectability as with adhoc mode but still remain completely compatible with the many 802.11b and 802.11g client products on the market.

Fom a mesh topolgy and routing viewpoint there is no difference in using adhoc versus WDS.

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 20:06

But WDS means layer 2, meaning broadcasts over a whole town in certain situations. I think you should modulize the distro so that I can build my "mobile mesh" (pro-active protocol) whereas others can build there AODV (on-demand protocol) modul/package.

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 17:19

I am workgi with a small group in my city now to get soem inital ground work and Nodes up and runign and then bring more members of our clud online.

Presently we are doing this on small linux boxes with PC cards or ethernet bridges.

We also want to keep the adverage user in mind that won't have a clue of linux and have a Windows client for them to work with. or a great sveasoft firmware to load on a WRT54G (that would work nicely)

Right now we are in the testin stages and can report back more feed back in a while.

But there is our inital thoughts on what a box needs to have in it.

-full IP routing (zebra maybe)
-two interfaces (or more, WAN & Wireless more is local switch)
-Selectable AP or ADHOC mode
-iptables stateful firewall
-mobilemesh, olsr, aodv
-dns (cache or proxy)
-dhcp (with Reservations)
-VPN for LAN-to-LAN & wifi Client to BOx
-Radius Client for Auth or differnet services
-SSH (no Telnet, maybe a Web is OK to keep)
-Maybe SNMP for monitoring with a Central host like OpenView or something
-WDS add on to help build backhaul links

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 16:27

For those interested in Mesh networking, It might be interesting to see if MIT's Roof Net could run on the box. As an aside, it brings back memories to see who's behind the project. Everyone remember Robert Morris?

Source is available on their site : MIT's Roof Net

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:19

what about the meshstuff used in roofnet. (DSDV + X )
Network Description: http://www.pdos.lcs.mit.edu/roofnet/index.php
Software http://sourceforge.net/projects/roofnet/
Thesis: http://www.pdos.lcs.mit.edu//papers/grid:bac-meng.pdf

gives anice overview about routing techniques
and experienced problems!

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 08:31

there is alao a mash setup for pebble linux, maybe it would work for you:
near the bottom

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 13:37

roofnet software looks cool, dunno about thier approach to hidden nodes,
and wireless collisions, they seems to go for a complete mesh using
onmi's , rather than directional client/backbone setup which scales.... Using NAT at each node too, simplfies configuration, but it's just extra hassle to configure network applications, uses more resources at router level, and these days, I don't see what benefits NAT gives you over a normal software firewall for a small home user lan, so using a fully routed mesh without nat is the way to go.

I don't see how this will scale, if it's get busy, there's going to be so much interference from the onmi's the mesh will grind to a halt, but I guess there's other network design goal rather than speed, nah, I'm kidding myself......

Fast - Cheap - Reliable .... choose two.. Confused

I really think with wrt54g you can have two, and the reliablity is to use
multiple units for redundancy, because there cheap.... Wink)

I think porting thier routing roofnet protcols to the wrt54g is a great Idea, wether or not thier just going to give away all the hard coding work and research material is another thing, no such thing as a free lunch.

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 23:38

Which one is the question. Having spent many hours reading about varous mesh projects, I like the MIT roofnet project. It looks well designed. They are using SrcRR (see http://www.pdos.lcs.mit.edu/roofnet/design/).

Why? In my case I am in the early stages of building a network in hilly bush clad terrain. I want the meshing, not just for the redundancy, but to get around hills and trees. The redundancy is an added bonus. I wouldn't get very much meshing occuring though. Most housing can only see a small subset of others, if any at all. (http://www.burrowes.org/WiKarekare/ The picture at the top illustrates the problem )

Would I be interested in helping? Yes, I was going to look at this anyway. I bought the linksys boxes with this in mind, knowing that the source tree was available. I was going to start with a static mesh using OSPF and work up to a more adaptive one or a combination of static core and adaptive edges.

Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2004 16:32

Posted by sveasoft again

Hi Rob,

This was actually my inspiration for creating my own firmware builds in the first place. The weatherproof box in the Products section is also the result of living in a hilly, forested, wet area with no broadband in sight in Sweden.

I currently use OSPF with redundant WDS links to make this work. I can say that, though it works pretty well, it requires a LOT of tuning.

My goal has always been to start from a clean kernel and build a mesh on the Linksys hardware. My current design uses IPv6 for the internall mesh, DSTM for IPv4 support, and a custom routing program yet to be written that will route and balance based on a dynamic link strength and throughput metric.

My goal is to throw up a bunch of weatherproof nodes on the rooftops and tell a couple of them where to find the Internet. Any 802.11b/g client with the right security should be able to connect and each household can just plug into the hub.

Link to questions about mesh on linksys on sveasoft

Posted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 18:19

It's allready done

You can find it here: http://www.paris-sansfil.fr/~thus/wrt54g/firmware/code-kernel_aodv-adhoc-daemon.bin

Temporarly unavaillable...

If someone want it i can send a copy of the one i've downloaded some days ago by mail but i don't have the source code...

Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 09:15

here is the root on the above URL


Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 02:50

This is my goal as well. I'm envisioning the ability to extend that network rapidly during an emergency by putting up a few 10M masts with nodes on top. "User Gateways" would be a WRT/WAP54G loaded with the mesh firmware and a small local LAN connected via the wired Ethernet ports. While such a network would be very useful and convenient during normal oeprations it would really by during some type of emergency (I'm a ham radio operator) that it would be incredibly useful.

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 02:14

I found a posting that indicated that the MIT people were working on a roofnet/wrt54g solution. I emailed them and got a response indicating that they have pre-alpha source, but need to strip the code down to fit on the wrt54g.

Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2004 22:19

The only thing that bothered me in reading the CBRP overview is that you seem to have to nominate "cluster heads" which would stop it being a true self configuire mesh like a community mesh should be. For that reason AODV or DSR might be a better bet.

Another interesting protocol is AODV6 which is AODV for IPv6, there is linux code out for it already.

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 03:34

Guys Dont; forget about mobile mesh it already takes care of this.

the node advertises if it is a gateway or other route and then the clients all figure out which once is closest to them and uses that one, lets not reincent the wheel here.


Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 13:25

My vote is for roofnet. Only problem that they may have is that there are no AP's in their system, you have to be wired to an accesspoint, or that was my understanding last time I looked.

I would be thrilled with any decent wrt mesh though.

Think about it. Huge scalable networks built for the same price as a cable modem with no configuration. Add on a server to authenticate and you're done. You could build a WISP and have your users pay all of the infrastructure costs by simply purchasing an AP.

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 22:18

Posted by sveasoft again

Adhoc is available in Satori. You do not need adhoc mode to create a self-configuring mesh (where do these urban legends come from?).

One popular version of AODV runs as a kernel module. You can patch the existing kernel and add it. Several other versions run in userspace. Routing runs just as well (actually it is much safer and easier to develop) in userspace as in the kernel. All routing software does as far as the kernel is concerned is update the kernel routing tables.

Posted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:28

I have been looking for a low cost meshbox solution for a community networking project and I am encouraged by the content of this thread.

I had considered the Locustworld meshbox, however this is a relatively expensive solution, that is 'locked in' to WIANA, as highlighted by previous posts.

At what stage is the development of the meshbox 'firmware', and is it possible to compare the functionality of the WRT54 meshbox to that of the Locust world meshbox?

It is highly probable that I would be using the WRT54GS as they appear to be the only models currently available.

Keep up the good work!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 13:58

I am not sure if this was mentioned earlier, since i just went through 6 months of posts in 6 minutes, but a Norwegian named Andreas T√łnnesen is working on: Optimized Link State Routing protocol (OLSR). It seems to do just the trick.

Pls check: http://www.olsr.org/

I know www.amsterdam-wireless.nl is switching over from mobileMesh to OLSR.

P.S. I would love to see smart mesh routing happen on the WRT54G !

Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 01:17

check out http://meshcube.org for another cool mesh routing device running MobileMesh and OLSR

Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 23:24

I whole heartedly agree with PatchesJ. The satori and alchemy distributions are excellent and supply the hotspot folks with wifi in a box but a mesh box would satisfy more of a community based market where users just want to plug in and go.
A beautiful arrangement would be alchemy as your gateway and mesh nodes for your clients or for broader cell coverage.
I'd love to see just a barebones mesh box!


See the following local link for all the posts to the forum

Sveasoft discussion on mesh

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