Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by KC7NYR

Mesh-Networking Set Up

Basic Summary Steps

1) Find a Linksys WRT54G Series That Will Work

2) Download The Firmware For The Version Of Hardware You Have

3) Install The Firmware

4) Login & Set Your Callsign and Password

5) Save Changes and Reboot The Device

Download the Setup Guide: For HSMM Mesh Node on a Linksys Router – Setup-HSMM-Mesh-Nodes-Guide.

Also see useful Links at bottom of this page.

1) Find a Linksys WRT54G Series That Will Work

Supported Hardware
Written by Rick Kirchhof, NG5V

WRT54G-Router Shopping Guide for used devices

The original development was done on Linksys WRT54G hardware versions 1 through 4. Starting with hardware version 5, the firmware Flash and working RAM memory were reduced and the factory operating system was changed to VXworks. Version 5+ WRT54G and GS units don’t have enough memory to run HSMM-MESH™. A repackaged version of a WRT54G is separately marketed as WRT54GL (for Linux) and is specifically advertised as supporting Linux. All hardware versions of the WRT54GL work fine.

Versions 1 through 4 of the WRT54GS are also supported. Versions 1-3 of WRT54GS have 32 Mb memory and 8 Mb of flash. They are very desirable. A few users have discovered that special versions of the WRT54GS were built under other model numbers and distributed by Internet Service Providers. You might find the conversion process to make existing firmware support those models by using the search feature at the top of each page. Just enter the model number to find discussions related that device.

The supported versions of the router all have a minimum of 4 Mb of Flash memory and 16 Mb of RAM.

Linksys Devices

Hardware versions are on the device label on the bottom but the font is very small and difficult to read. Keep in mind that the WRT54G v 1.0 uses only regulated 5.0v power. Higher voltage will let the smoke out. V 1.0 units are easy to spot since they have 3 status LEDs for each LAN jack and all others have one.

The easiest way to determine hardware versions on Linksys devices is to read the serial number. The first few letters of the serial number decode the actual hardware version using the chart in the link above. These serial numbers are also printed on the outside of new hardware boxes near the UPC barcode and can be read without buying the product or opening the box.

Ubiquiti Devices

Ubiquiti firmware for the listed devices is available from the Software Download page, and properly interacts with BBHN devices of the same major version number. For example, a WRT54GL using 3.x.x will talk to a Bullet M2 if both are in the same band, in RF range of each other, and have 3.x.x firmware. You always have to match the SSID as some devices can create differing RF signals not compatible with other hardware.

TFTP Firmware Installation

For Ubiquiti Devices ( For Detailed Instructions Visit My Ubiquiti Set Up Page)

2) Firmware Installation Instructions – Written by David Rivenburg, AD5OO

Here’s how to make your very own mesh node:

1. Go to the software download page and get the version of firmware suitable for your model of router.

If you are upgrading from the stock Linksys firmware or using tftp (instructions further down this page) you will need the model-specific .bin file. If you are upgrading from a previous mesh firmware release then you can use the .trx file (regardless of the router model). routers with 2MB of flash (such as the wrt54g version 5 and above) are not supported this step can be skipped if you are upgrading from 0.3.2+ firmware and the node has an internet connection

2. Upload the firmware to the router

These instructions assume your computer is connected to the lan port of router

routers with factory firmware
in a browser go to
user = admin
password = admin (or the password you set)
click Administration
click Firmware Upgrade
click Browse, select the .bin file that you downloaded
click Upgrade
goto step 3

routers with hsmm-mesh-0.3.2 or later firmware that have an Internet connection
in a browser go to http://localnode:8080/
click Setup
user = root
password = hsmm (or the password you set)
click Administration
next to Download Firmware click Refresh
select which firmware image to download
click Download, then wait for the firmware to download and install
goto step 3

routers with mesh-0.3.0 or later firmware, or 0.3.2+ with no internet connection
in a browser go to http://localnode:8080/
click Setup
user = root
password = hsmm (or the password you set)
click Administration
next to Upload Firmware click Browse, select the .trx that file you downloaded
click Install
goto step 3

3. Wait for the power LED to start blinking, then stop blinking, then for the DMZ LED to go out after that, replug your network cable or do whatever it takes to reset your computer network adapter the first time mesh firmware is installed on a router it will take about two minutes for the first reboot to complete


4. Configure the mesh node – this is required every time the firmware is installed in a browser go to http://localnode:8080/
at this point the node is acting as an access point, so you can either be connected by a cable to the LAN port or connected wirelessly to the SSID “MeshNode”
this guarantees that after a full firmware install there is a wireless way back in to the node if it is located in a restricted access area when connecting to the LAN port is not practical
click Setup
user = root
password = hsmm
enter a Node Name
node names can contain only numbers, letters, and dashes
underscores, spaces, and other punctuation are not allowed
it is a condition of your Amateur Radio license and of Broadband Hamnet that the node name must contain your callsign the node name is beaconed (via UDP port 4919) every five minutes to meet the identification requirements recommendation: (callsign)-(name) example: ad5oo-mobile or ad5oo-1
enter a Password (twice)
click Save Changes, even if you didn’t make any changes, and wait for the node to reboot

Congratulations. You now have a mesh node, but only if you did step 4!.

Here is what just happened to your router:

it is now running a custom build of OpenWrt kamikaze 7.09
the wireless ssid is BroadbandHamnet-v1 and is broadcast
the wireless mode is ad-hoc
the wireless channel is 1
the wireless speed is automatic
the wireless encryption is disabled
the wireless and lan ports are no longer bridged – they are independent interfaces
the wireless address is 10.X.Y.Z/8
X, Y, and Z are the last three bytes of the WiFi mac address
the lan address has been automatically configured
the lan port is running a dhcp server
the wan port is running a dhcp client

Installing firmware with tftp

Your router is a brick. It does not come up normally and you are not able to log in by any method. All is not lost, read on to see how to use the built in failsafe method of installing firmware. If this method does not work, you will have to resort to a JTAG install. Good luck with that. See for information on the JTAG method.

The CFE (Common Firmware Environment – the bootloader) has the ability to receive a firmware image using tftp (the trivial file transfer protocol) and write it to flash. When the nvram variable boot_wait is set to on, (as it will be after the mesh firmware is installed at least once) there is a three second window where it listens for tftp packets. If it hears them, it will load the firmware into ram, write it to flash, then reboot. If the CFE detects some problem with the firmware already on the flash (such as an interrupted flash write) and is unable to boot, it should wait indefinitely for a tftp transfer. At this point I’m not sure what the CFE behavior is when boot_wait is set to off. I believe it still listens for tftp packets, but the window of opportunity is one second or less.

Here is a linux script I use (I called it wrtftp) to send tftp attempts to once every second for an hour or until the upload succeeds. It sets the tftp trace mode so that you can see every attempt and also see when the transfer has happened and whether or not it succeeded.


if [ -z “$1” ]; then
echo “usage: wrtftp “
exit 1

cd `dirname $1`

tftp << END
rexmt 1
trace on
timeout 3600
put `basename $1` code.bin

To reflash a device with this script, you will need to have your computer’s ethernet port connected to the LAN port on the router, with the IP address statically set to, netmask Run the script with the image name as an argument. The .trx file will not work here, you need the .bin file specific to your model of router.

Once per second you will see messages like this:

sent WRQ

Now power cycle the router. If the above messages continue and the router continues to boot, it missed the window. This is not unusual. Power cycle the router again until you see messages like this:

sent DATA
received ACK
sent DATA
received ACK

After that the flash write begins, then the router will reboot.

During this process one thing that may get in the way is network management software that many modern operating systems use to automatically control your ethernet port. It becomes a problem when power cycling the router causes the network manager to enable and disable the ethernet port because it sees the connection disappearing and reappearing.

One way around this is to disable the network manager and take manual control of your network interfaces if you are able to do that. Otherwise it can be avoided by using another ethernet switch which both your computer and the router receiving the firmware are connected to. You should be able to use the LAN switch on the back of another mesh node if a separate switch is not available

Useful Resource Links & Downloads

Source Credits
Broadband-Hamnet HSMM-MESH

HSMM-MESH™ is not just any mesh network, it is a specific mesh network designed to meet certain goals and operate in a specific fashion. It will not meet the needs of everyone and is not suitable for every purpose. However, it is quite flexible and should provide a valuable and extensible service for its users.

HSMM-MESH™ is meant to be the high speed digital progression of existing Amateur Radio practices and used only by licensed Amateur Radio operators. Emergency communication is very much a driving factor in the architecture of the network. To that end, it aims to be the network of choice when the need arises to quickly create a network where none exists, and to be the easiest to set up and most capable while running. It also is suitable for permanent installation, providing high speed digital Amateur Radio communications over a region with line-of-sight RF access to at least one of the participating nodes.

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