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dennisdebel 816c4f5f6b updated readme 9 years ago
js-crypt-test simply-crypt js test added 10 years ago
lazyinstall reverted to previous fstab_extroot solution 9 years ago
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Meshenger is a Forban-inspired messaging software used for a speculative broadcast communication project. The starting point is an electronic messaging system running on a wireless mesh network. The messages propagate through the network when devices that come in contact with each other synchronize their content. It is non-hierarchical, every node receives, relays and broadcasts messages.

Using Meshenger, devices detect each other by continously broadcasting an identifier packet while listening to those of other nodes. As soon as two (or more) nodes detect each other they will try to synchronize the messages on each node.

The users of the network can interface with the nodes to send or receive messages by using the webbrowser of their smartphone or computer. The messages can be received and sent at any time, but they are only synchronized in the network when other nodes are encountered.

Meshenger is supposed to run on an Open-WRT router that has been configured to work in mesh networks (for a configuration how-to see below).

Configuring a router for Open-WRT and Meshenger

Flashing and preparing

Meshenger requires routers that both support Open-WRT and have at least one USB port (List of Open-WRT routers here). We have used the following models: TP-Link MR-3020, TP-Link TP-WR703n and TP-WR842nd.

Open-WRT have a guide for each supported device that tells how to best flash your specific device with Open-WRT. (Article on flashing)

After flashing proceed through the first login as described here.

You are going to need to have an internet connection to your router, the easiest thing is to hook it up to the router.

Alternatively if you use OSX you can enable internet sharing (make sure to set your OSX machine as the gateway and DNS server for your router in /etc/config/network)

If after flashing something goes wrong, you can reset the whole router in failsafe mode see here.

Lazy Install

Below you will find the manual configuration steps necessary to install Meshenger. We did however create some scripts to help you automate the process.

Read more here

To add: stop Luci from running! $ /etc/init.d/uhttpd disable Saves a lot of resources!

System configuration

To use your router for Meshenger you're going to need to run the whole filesystem from a USB-Drive.

Make sure that said USB-Drive is formatted as such:

- one ext4 partition

- one linux-swap partition (32mb seems to be sufficient so far)

Next enable USB-Storage on the router:

$ opkg update

$ opkg install 'block-mount kmod-usb-storage kmod-usb2 kmod-fs-ext4

To check if it works try $ ls /dev/. You shoud see sda, sda1 and sda2

Now mount the USB-Drive:

$ mkdir /mnt/sda1

$ mount -t ext4 /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1

Copy the whole filesystem to the USB-Drive:

$ mkdir -p /tmp/cproot

$ mount --bind / /tmp/cproot

$ tar -C /tmp/cproot -cvf - . | tar -C /mnt/sda1 -xf -

$ umount /tmp/cproot

Edit fstab

$ vi /etc/config/fstab

Make config mount look like:

config mount 
    option target /
    option device /dev/sda1
    option fstype ext4
    option options rw,sync
    option enabled 1
    option enabled_fsck 0

Reboot the device ($ reboot -f) and use $ df -h to confirm device now runs off the USB-Drive

Next we configure the swap partition

$ mkswap /dev/sda2

$ swapon /dev/sda2

Edit fstab again now make the swap look like this:

config mount
	option device   /dev/sda2
	option enabled 

Wireless configuration

The next section is on how to set up the network interfaces to work with B.A.T.M.A.N the mesh networking protocol. It is more or less a summary of what's written here.

$ vi etc/config/wireless and edit the wireless interface to look like this:

Dont forget to remove the line that disables wireless

config wifi-iface 'wmesh'

	option device  'radio0'

	option ifname  'adhoc0'

	option network 'mesh'  

	option mode		'adhoc'

	option ssid     'mesh'          

	option bssid '66:66:66:66:66:66'

Next up is $ vi etc/config/network where we add this interface:

config interface 'mesh'

	option ifname 'adhoc0'

	option mtu '1528'

	option proto 'none'

Install B.A.T.M.A.N and IP6 support.

$ opkg install kmod-batman-adv kmod-ipv6

Then edit $ /etc/config/batman-adv to tell it which interface to use.

config mesh 'bat0'

	option interfaces 'adhoc0'

	option 'aggregated_ogms'

	option 'ap_isolation' 

	option [..]

$ /etc/init.d/network restart to make the changes take effect.

If you have set this up properly on more than one node, the nodes should be able to see each other. Test with $ batctl -o

Make sure that you have the same version of batctl and openwrt on all nodes you plan to use. $ uname -a && batctl -v to see the version information.

Configuring / Adding a client Hotspot

For the front-end, the client user interface, we must have a captive portal running. These are the first steps in enableing another wireless interface for the hotspot

Add the following lines in the following config files and restart the network:

$ vi /etc/config/network

config interface 'hotspot'    
        option 'iface' 'radio0' #use your excisting wifi device (look in config/wireless below)
        option 'proto' 'static'
        option 'ipaddr' ''
        option 'netmask' ''
        option 'type' 'bridge'           

$ vi /etc/config/wireless

config wifi-iface                       
        option 'device' 'radio0'  #use your excisting wifi device, look in the list above.    
        option 'ssid' 'meshtest1'  #use a unique name for your network?
        option 'network' 'hotspot'      
        option 'mode' 'ap'              
        option 'encryption' 'none'
        option 'isolate' '1'  

$ vi /etc/config/dhcp

config dhcp hotspot                           
        option 'interface' 'hotspot'          
        option 'start' '100'                  
        option 'limit' '150'        
        option 'dynamicdhcp' '1'  

$ vi /etc/config/firewall enable handing out dhcp addresses to wifi clients

config 'zone'                                          
        option 'name' 'hotspot'                        
        option 'input' 'ACCEPT'                        
        option 'forward' 'ACCEPT' #was REJECT                      
        option  'output' 'ACCEPT'                      
config 'rule'                                     
        option 'src' 'hotspot'                         
        option 'dest_port' '53'                        
        option 'proto' 'tcpudp'                        
        option 'target' 'ACCEPT'                       
config 'rule'                                          
        option 'src' 'hotspot'                         
        option 'src_port' '67-68'                      
        option 'dest_port' '67-68'                     
        option 'proto' 'udp'                           
        option 'target' 'ACCEPT'                       

$ /etc/init.d/network restart $ /etc/init.d/firewall restart $ /etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart

Or better, restart the router with $ reboot -f

The Meshenger webinterface is now available at when connected to its associated hotspot, in this case 'meshtest1'.

Configuring the Hotspot as captive portal

We want connecting clients to be redirected to our webapp, no matter what url they request. To do so we need to add some firewall rules, configure dhcp and dnsmasq.

Add the following firewall rules:

$ vi /etc/config/firewall

config 'rule'
        option 'target' 'ACCEPT'
        option 'src' 'hotspot' # guest wifi interface
        option 'proto' 'tcp'
        option '_name' 'Website' # this can maybe go?
        option 'dest_port' '80'

config 'redirect'
        option 'proto' 'tcp'
        option '_name' 'Website' # this can maybe go?
        option 'src' 'hotspot' # guest wifi interface
        option 'src_dport' '80'
        option 'dest_port' '80'
        option 'dest_ip' '' # ip of webserver

In the dnsmasq section of the dhcp config (first section) add the following line:

$ vi /etc/config/dhcp

list server '//'

In the dnsmasq config (first section) add the following line(s):

$ vi /etc/dnsmasq.conf

# Redirect all dns requests to meshenger                     

Restart dnsmasq to apply the changes:

$ /etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart

Now all http requests will be directed to Meshenger! If it doesn't work, check your DNS settings of the client your're using (aka your computer, phone, fapfapfaplet). Make sure google's is not there and set as the dns server.

Run meshenger on boot

Create a file in $ /etc/init.d/ called meshenger and paste the script below:

#!/bin/sh /etc/rc.common
#meshenger startup script


start() {
    echo 'starting Meshenger'
    /usr/bin/python /root/meshenger/ &

stop() {
    echo 'Killing Meshenger'
    killall python

Make the file executable

$ chmod a+x /etc/init.d/meshenger

Now you can start/stop meshenger as a service, to enable the meshenger as srevice on boot run

$ /etc/init.d/meshenger enable

To start/stop/disable replace 'enable' with start, stop or disable.

Installing meshenger

Get the dependencies and clone the git

$ opkg install python git

$ git clone git://

Running Meshenger on Boot

To launch the Meshenger script (or python script in this case), we have to run it as a 'Service'. Befor we can do so we need to know some variable.

Path to python

Find out where your Python binary is located:

$ which python

This command outputs your path, for example: /usr/bin/python, remember this path

Boot order

Alot of processes are started at boot, and we want to make sure our script runs after the system has booted completely. To find out the boot order, look in the rc.d folder:

$ ls /etc/rc.d

This will output a list of startup sctipts with prefixes like S10-, S20-, S30-. The numbers define the boot order, the higher, the later. Remember the highest 'S'(cript) number. We need to run our script after the last one.

Startup script

Create a new file in /etc/init.d/

$ vi /etc/init.d/meshenger

And paste the script below and correct your path to pyton and boot order number, both found above.

#!/bin/sh /etc/rc.common
#meshenger startup script

START=99 #the boot order number, note in our case the SAME number as the highest one found.
SERVICE_DAEMONIZE=1 #start as service, important!

	sleep 10 #make sure booting is finished
	echo 'starting meshenger'
	/usr/bin/python /root/meshenger/ &  #path to python binary, space, full path to your script


	echo 'stopping meshenger'
	killall python

Make sure both your script ( and the init.d script are executable!

$ chmod +x /etc/init.d/meshenger $ chmod +x /root/meshenger/

Enabling the service

Now we have to activate the script we just pasted and make it run as service, on every (re)boot.

$ /etc/init.d/meshenger enable

This creates a symlink in /etc/rc.d with the boot order number prefix you provided in the init.d script (S99-meshenger). You can also start and stop the service manually with:

$ /etc/init.d/meshenger start $ /etc/init.d/meshenger stop

That's all, reboot and see if it works ( $ ps | grep python )!

SSH Access from Internet (wan)

If you want, you can hook your box up to the internet and manage it remotely. This is not in the scope of this project but I'll share the steps with you:

Configure your firewall

$ vi /etc/config/firewall

config 'rule'
  option 'src' 'wan'
  option 'dest_port' '22'
  option 'target' 'ACCEPT'
  option 'proto' 'tcp' 
$ /etc/init.d/firewall restart

Enable user iptable script:

$ vi  vi /etc/firewall.user 

iptables -t nat -A prerouting_wan -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
iptables        -A input_wan      -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
$ /etc/init.d/firewall restart

Configure open ssh service

Add the line below in your dropbear config

$ vi /etc/config/dropbear

option 'GatewayPorts' 'on'
$ /etc/init.d/dropbear restart

Now you can acces your router, via ssh, from the internet. Don't forget to add portforwarding on you're modem/router! Next up, http access from the internet!

HTTP Access from Internet (wan)

If you want, you can host Meshenger or your own homepage on the internet. This is not in the scope of this project but I'll share the steps with you:

Configure your firewall

Add the following lines in your firewall config, and restart the firewall:

$ vi /etc/config/firewall

config 'redirect'
        option 'src' 'wan'
        option 'src_dport' '80'
        option 'dest' 'lan'
        option 'dest_ip' ''
        option 'dest_port' '80'
        option 'proto' 'tcp'

config 'rule'
        option 'src' 'wan'
        option 'dest_port' '80'
        option 'target' 'ACCEPT'
        option 'proto' 'tcp'
$ /etc/init.d/firewall restart

Now either run Meshenger, or run a simple http server (to share files, or whatever) from any directory with this Python oneliner:

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 80

After forwarding the correct ports on your home router/modem (from any ip on port 80 to your openwrt box (lan) ip on port 80) your website will now be accessible from outside (wan) through your external IP!