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Integration of HSMM nodes into AREDN

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K5TBL's picture
Integration of HSMM nodes into AREDN
While we are a new group working on the mess networking scene we have done a few things with the old HSMM software and we would like to not loose them.
Is it possible to "bridge" and HSMM node in and use the functions that are tied to that node?
​We have a VoIP PBX that is running on a RPi2 and I think its hamchat, we have several stations that already refer back to static IP's for these functions and was hoping to avoid a huge reprogramming.
I'm NOT an IT guy and in a constant state of learning with this mesh networking endeavor.
Thanks in advance for the advice.
John K5TBL
If you're referring to HSMM
If you're referring to HSMM-Pi, as of now it's a better solution to put it behind an AREDN or BBHN node.

If you're referring to running a Pi behind a BBHN (formerly HSMM-Mesh) node, then yes. See my DtDLinking tutorial at
In addition existing BBHNv3
In addition existing BBHNv3 networks (the latest version) link flawlessly over RF to AREDN nodes (which is no surprise since it's the members of the AREDN team that wrote the v3 mesh standards.). I've seen groups put AREDN nodes at major locations to allow older gear to be slowely replaced. I will say though likely once you try channel -2 you will probably want to replace out the entire system to -2 capable.
K5DLQ's picture
and to follow on Conrad's

and to follow on Conrad's point about -2,  I posted this anecdotal evidence on the AREDN Facebook group the other day:

Love seeing reports like this:
Steve KB7KWK, Larry AB7C have been doing lots of testing and recently they and several others have switch from the BBHN firmware to the ARDEN firmware and moved from Channel 1 to channel -2, and are now Superstition ARC Cactusreporting much faster connections at speeds near or at 100% with a distance of 3.77 miles between Steve KB7KWK and Larry AB7C. Rod, WB9KMO who lives about 1.5 miles north of the Stone Castle reports a solid connection with the rest of the mesh including the Stone Castle even with its bad antenna. Currently they have VOIP telephones, email, and have tested a web cam. Larry WB7C also reports a solid connection to the rest of the mesh from his location.


I'm personally connected to
I'm personally connected to KB7KWK via an AirGrid to AirGrid link on Ch -2 that spans 16.02 miles. That's not anecdotal - I'm sitting here looking at it.

It seems the S/N ratios are a little strange on the -02, though, as I'm getting LQ and NLQ measurements over 60%, yet Signal/Noise/Ratio is reporting -86 / -91 / 5dB. That doesn't seem like it could possibly be correct...
I realize that channel -2 is
I realize that channel -2 is extremely useful, but I have a question: Will v3 mesh standards continue to be used for the foreseeable future? Because while ch-2 is really nice it's also helpful to be able to use AREDN nodes and BBHN nodes interchangeably in some circumstances, i.e. where there is little to no civilization and/or where quantity is more important than quality.

If not, would the AREDN team consider spending a little bit of time and effort creating a Linksys firmware for v4, etc.? The way I see it, it shouldn't be BBHN vs AREDN, but the ham radio community helping each other out. I'm not asking you to actively spend lots of time supporting Linksys, rather just provide a basic level of compatibility. I would love to help out, but I am inexperienced in Perl and embedded computing in general. However, I am pretty good at shell scripting and learning on the fly.
K5DLQ's picture
I’ll chime in here from my
I’ll chime in here from my perspective: (caveat: my opinion's are not necessarily the opinion’s of the entire AREDN team) ;-)

Will V3 continue for the foreseeable future?

“i.e. where there is little to no civilization and/or where quantity is more important than quality.”, I'm not so certain this is a true statement when EMCOMM is our focus. In the mesh, a poor performing/problematic node CAN affect the overall mesh.  This is where consistency brings value.

The Linksys OS (OpenWRT) is 8+ years old (Kamakaze version). AREDN is currently using BarrierBreaker (released in 2014) and we are looking move to the latest version soon (ChaosCalmer 2016). These newer version have enabled us to support additional hardware and features such as: over-the-air upgrades, 802.11n speeds, faster routing with newer kernels, etc. Even OpenWRT has dropped support for these obsolete WRT54G devices. While I appreciate the start that the venerable WRT54G gave to the mesh, it technically cannot keep up with the advances in this technology. With prices of some of these new Ubiquiti radios at ~$40, i can't justify using our limited resources to support any backwards/backporting work to support these devices on an AREDN v4 protocol (even if the technology allowed it).

By the way, I don't consider this as a "BBHN vs AREDN" thing. This is more about AREDN doing what’s best with the technology that we have available today to improve the field of emergency communications (EMCOMM).   Do SSB and the digital voice modes do more in the same bandwidth as AM? You bet!  One of the principal motivations of the AREDN project is to make resources more useful and effective as the technology advances.

My $0.02
Darryl, K5DLQ
Alright, I see. Thanks for
Alright, I see. Thanks for the clarifications.

As for the “i.e. where there is little to no civilization and/or where quantity is more important than quality.” statement: I was referring to events like 24HOP, a bike race in a mostly barren area. The "little to no civilization" means that channel 1-6 will likely be free. But I agree, considering OpenWRT has dropped support, it's not worth the effort.
N8NQH's picture
Early on in the Mesh

Early on in the Mesh beginnings; there was a need for a readily-available, low-cost, All-In-One device to entice curious hams to get their feet wet with Mesh.  The Linksys performed this task admirably.

Our testing has shown the NanoStation to be far superior to the Linksys,  and is an all-in-one package; with the benefit of being dual polarization.  We have verified the  benefits with dual polarization - just being on one side of the link (though obviously it would be even better having dual polarization on both sides).  So for a home node recommendation to a new Meshie... I am now suggesting NanoStations; especially if there's any chance of path obstruction via tree limbs.  $80 new, $45-40 used.

The only aspect where I think the Linksys still shines is during tactical uses, with its ease of setup in an EmCom situation. You simply  take it out of your Go Box, and plop it down on a table/desk/file-cabinet.  The NanoStation kinda needs to be mounted to a pole.... and casually aimed.
But the AirRouter now provides the same ease of the Linksys, but in a 21st century  design... that will perform on the negative channels.  New $48, used $25-35.

KD7MG's picture


Keeping WRT54s as part of the AREDN mesh
This is likely no a revelation to anyone who has deep technical knowledge of AREDN and Ubiquiti, but I am going to give a quick detail of how, in our mesh group, we keep the WRT54 users still engaged with the AREDN mesh.  For those who had as much difficulty accepting the demise of the WRT54 as I did, this may be welcome news.  My main goal was to not throw away the dozens of WRT54 routers and their more casual mesh users, but to keep them linked to the ever-expanding AREDN mesh.  The trick, use DtD linking, but maybe not in the way most use it or the way it was intended.  To keep this short, here is our setup which has worked without issue...and no firmware or hardware mods needed to any WRT54 in this scenario, they run with standard, latest version of BBHN 3.1.X.  

Set up your NetGear GS-108/5E router per the VLAN and DtD AREDN docs, ie. Port 1=WAN, Port 2=AREDN node, Ports 3-7 (or 3 and 4 of the 5 port switch) for LAN connectivity to the AREDN node connected to Port 2, and finally, and most important, a Ubiquiti device loaded with BBHN 3.1.X connected to the last port, 5 or 8, which is the DtD port.  People have discussed doing mods to a WRT54 to get it to recognize the VLANs and work properly on the DtD port, but this method difficult to impossible for many more casual WRT54 owners.  With the method described above, the Ubiquiti device running BBHN 3.1.X understands the VLANs and DtD just fine, and provides a direct bridge to all other BBHN 3.1.x nodes on the mesh with no additional mods needed.  So at least for the foreseeable future this keeps existing BBHN nodes linked to AREDN nodes on your mesh.

Again, this has likely been documented elsewhere and may just be a re-hash to some, but if you have been concerned about needing to toss out your WRT54s and haven't found any way not to do so, this keeps them in the game for a while longer and doesn't require any complicated mods to be done to a WRT54.  Hope it helps.

I will caveat this to say that now, with the Ubiquiti AirRouter LP model available for nearly the same as a used (and decade older) WRT54, it may be time to consider replacing the WRT54 with a AREDN-capable device. But where that isn't feasible, this is certainly an option.

73, Bill, N4SV

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