Rewrite expected soon - May 23, 2014

Convert Router to HSMM Information


WRT54G Conversion to Broadband-Hamnet Instructions

We (Kevin, KD8OUF; Mike, AB8VS; and Don, WB8GUS) each obtained two (or more) of the correct version of WRT54G routers. This allowed us to setup a small independent MESH network (individual nodes) and then together using the six nodes working on the network all at one time. If you want your own small network, you will need to get at least a pair of WRT54G (up to version 4) or any version of WRT54GL routers (the newer version). The Broadband-Hamnet (was HSMM-MESH) web site has information on which versions of the routers will work.

IMPORTANT: You need to have the correct router HARDWARE version(s) to get started. If it is not on the list, do not try to use it. See the hardware list of supported hardware before making your purchases. This topic was rewritten in late 2013 to provide information using the new Broadband-Hamnet configurations.

Step 1: Browse to the hsmm-mesh.org software download page and downloaded the latest "Broadband-Hamnet" software image for the WRT54G and WRT54GL router that you are going to convert. Be sure to get the proper software to match to your hardware, they are NOT interchanageable.

    • Browse to http://www.hsmm-mesh.org
    • Click User Documentation in the left navigation area under HSMM-MESH Info.
    • Click the article Firmware Installation Instructions It is reccommended you print these instructions for later use.
    • In Step 1 of the instructions, click software download page.
    • Download the latest HSMM-MESH firmware for your router, depends on the router model number. I got hsmm-mesh-0.4.3-wrt54g.bin, but yours could be a different version. Ensure that the file name you get ends with wrt54g.bin and remember, or write it down, exactly where it is located on your computer.

Step 2: Turn off the wireless link of any laptop and connect the computer's network cable to one of the WRT54GL's four LAN ports with a ethernet cable. Your computer should have no other network connections, wired or wireless, except for the cable going to the HSMM-MESH router. Please read that again, it is important!

Step 3: We followed the instructions for "routers with factory firmware". The instructions required two small changes, here they are as we used them: (Do this for each router, so you have two (or more) routers converted.)

    • in a Web browser go to http://192.168.1.1 ...this is the router's factory setup web page (from LinkSys).
    • user = admin ...assumes no one has changed value.
    • password = admin ...this assumes no one has changed value. If it was changed, search the internet for how to reset to the factory settings on the Linksys router.
    • click Administration
    • click Firmware Upgrade
    • click Browse and select the file(s) you need to downloaded, we used bbhn-1.0.0-wrt54g.bin
    • click Upgrade then be patient.

Step 4: Wait for the router to reboot and blink its LEDs as described in the printed instructions. Unplug the network cable and plug it in again to get the computer to reset its network connection. (You could go thru an 'ipconfig' release and renew process in a DOS window, but the unplug and replug the cable seems easier.)

In the printed instructions Step 4, it is important to understand that you will be using the "Node Name" for each router later in configuring your network. Take the time to keep a complete list of the routers you work on (computer or handwriten is fine). The next step(5) in these instructions sets up these names. Also, the username, 'root', and the password (we suggest scmesh, see our Shiawassee Mesh Standards for node names and password suggestions, at least initially).

Step 5: Follow the MESH instructions to store a callsign as part of the router's name (part of legal ID requirements). As the control operator, this final step is required before using the routers. We use different callsign names for our routers, a hyphen, then NODE,AP,BRIDGE, or NODE as a router type, a hyphen, then a three digit number. Mine were WB8GUS-NODE-101 and WB8GUS-NODE-102.

As listed our router's list initially had:

    • Username        PW          Hostname/Node Name
    •   root           WB8GUS          WB8GUS-NODE-101
    •   root           WB8GUS          WB8GUS-NODE-102
    •   root           KD8OUF          KD8OUF-NODE-101
    •   root           KD8OUF          KD8OUF-NODE-901-GATEWAY
    •   root              AB8VS             AB8VS-NODE-101
    •   root              AB8VS             AB8VS-NODE-102

After transforming both of your routers into Brroadband-Hamnet-v1 nodes and installing two computers on one router's cabled ethernet LAN ports. Power up both of the routers and both of the computers. Start a web browser on each of the computers and type

http://localnode:8080

into the 'address bar'. This will take you to the router's internal setup web page. Ask for the mesh network's status, and the web page should list what is connected. Mine was that WB8GUS-NODE-101 can see node WB8GUS-NODE-102 and vice versa (Your node names from your list are what you want to see!)

On one of the computers, click Node Status and then click the second routers node name link. You should be connected to the second routers node status screen, if not, you have missed something and you will need to find the misstep and correct it. If things are well here, you are done with the basic router setup. Disconnect one ethernet cable/computer. We will use the wireless connection from one router to work on the second one. Get a web browser up and sign in using the localnode:8080 procedure and start exploring your network. If you have problems getting the localnode:8080 to bring up the router's web page, you probably have an error in the DNS server/network settings on that computer, you will need to correct that condition for the mesh to work properly later.

The OLSR Status should be available for you to review. Look through the information provided, as it will show the various network links, addresses, etc. Become familiar with what is connected on your router.

If you select "Setup", you will be asked for a username and password. Initially the username is 'root'. The initial password is 'hsmm' ... the first time in you will be required to change the password. To start I suggest you use a regional password, we use 'scmesh' as the password. Thus, my user name was 'root' and PW was 'scmesh'. You will need thess each time you access this page, do not lose them. Later you can change them for higher security, alway make it something you will be able to remember. You will need this many times when you are starting out.

We suggest you select "Help" from the home MESH page and print a copy. It is not to large and has lots of information to assist getting the your routers, nodes, and network operating. It was rewritten with the change from HSMM-MESH to Broadband-Hamnet. An internet search list can be used for more information on what is going on. Again, I like Wikipedia for doing these initial searches. Usually I get information on what I was searching for and additional links for much more detail (at the bottom of the first topic).

What's Next?

So that's how we got started with HSMM-MESH networking. We have had six nodes all operating at the same time with good status on each. This was to support our first Field Day MESH setup in June, 2013 (these were HSMM-MESH levels). If you want to get started yourself, we suggest that you obtain a pair of routers per the hardware list and get going. The setup is long and detailed, but not really too difficult.

Please, go online to get some further tips about Broadband-Hamnet / HSMM-MESH, read up on IP protocols, networking, IP addressing, etc. and have fun learning about MESHing. We are still looking and learning with our local efforts. We make it a club sub-activity on it's own merits, similar to repeater and D-Star activities. Some members control the details and many club members are the users and benefit from the expertise of the sub-group.

Let's get the Field Day Logging software operating over Broadband-Hamnet. Here is the link how we setup the logging for Field Day Logging by (N3FJP).

The many people doing the development of the Broadband-Hamnet deserve a large thank-you for the fine work they have done and are doing.

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Clock This page was last updated on 15-Jan-2014