“Homemade lokalki” revived in the form of mesh networks. LibreRouter and other free routers

    There are many remote regions on Earth where it is almost impossible to conduct the Internet. What do residents do? Not everyone will allow themselves a satellite channel. For communication between members of a community, you can organize your own network without any commercial providers (community network). It is for such projects that the new free LibreRouter router is designed . Of course, this is quite a specific and specialized iron. But people live not only in megacities, but for the self-organization of groups remote from civilization, such a device can become indispensable.

    And similar networks, like “home lokalki” in the post-USSR, will be a cheap or free alternative to the Internet in poor areas of the third world countries.

    In fact, before, such collective mesh networks were created, isolated or with access to the Internet. Usually commercial routers were used for this, on which OpenWRT and other software are installed , and if necessary, hardware modifications are made.

    There are firmwares like libreCMC that are suitable not only for commercial routers, but also for some single-board computers.

    Free Software Wireless-N Mini VPN Router (TPE-R1100) : The free mini router on the libreCMC firmware is priced at $ 58.28. LibreRouter

    developers say their brainchild has a number of key advantages over converted commercial products:

    • Availability . Install and configure the router can not only cool boom. There is no need to rigidly modify a commercial device.
    • Price . Free routers should be cheaper than proprietary ones.
    • Reliability . The devices are initially designed to work in the most severe weather conditions.
    • Efficiency . Scaling networks without reducing speed.

    What is a collective mesh network? This is approximately the following system:

    It includes many personal routers that can communicate with each other. Often there is a supernod through which the network connects to the Internet.


    According to the official documentation , the open design router is based on an Atheros AR9558 chip with three specialized radio broadcast chips: AR9558, AR9582, AR9582. The antenna for the home router / hotspot operates at 2.4 GHz (802.11b / g / n). Both external 2.5GHz 5G 802.11a / n antennas support MIMO technology (multiple-input multiple-output).

    General specifications are shown in the screenshot of the documentation.

    It is planned to add a TV White Space Frequency Converter (TVWS) and a separate transmitter for a low-power control line.


    LibreRouter runs on LibreMesh software over OpenWRT . LibreMesh installed on all devices forms a two-layer mesh network architecture using the BATMAN-ADV and BMX6 routing protocols. Support for two protocols is needed to provide greater flexibility, because each of them has its own characteristics in terms of peer-to-peer networks or connecting different clouds.

    The task of LibreMesh is to simplify the configuration of the mesh network, including automatic IP address assignment and DNS configuration. Like the rest of the software on the router, LibreMesh is an open source program,

    The network on LibreMesh is monitored and controlled by the LimeApp application. Another program, LibreNet6, creates VPN tunnels between individual subnets (clouds).

    Testing LibreRouter

    So far, LibreRouter exists as a prototype, but it performed well in tests . The developers say that according to surveys the demand is expected to be considerable: in the next two years about 2500 units can be sold.

    Maybe the good old lokalki sometime revive in a new form, working on radio frequencies and uniting residents of entire cities. In principle, they sometimes also grew to such a scale that it was somehow inconvenient to call them “lokalka”. Networks united neighboring houses and even entire areas of the city. People talked in chat rooms, met each other, and some even got married in the real world.

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