Mesh-Pi you ask?

So to start I am a ham radio operator in ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service). I have been testing HSMM-MESH version 1.0.0. I must say with my back ground as a former WISP owner for 8 years I have been having a lot of fun. I have been on the forums a lot. Most all of them all say to have a server software on your PC for sharing files. This is because of how the routers connect the LAN to the Mesh. The other nice thing about running a server is you can advertised services to the mesh for all nodes to see. This is handy when someone new connects to the mesh. They go to localnode:8080 from any web browser > click mesh status. Then they are able to see all advertised services on nodes connected to the Mesh. Also a lot of them on the forums talked about wanting the ability to chat keyboard to keyboard. So I started on a mission.

The requirements:

  1. Chat
  2. Files shearing
  3. Some way to get information out
  4. low power (no quad core server)
  5. Portable
  6. Fast deployment
  7. Ideally with no extra software

Answer? ….

Raspberry Pi:
I had one laying around doing nothing
It runs Linux
low power (#4)
small (#5)

So, I installed Raspbian, Debian Linux on a 32GB SD card
lighttpd (Web Server) (#3)
VSFTPD (FTP Server) (#2)
piControl (Shutdown over the web no ssh needed)
Wordpress (Web Site CMS) (#3)
Quick Chat for WordPress (#1)

The nice thing about all this is I modded my linksys router and installed the Pi inside(#6). I now have a mesh node with a Raspberry Pi inside ie. Mesh-Pi.

Photo Aug 29, 11 20 14 PMPhoto Aug 29, 11 21 05 PM Photo Aug 29, 11 20 24 PM

I advertised the HTTP (web server) & FTP (file server) to the mesh.

mesh status

So anyone from one URL can find the Mesh-Pi.  All they need is a web browser(#7). You navigate to localnode:8080 to pull up your directly connected node, click mesh status. If you are in range of node “KD8RBH-00” you will see “KD8RBH-Mesh-Pi”.

Now to the website: WordPress.

Anywhere on the mesh if you browse to http://kd8rbh-mesh-pi/ you will get this.

wp mesh pi

It still is generic, not all setup yet. But I will try not to put graphics on it. The main page will show the last 10 posts. So as new information comes in you can just add a new post. On the right I added some quick links localnode, PiControl and PiControl commands. Not sure but will most likely not leave them on the main page, more for testing. I will most likely move them to the wp-admin dashboard. The commands do what they say with no “are you sure?”  warnings. How to know when the Pi is off? LAN 1 LED on the router goes off when the Pi’s shutdown script is done.


The Quick chat page looks like this. A few nice features is you do not have to login, you can and I will ask everyone to change there guest name to there call sign. You can also engage in private chat with someone by clicking there call sign on the left.


All of this only uses 3GB so we have 28GB for file sharing using FTP. At the moment to use FTP you need a username and password. Still playing with the idea of opening that up. Not sure yet because then everyone would have open access to the WordPress files. Not saying anyone would delete them on purpose but could happen accidentally.

Well this is a look at Project Code-name “Mesh-Pi”. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like anymore information about anything discussed please feel free to ask in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Mesh-Pi

  1. Not bad. Working on similar idea but more towards setting up self-sufficient, low-cost, solar-powered repeaters around Houston. Keep up the good work!

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