From The Commons
Revision as of 12:07, 25 June 2012 by Charlesnw (talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

The FreedomNode is a wireless router which acts as a node in the "neighborhood-scale" mesh network and as a downlink to the owner's LAN.

The scope of the FreedomNode will overlap with the FreedomBox in some situations, in which case some hardware might be able to fill both roles.


Leading options for a FreedomNode distribution/firmware are:

Genode plus Debian: For true fault isolation and tolerance, nodes could run Genode, a novel nested operating system architecture (GPL-licensed). Then on top of that, a lightweight debian install would be used to ensure long-term package support and stability.

OpenWrt: a linux-based firmware mostly used on low-resource routers. Has a package system and strong community, many mesh protocols run on this platform.

pfSense: a BSD-based firmware mostly used on medium-resource firewalls and routers. Has a package system and strong developers.

Byzantium Project: an integrated foundation for mesh communications. Their routing scheme is based on the babel protocol


Quagga (with Babel)

The neighborhood-scale mesh network could be one of BATMAN, BATMAN-adv, OLSR, Babel, etc.


At the core of a full-featured FreedomNode is a small-form computer, designed to run continuously for years on end. The computer’s onboard capabilities can be expanded with USB mass storage, and miniPCI radio modules.

The following devices (available today) could fill the FreedomNode's basic networking roles until "full-featured" hardware becomes available or is implemented.

ARC Wireless FreeStation

$70, 8MB flash, 32MB RAM, Atheros chipset. Has an 2x2 MIMO 802.11n radio and panel antenna (available with 2.4GHz or 5GHz) plus a secondary 2.4GHz local access point with omni antenna. Runs OpenWrt. Dual Ethernet (PoE) and dual USB.

Ubiquity RouterStation Pro

This device is End-of-Life and no longer in production

Reliable bare-board router. Does not come with wireless radios by default, has 3x (!) miniPCI slots (not PCIe). 128MB RAM, runs OpenWRT, Atheros chipset, 3x gigabit ethernet LAN ports, 1x ethernet WAN. Retailed for $80 (without radios).

TP-Link TL-MR3020
TP-Link TL-MR3020
TP-Link TL-MR3020

Unclear if this would be an acceptable mesh node

Very small low power travel hotspot. Designed to share 3G uplink from a USB dongle. 400MHz Atheros AR7240, 802.11b/g/n, 4MB Flash, 32MB RAM, 1x ethernet port, 1x USB host port, powered by miniUSB port. Multiple almost-identical versions of this device exist. $40 (from amazon).

TP-Link TL-WR703N

Not to be confused with the TL-WR702N, which has insufficient Flash and RAM for most firmware

Unclear if this would be an acceptable mesh node

Very small USB-powered travel router, intended to be used as WiFi hotspot for multiple devices and/or sharing a 3G USB dongle's internet connection. Not yet FCC approved for the US and thus not yet as readily available as the cheaper 702 model? Price around $30 (overseas?)

32MB RAM, 4MB Flash, 1x USB 2.0 Host port, 1x USB device port (for power), 1x Ethernet port, Atheros AR9331 chipset.



Free Network Infrastructure Projects (edit)
Box - Node - Tower - Tunnel - Link
Network Operations Center - Lab - VoIP - Stack - Overview