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Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network AREDN(tm) Firmware



AREDN wireless networks are deployed by licensed Amateur Radio operators, Technician Class or higher, under FCC Part 97 allocations adjacent to FCC part 15, unlicensed, WIFI, allocations. They are configured as ad-hoc nodes to form mesh networks. The firmware created below enables the effective use of valuable and dedicated frequencies for communication services to government and private relief organizations in times of disaster or other emergencies.

Amateur Radio frequencies are relatively clean of noise from the commercial allocations and ensure usability for Amateur Radio Operators. This firmware enables 802.11n wireless networks to be created and expanded with minimal to no pre-planning or IT expertise. A user can deploy a 'node' anywhere to connect in and extend an AREDN network. Device hardware options exist to provide sector coverage, build point-to-point links, and connect end point services to the network. High speed link rates are routinely achieved over long distances, e.g. 60Mbps+ on 10MHz channels over 80km links.

For further information on obtaining an Amateur Radio Technician Class license, please refer to

Usage Information

What to know about the images built with the instructions below

This is the active 'develop' branch with latest AREDN code. At anytime a new change may be broken or break prior capabilities.

The Amateur Radio community is encouraged to participate in loading the images produced from a "nightly build" and run the AREDN firmware in a variety of environments. Given new features may not yet be documented, participants should already have a basic knowledge of Linux and Networking to understand and provide useful feedback to the Developer submitting the code.

The goal of participation is to obtain confidence that new features and the overall mesh node is stable. The more participation, the earlier an issue is found, the faster an enhancement will be turned into a release.

Please refer to for a list of outstanding defects.

Images built

Device target Image to Use RAM Stability
AirGrid XM ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
AirGrid XW ar71xx loco-m-xw 32Mb stable
AirRouter ath79 airrouter 32Mb stable
AirRouter HP ath79 airrouter 32Mb stable
Bullet M2Ti/M5/M5Ti ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
Bullet M2 ath79 bullet-m 32Mb stable
Bullet M2 XW ath79 bullet-m-xw 64Mb stable
LiteBeam M5 ar71xx lbe-m5 64Mb stable
NanoBeam M2-13/M5-16/M5-19 ar71xx loco-m-xw 32Mb stable
NanoBridge 2G18 ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
NanoBridge 5G22/25 ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
NanoBridge M9 ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
NanoStation Loco M2/M5/M9 XM ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
NanoStation Loco M2 XW ar71xx loco-m-xw 64Mb stable
NanoStation Loco M5 XW with test date before ~Nov 2017 ar71xx loco-m-xw 64Mb stable
NanoStation Loco M5 XW with test date on or after ~Nov 2017 ar71xx rocket-m-xw 64Mb stable
NanoStation M2/M3/M5 XM ath79 nanostation-m 32Mb stable
NanoStation M2/M5 XW ath79 nanostation-m-xw 64Mb stable
PicoStation M2 ar71xx bullet-m 32Mb stable
PowerBeam-M2-400 ar71xx loco-m-xw 64Mb stable
PowerBeam-M5-300 ar71xx loco-m-xw 64Mb stable
PowerBeam-M5-400/400ISO/620 ar71xx rocket-m-xw 64Mb stable
PowerBridge ar71xx nano-m 64Mb stable
Rocket M9/M2/M3/M5/M5GPS XM ath79 rocket-m 64Mb stable
Rocket M2 XW ar71xx loco-m-xw 64Mb stable
Rocket M5 XW ar71xx rocket-m-xw 64Mb stable
Rocket M2 Titanium TI ar71xx rocket-m-ti 64Mb unknown
Rocket M2 Titanium XW ar71xx rocket-m-xw 64Mb unknown
Rocket M5 Titanium TI ar71xx rocket-m-ti 64Mb stable
Rocket M5 Titanium XW ar71xx rocket-m-xw 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE210 v1.0/v1.1 ath79 cpe210-v1 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE210 v2.0 ath79 cpe210-v2 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE210 v3.0 ath79 cpe210-v3 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE220 v2.0 ath79 cpe220-v2 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE220 v3.0 ath79 cpe220-v3 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE510 v1.0/v1.1 ath79 cpe510-v1 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE510 v2.0 ath79 cpe510-v2 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE510 v3.0 ath79 cpe510-v3 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE610 v1.0 ath79 cpe610-v1 64Mb stable
TPLink CPE610 v2.0 ath79 cpe610-v2 64Mb stable
TPLink WBS210 v1.0 ath79 wbs210-v1 64mb stable
TPLink WBS210 v2.0 ath79 wbs210-v2 64mb stable
TPLink WBS510 v1.0 ath79 wbs510-v1 64mb stable
TPLink WBS510 v2.0 ath79 wbs510-v2 64mb stable
Mikrotik Basebox RB912UAG-5HPnD/2HPnD ar71xx mikrotik-nand-large 64Mb stable
Mikrotik hAP ac lite 952Ui-5ac2nD ar71xx mikrotik-rb-nor-flash-16M-ac 64Mb stable
Mikrotik RBLHG-2nD/5nD ar71xx mikrotik-rb-nor-flash-16M 64Mb stable
Mikrotik RBLHG-5HPnD ar71xx mikrotik-rb-nor-flash-16M 64Mb stable
Mikrotik RBLHG-2nD-XL/5HPnD-XL ar71xx mikrotik-rb-nor-flash-16M 64Mb stable
Mikrotik RBLDF-2nD/5nD ar71xx mikrotik-rb-nor-flash-16M 64Mb stable
Mikrotik QRT5 RB911G-5HPnD-QRT ar71xx mikrotik-nand-large 64Mb stable
Mikrotik SXTsq 5HPnD/5nD/2nD ar71xx mikrotik-rb-nor-flash-16M 64Mb stable
GL.iNet GL-AR150 ath79 gl-ar150 64Mb stable
GL.iNet GL-USB150 ar71xx gl-usb150 64Mb stable
GL.iNet GL-AR300M16 ar71xx gl-ar300m 64Mb stable
GL.iNet GL-AR300M w/ 128Mb NAND None None 64Mb Not compatible
GL.iNet GL-AR750 ar71xx gl-ar750 128Mb stable

The 'target' is a directory to find the image on at

Latest Mikrotik installation options are found at:

Ethernet Port usage

The standard Ethernet port of an AREDN device uses the following vlan tags. An 802.1Q switch is necessary to utilize the vlan tagged networks:

  • untagged: LAN devices - laptop, ipcam, voip phone, etc.
  • vlan 1: WAN - gateway to connect AREDN network to home network and/or internet
  • vlan 2: DtDLink (device to device) - AREDN network routing between nodes, typically cross band

The following devices have enhanced Ethernet port usage. A single cat5 to the device could be plugged into ether the 'main' or 'secondary' port with standard port functionality. Both ports can be used interchangeably and simultaneously with LAN devices on both ports at the same time.

If the device's hardware supports POE (Power Over Ethernet) pass-through from main port to secondary port, an Advanced Setting option will show to turn on/off. This is useful to power ipCams or other mesh nodes by daisy chaining the network cable from one device to another. Then only one network cable may be needed to reach 2 or 3 devices on the tower. Be sure to check the power capacity in the vendor specifications to not exceed. The first device in the chain will provide the DHCP address to all LAN devices on all nodes (because it powers up first).

  • NanoStation M2 XW
  • NanoStation M5 XW
  • NanoStation M2 XM
  • NanoStation M3 XM
  • NanoStation M5 XM
  • TP-Link CPE210 v1/v1.1
  • TP-Link CPE220 v2
  • TP-Link CPE220 v3
  • TP-Link CPE510 v1/v1.1
  • TP-Link WBS210 v1
  • TP-Link WBS210 v2
  • TP-Link WBS510 v1
  • TP-Link WBS510 v2

The Mikrotik hAP AC Lite, Ubiquiti AirRouter, and AirRouter HP are pre-configured with the following VLANs:

  • Port 1: WAN Port - Packets in/out of this port are expected to be untagged. The node is (by default) configured to receive a DHCP assigned address from a home network, internet, or other foreign network.
  • Port 5: DtDLink Port Mesh Routing -- Connect to another mesh node or 8021.q switch. Packets in/out of this port must be vlan 2 tagged, other packets are ignored.
  • Ports 2-4: LAN devices -- Packets in/out of this port are expected to be untagged. The mesh node will (default) DHCP assign an IP address to your computer, ipCam, voip phone, etc. connected to these ports.

The GL.iNet GL-AR150 and GL-AR300M16 are pre-configured with the following VLANS:

  • Port labeled "WAN": untagged = AREDN WAN
  • Port labeled "LAN": untagged = AREDN LAN, vlan 2 = DtDLink (device to device)

The GL.iNet GL-AR750 is pre-configured with the following ports, left to right:

  • Left Port with internet globe icon: WAN (untagged)
  • Middle Port with "<..>" icon: DtDLink (vlan 2)
  • Right Port with "<..>" icon: LAN (untagged)

IMPORTANT: For Gl.iNet devices, when initially installing AREDN on OpenWRT, you MUST uncheck the "Keep Settings" checkbox.

Submitting Bug Reports

Please submit all issues to

Developer Only Information

The AREDN firmware is based on OpenWrt with additional packages and patches. A Makefile automates the entire process to create firmware images.

Building with Docker

Installing the Docker environment on your windows/linux/mac machine is a pre-requisite. A docker 'container' has been pre-configured with an aredn linux build environment. Alternative instructions are below if you wish to setup your linux install with the compiler pre-requisites necessary to do the build.

To build with docker:

docker pull arednmesh/builder
docker run -it --name builder arednmesh/builder

To pull an image (or any other file) out of the docker container:

docker cp builder:/opt/aredn/aredn_ar71xx/firmware/targets/ar71xx/generic/<image>.bin <local directory>

Build Prerequisites

Please take a look at the OpenWrt documentation for a complete and up to date list of packages for your operating system.

On Ubuntu/Debian:

apt-get install git subversion build-essential libncurses5-dev \
  zlib1g-dev gawk unzip libxml-perl flex wget gettext quilt \
  python libssl-dev shellcheck lua5.1

On openSUSE:

zypper install --type pattern devel_basis
zypper install git subversion ncurses-devel zlib-devel gawk unzip \
  perl-libxml-perl flex wget gettext-runtime quilt python \
  libopenssl-devel shellcheck lua51

On Arch:

pacman -S base-devel subversion zlib unzip perl-xml-libxml wget \
  quilt openssl shellcheck lua51 git

Building firmware images

To obtain the source and build the firmware locally use:

git clone
cd aredn_ar71xx
vi # enter your callsign, etc.
# build default legacy ar71xx target ubnt and tplink images
# build and add legacy ar71xx target mikrotik images
make SUBTARGET=mikrotik
# build and add ath79 target (latest linux kernel) ubnt, tplink, and gl images
make MAINTARGET=ath79

Building the images may take minutes or hours depending on the machine. For more details see build options.
Review the build options in -j <number of cores + 1>. V=s will give more verbose error messages.

An internet connection is required during the build process. A good internet connection can improve the build time.

You need approximately 10GB of space for the build.

How to build prior builds of AREDN

Prior AREDN images can be rebuilt. Replace one of the following after the "cd aredn_ar71xx" command above:

AREDN release

git checkout

AREDN release

git checkout

AREDN release

git checkout

AREDN release

git checkout

AREDN release

git checkout

AREDN release

git checkout

AREDN build 176

git checkout 91ee867

Return to most current changes

git checkout develop

Directory Layout

Included in the git Repo:    <- build settings   <- which openwrt repo and branch/tag/commit to use
feeds.conf/  <- custom package feeds (edit to point to your clone of aredn_packages)
files/       <- file system in AERDN created images, most customizations go here
patches/     <- patches to openwrt go here 
scripts/     <- tests and other scripts called from the build 
configs/     <- definitions of features in the devices' kernel and what packages to include
Makefile     <- the build definition    <- this file

Created by the build:
openwrt/     <- cloned openwrt repository
firmware/    <- the build will place the images here
results/     <- code checks and other test results in jUnit xml format

Patches with quilt

The patches directory contains quilt patches applied on top of the openwrt git repo defined in

If a patch is not yet included upstream, it can be placed in the patches directory with the quilt tool. Please configure quilt as described in OpenWrt Quilt.

Add, modify or delete a patch

Switch to the openwrt directory:

cd openwrt

Now you can use the quilt commands.

Example: add a patch
quilt push -a                 # apply all patches
quilt new 008-awesome.patch   # tell quilt to create a new patch
quilt edit somedir/somefile1  # edit files
quilt edit somedir/somefile2
quilt refresh                 # creates/updates the patch file

Submitting new features and patches to AREDN

The high level steps to submit to this repository are:

  1. create a github account and 'fork' this repo
  2. git commit a change into your fork, e.g.
  3. create a pull request for to consider your change