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The following instructions will help you set up an encrypted mesh network on Raspberry Pi's. It takes about 15 minutes to set up a node with the Pi 3. Obviously, to have a mesh you will need more than one node.

The software also supports Debian running on x86 and x64 boards, and many board that run Armbian (such as many models of Orange Pi hardware family). The same installation steps can be followed, except you would flash the SD card with Armbian instead of Raspbian or have Debian installed onto the computer. See Hardware Table for the full list of supported hardware and check for board specific installation details in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Set Up

  1. Make sure you have the following items:

  2. Flash the SD card with Raspbian Buster Lite.

  3. Create an empty file named ssh to enable SSH when the Pi boots:

    $ touch /path/to/sd/boot/ssh
  4. Plug the SD card and USB WiFi adapter into the Pi.

  5. Plug the Pi into your router so it has connectivity to the Internet. SSH into the Pi with ssh pi@raspberrypi.local and password raspberry.

    Optional: There are other ways to connect, such as connecting the Pi to your computer and sharing Internet to it. If you have multiple Pi's connected to your router, find their IPs with nmap -sn 192.168.X.0/24 (where 192.168.X is your subnet) and SSH to the local IP assigned to the Pi you want to address ssh pi@192.168.X.Y.

    Note: After the install the node will be renamed to tomesh-xxxx where xxxx is the last 4 characters of your CJDNS address. Before the reboot the node will notify you of what the name is.

  6. In your SSH session, run passwd and change your login password. It is very important to choose a strong password so others cannot remotely access your Pi.

  7. Run the following, then let the installation complete. After about 5 minutes the Pi will reboot:

    $ wget && chmod +x install && ./install


During the installation, you may be able to pick a profile, or choose between many modules. To learn what each module is for, look at This is important for the installation.

There is also the contrib folder for software that has been contributed to the project, but which might not actually be maintained by the core developers.

Check Status

  1. Give the Pi about 15 seconds to reboot and SSH back into it. You should find the status of your mesh node automatically printed. You can also print this anytime by running status.

  2. Verify that cjdns Service is active, and Mesh Interface (if applicable). The NODE section should display a single IPv6 address, that's the identity of your Pi in the cjdns mesh. The PEERS section should indicate a list of IPv6 addresses that are active peers to your node. This list will be empty, until you have another nearby node with the same set up.

Network Benchmark

You can benchmark the network throughput with more than one node. Let's name our two Pi's Hillary and Friend.

  1. SSH to Friend and note its IPv6.

  2. Run iperf3 -s to start listening. Do not end the SSH session.

  3. In another Terminal session, SSH to Hillary and run iperf3 -c FRIEND_IPV6. You should start seeing Hillary sending encrypted packets to her Friend. See phillymesh/cjdns-optimizations for expected throughput.

Update & Uninstall

To uninstall the services, run ./prototype-cjdns-pi/scripts/uninstall.

If you are updating, run the same uninstall script, but keep all configuration files and data directories when prompted, remove the prototype-cjdns-pi directory along with the install script, then repeat the last installation step.

Experimental Support for Other Boards

We have added support for other single board computers such as the Orange Pi family of boards. So far all the boards that have been tested support Armbian and usualy our install script needs no modification to work. To use one of these boards start with the Armbian nightly images linked in the table below, then follow the same installation steps as the Raspberry Pi. Below is a table of boards we have tested and some metrics of what you can expect from the board.

Hardware Table

List of tested hardware:

Hardware Base OS CJDNS Benchmark (salsa20/poly1305, switching) iPerf3 USB Ethernet Notes
Genericx x86 Debian 9 Performance depended on underlying hardware.
Raspberry Pi 4B (2GB ram) Raspbian Lite 650k, 230k ~160 Mbps 4 10/100/1000 Onboard wifi dual band
Raspberry Pi 3b+ Raspbian Lite 405k, 119k ~90 Mbps 4 10/100/1000 Eth only ~320mbps. Onboard wifi dual band
Raspberry Pi 3b Raspbian Lite 350k, 100k 89 Mbps 4 10/100
Raspberry Pi 2b Raspbian Lite 145k, 55k 39 Mbps 4 10/100
Raspberry Pi 1a+ Raspbian Lite 35k, - ~9 Mbps 1 None
Raspberry Pi 1b+ Raspbian Lite 51k, 22k ~8 Mbps 2 10/100
Raspberry Pi Zero Raspbian Lite 68k, 30k ~9 Mbps 1* None *Need OTG Cable No FPV
Orange Pi Lite Armbian 160k, 74k 67 Mbps 2 None
Orange Pi One Armbian 160k, 74k 67 Mbps 1 10/100
Orange Pi Zero Armbian 160k, 74k 67 Mbps 1 (+2*) 10/100 *USB Headers
Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 Armbian 190k, 130K 80 Mbps 0 (+2*) None *USB Headers
NanoPi Neo 2 Armbian 160k, 95K 67 Mbps 1 (+2*) 10/100/1000 *USB Headers, Gigabit Eth
Rock64 Armbian 255k, 168K 94 Mbps 3 10/100/1000 1 USB 3.0, Gigabit Eth
Pine64 Armbian 227k, 151k 78 Mbps 2 10/100/1000 Gigabit Eth
ESPRESSObin Armbian 186k, 128K 73 Mbps 2 10/100/1000 1 USB 3.0, 3x Gigabit Eth, SATA, mPCIe. Use stable and apt-get upgrade after boot
MK802ii Debian 30k, 40k 25Mbps Android box. Single core. Onboard WiFi supports Mesh Point


You can install from a specific tag or branch, such as develop, with:

$ wget && chmod +x install && TAG_PROTOTYPE_CJDNS_PI=develop ./install

If you are developing on a forked repository, such as me/prototype-cjdns-pi, then:

$ wget && chmod +x install && GIT_PROTOTYPE_CJDNS_PI="" TAG_PROTOTYPE_CJDNS_PI=develop ./install

To add a new module, use scripts/ipfs/ as an example to:

  • Create a WITH_NEW_MODULE tag
  • Create scripts/new-module/install and scripts/new-module/uninstall
  • Make corresponding references in the main install, install2, status, uninstall files


  • We keep a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Feel free to add to this list with the issues you experienced on your boards.

  • We have a Troubleshooting doc with information to point you in the right direction of some common problems.

  • Your computer can be a node too! It will mesh with the Pi's over your router. See the cjdns repository on how to set this up. You can now also install this prototype stack on debian/ubuntu PC hardware. This includes a Virtual Machine.

  • Original plan for this repository and early benchmark results are available in the doc folder.