Load-correlated distributed bandwidth analysis for LibreMesh networks – #2: Setting up the LibreMesh test network

In order to use the latest version of everything, I merged the latest commits from the LibreMesh community into my forked lime-packages repository.

To set up the test network was more complex than expected.
I managed to collect a very disperse set of routers: 8 routers of 6 different producers and 7 different models.
Two of these are officially supported by LibreMesh (TP-Link TL-WDR3600, Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M2) and the others which are supported by OpenWrt but not by LibreMesh (Comtrend AR-5387un, Huawei HG556a-C, Observa VH4032N, Comtrend AR-5315u, Astoria ARV7519RW22-A-LT).

The non-LibreMesh-supported routers either cannot do multi-AP or mesh via IEEE802.11s, but this was not expected to be a problem as I took care to add the support to AP-client networks (no need for the routers to support IEEE802.11s mesh, only the last mentioned router does not have support for wifi at all).
My solution was based on BMX6 which seems will be dropped in the next LibreMesh release in favour of Babeld, and this will require an adaptation of the AP-client solution.

As mentioned in the previous post, I started compiling my LibreMesh firmware based on LibreRouter fork of OpenWrt 18.06 repository.
When I flashed my routers and configured the wireless interfaces for using AP or client rather than the default AP+AP+IEEE802.11s, most of them were showing strongly erratic behaviours.

So I decided to flash the routers with plain OpenWrt 18.06.2 without using LibreRouter fork and to install all LibreMesh packages via opkg.
In order to ensure that the compiled packages will be compatible with OpenWrt 18.06.2 release, the LibreMesh packages were compiled in my local buildroot of OpenWrt branch openwrt-18.06.
Then the openwrt/bin/ directory was served via HTTP from my local machine.
In order to have the routers accept my local repositories I had to install usign, create a key pair, sign the Packages file, push the public key to the routers and add the directions of the local repositories to /etc/opkg/customfeeds.conf
So for example, the customfeeds.conf file of the Observa VH4032N router will look like:

src/gz local_base http://192.168.1.3/packages/mips_mips32/base
src/gz local_libremap http://192.168.1.3/packages/mips_mips32/libremap
src/gz local_libremesh http://192.168.1.3/packages/mips_mips32/libremesh
src/gz local_luci http://192.168.1.3/packages/mips_mips32/luci
src/gz local_packages http://192.168.1.3/packages/mips_mips32/packages
src/gz local_routing http://192.168.1.3/packages/mips_mips32/routing
src/gz local_brcm63xx_smp http://192.168.1.3/targets/brcm63xx/smp/packages

Once completely configured, the network structure planned is represented in black in the following scheme.

Planned test network structure.

In order to better test the on a proper mesh, I ordered 3 additional routers fully supported by LibreMesh: YouHua WR1200JS (see here and here) from here.
They come with OpenWrt pre-installed and they fully support multi-AP + IEEE802.11s.
Once I will receive these two additional routers I will be able to add the mesh part of the test network as indicated in the scheme in red.

Regarding the load analysis of the network, the first approach will be to obtain this value from the number of clients currently connected to the network.
This number will be obtained in at least the following ways:

batadv-vis -f jsondoc | sort -u | wc -l

ip neigh show nud reachable | wc -l

In the meanwhile, a minor enhancement has been suggested and two others were accepted.

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