LibreRouter is an Open-Source Hardware Router for Community Networks

Battlemesh (aka the Wireless Battle of the Mesh) is an event that aims at bringing together people from across the world to test the performance of different routing protocols for ad-hoc networks. While BattleMesh v12 took place in Paris in July 2019, I’ve just been informed that presentation videos were now out.

There are talks about OpenWrt, mesh networks, and communities, but one talk brought a project I had not looked into details yet. Originated from Argentina, LibreRouter is described as an open-source hardware router designed for community networks that are organized by a group of people such as neighbors in order to share local and other content without a profit motive.

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LibreRouter LR1 specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Atheros QCA9558 MIPS processor @ 750 MHz
  • System Memory – 128 MB DDR RAM
  • Storage – 16 MB Flash
  • MCU – Microchip ATTiny13 8-bitAVR MCU used as hardware watchdog to handle failed flashes or hardware failures
  • Networking
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports connected via QCA8337N Gigabit switch
    • On-chip 2.4Ghz 802.11bgn MIMO 2×2 Atheros radio
    • 2x mPCIe slots to connect WiFi radios or GSM cards
    • Optional GPS module
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0 internal connector
  • Expansion – GPIO pins
  • Debugging – 1x serial console header, JTAG
  • Power Supply – POE and POE Passthrough in the 12-36V input range for up to 16W of external power.

The board is comprised of a core board with the Qualcomm SoC, and MEGA board exposing the ports.

LibreRouter Board
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The core module appears to be made by Dragino (Core QCA9558 model), and is almost certainly not open-source hardware [update: the Gerber files and PDF schematics are available, see comments], but the MEGA board was designed MEGA board themselves with the hardware design files (EAGLE) available on Github, where you’ll also find repositories for LibreRouterOs operating system based on OpenWrt and LibreMesh, as well as a dashboard for LibreMesh networks among others.

The developers explain the standard LibreRouter setup will come with two mPCIe power-amplified 5 GHz 802.11an MIMO 2×2 Atheros radio based on the AR9582 chip because three radios perform much better for mesh networks. The project has been in the making for several years, and has been successfully tested around the world, but it should soon become available since it passed ENACOM certification in Argentina last September.

More details may also be found on the project website.

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip.

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5 Replies to “LibreRouter is an Open-Source Hardware Router for Community Networks”

  1. Fianlly!

    I hope that the core module can be bought without all the other stuff.
    I would love to make my own Atheros based AP.

    Right now I’m doing the same thing with the MT7628 on a custom designed board with a SOM.
    But its not the same….

    1. Hi! Core modules may be sold separately as this will help to have higher volumes and reduce price.
      Also I am interested to know more about your MediaTek development, are you doing as an open hardware project?
      If you want contact me (spiccinini en Altermundi net, or same name at twitter)

  2. “because three radios perform much better for mesh networks”

    No kidding. Wifi used to be half-duplex shared medium, so doing meshing on the same frequency meant you could not receive and transmit at the same time.

    This is what I explained at WBMv1, the first event in Paris in 2009:

    Babel has a “-z” option to make hoping over the same channel more costly.

    This is the basic stuff, but most wifi routing protocols still do not have it.

    Babel is still for example lacking support for 802.11ac radios, which uses more spectrum and channels.

  3. My best wish for open wireless mesh networking will be an new implementation of ipv6 to hardcoded GPS position of each nodes directly in ipv6 address of the mesh network :
    For each angle to next node around, we can make standard rules for band frequency usage to max the throuput and never have to nodes talking RX and TX on the same freq band in the same area.
    Implement timing slot for each users.
    after this dream come true, each users declare his service :
    – an gateway to the old internet over big public proxy
    – p2p hosting
    – chatting p2p
    – p2p voting system like real democracy

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