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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.

Many board that run Armbian such as many models of Orange Pi hardware are also supported. The same installation steps can be followed, except you would flash the SD card with Armbian instead of Raspbian. 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 Stretch 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

    The installation script can also install many optional features such as distributed applications and network analysis tools that are useful but non-essential to run a node. You can use flags to selectively enable them, or use the following command to install all optional features:


Optional Features

Feature Flag HTTP Service Port Description
WITH_MESH_POINT None Set to true if you have a suitable USB WiFi adapter and want to configure it as a 802.11s Mesh Point interface.
WITH_AD_HOC None Set to true if you have a suitable USB WiFi adapter and want to configure it as a IBSS Ad-hoc interface.
WITH_WIFI_AP None Set to true if you have a Raspberry Pi 3 and want to configure the on-board WiFi as an Access Point. The default configuration routes all traffic to the Ethernet port eth0.
WITH_FIREWALL None Set to true if you want to enable a basic firewall on your node.
WITH_CJDNS_IPTUNNEL None Set to true if you want to use the cjdns iptunnel feature to set up an Internet gateway for your node. To configure as a server (exit Internet traffic for other nodes), create /etc/cjdns.iptunnel.server containing a newline-separated list of cjdns public keys of allowed clients. To configure as a client (use an exit server to access the Internet), create /etc/cjdns.iptunnel.client containing a newline-separated list of cjdns public keys of the gateway servers. You can only configure as one or the other, not both.
WITH_IPFS 80: HTTP-to-IPFS gateway at /ipfs/HASH Set to true if you want to install IPFS.
WITH_PROMETHEUS_NODE_EXPORTER 9100: Node Exporter UI Set to true if you want to install Prometheus Node Exporter to report network metrics.
WITH_PROMETHEUS_SERVER 9090: Prometheus Server UI Set to true if you want to install Prometheus Server to collect network metrics. Requires Prometheus Node Exporter.
WITH_GRAFANA 3000: Grafana UI (login: admin/admin) Set to true if you want to install Grafana to display network metrics. Requires Prometheus Server.
WITH_H_DNS None Set to true if you want to use Hyperboria-compatible DNS servers: fc4d:c8e5:9efe:9ac2:8e72:fcf7:6ce8:39dc, fc6e:691e:dfaa:b992:a10a:7b49:5a1a:5e09, and fc16:b44c:2bf9:467:8098:51c6:5849:7b4f
WITH_H_NTP None Set to true if you want to use a Hyperboria-compatible NTP server: fc4d:c8e5:9efe:9ac2:8e72:fcf7:6ce8:39dc
WITH_EXTRA_TOOLS None Set to true if you want to install non-essential tools useful for network analysis: vim socat oping bmon iperf3
WITH_WATCHDOG None Set to true if you want to enable hardware watchdog that will reset the device when the operating system becomes unresponsive.

If you are connected to the WiFi Access Point, all HTTP services are available via as well as the cjdns IPv6. To connect with the cjdns address, first note your node’s fc00::/8 address from status, then navigate to http://[fcaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:0000:1111:2222]:PORT from your browser.

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
Raspberry Pi 3b+ Raspbian Lite 405k, 119k ~90 Mbps 2 10/100/1000 Eth only 320mbps. Cjdns speed unstable. Dual band
Raspberry Pi 3b Raspbian Lite 350k, 100k 89 Mbps 2 10/100  
Raspberry Pi 2 Raspbian Lite 145k, 55k 39 Mbps 2 10/100  
Raspberry Pi 1 A+ Raspbian Lite 35k, - ~9 Mbps 1 None  
Raspberry Pi 1 B+ Raspbian Lite 51k, 22k ~9 Mbps 2 10/100  
Raspberry Pi Zero Raspbian Lite 68k, 30k ~9 Mbps 1* None *Need OTG Cable No FPV
Orange Pi Lite Armbian Nightly 160k, 74k 67 Mbps 2 None  
Orange Pi One Armbian Nightly 160k, 74k 67 Mbps 1 10/100  
Orange Pi Zero Armbian Nightly 160k, 74k 67 Mbps 1 (+2*) 10/100 *USB Headers
Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 Armbian Nightly 190k, 130K 80 Mbps 0 (+2*) None *USB Headers
NanoPi Neo 2 Armbian Nightly 160k, 95K 67 Mbps 1 (+2*) 10/100/1000 *USB Headers, Gigabit Eth
Rock64 Armbian Nightly 255k, 168K 94 Mbps 3 10/100/1000 1 USB 3.0, 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


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.

  • 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.

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