script to setup a batman-advanced network with systemd-networkd
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README.md

naxalnet

naxalnet is an experiment to create a wireless mesh network for communicating with each other during an internet shutdown, using existing software and tech as much as possible. Currently you can only communicate with other peers running naxalnet or using the same network as naxalnet. It uses B.A.T.M.A.N. Advanced, an implementation of the B.A.T.M.A.N. routing protocol to communicate with peers.

The name naxal comes from Naxalbari, a village in Darjeeling, West Bengal.

Requirements

  • systemd{,-networkd} v248 or more (for batman support)
  • Linux kernel with batman-adv module (if modinfo batman-adv shows no error then you already have it)
  • iwd (for starting ad-hoc network)
  • python3
  • python-dasbus
  • wifi adapter with ad-hoc support
  • two or more computers with wifi adapter, called nodes
  • systemd-resolved (optional, for DNS)
  • batctl (optional, for debugging)

Installing

Arch Linux

Install naxalnet-git from the AUR with your favourite helper:

yay -S naxalnet-git

Optionally, setup systemd-resolved for DNS if any of the nodes have internet access.

Manually

Clone the repo and cd into it.

git clone https://git.disroot.org/pranav/naxalnet.git
cd naxalnet

Run sudo make install to install naxalnet. This will install naxalnet in /usr/bin/naxalnet.

After installing, reload systemd so that you can enable naxalnet.service without rebooting:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

How to use

You need more than one computer running for the connection to work.

Communicate between peers

Connect a wifi adapter to all the computers you intend to run naxalnet. Start the naxalnet service on all of them:

sudo systemctl start naxalnet.service

To test if it works, run ip addr to find out your address. Note the inet or inet6 address of bridge0. Ping the address from another computer (example: ping 169.254.62.90) to find out if it is online. Press Ctrl-C to stop.

Getting internet access

Connect an ethernet to any of the peers and start naxalnet. Now all the peers should be able to connect after renewing their DHCP connection (sudo networkctl renew bridge0).

Tethering via WiFi AP

Connect two wifi adapters on a device and start naxalnet. Now an ap will be created on one of the adapters with SSID NaxalNet and password naxalnet256. If you had set up internet access on one of the peers, internet can be accessed from the AP.

Running at boot

Starting the service will stop NetworkManager.service and wpa_supplicant.service if it is running. If you start either of these services after naxalnet is started, systemd will stop naxalnet.

To run naxalnet at boot, enable the service:

sudo systemctl enable naxalnet.service

Now naxalnet will configure a batman interface on every boot. Disable the service to stop running at boot:

sudo systemctl disable naxalnet.service

Stopping the service

# Stop the services
sudo systemctl stop naxalnet systemd-networkd systemd-resolved iwd
# Delete the virtual interfaces created by naxalnet
sudo networkctl delete bat0 bridge0

If your distribution uses NetworkManager, starting naxalnet.service will have stopped it. Start NetworkManager again:

sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service

How it works

The program naxalnet copies some systemd-networkd configuration files into networkd's runtime configuration directory. It uses iwd to start an ad-hoc network named "HelloWorld". See the systemd-networkd directory to see how systemd-networkd configures the network. You can use services like IPFS, Jami, Secure Scuttlebutt and others which can work on an intranet.

Uninstalling

If you installed naxalnet manually, there is now way to uninstall than manually removing the files:

sudo rm -rf /usr/{bin,share}/naxalnet \
/usr/lib/systemd/system/naxalnet.service

Similar projects

The following projects are similar to naxalnet, but are not designed to be used in a laptop or computer with wifi adapter. If you live in an area where the materials required for any of them are easily available, consider using them instead of naxalnet.

License

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

See LICENSE for the complete version of the license.

This project is in alpha stage. Documentation is incomplete.