Meshtastic

Can lora nodes be put into stationary/repeater mode like gotennas can?

I’m looking at getting some t beams, and I’m wondering if they can be used as repeaters like the gotennas can. Like, for example, could I keep several extra ones in my pack and leave them like a breadcrumb trail to extend range?

If so, how many “hops” can meshtastic do?

No dedicated mode yet, but it has been talked about a lot.

I think the code is currently set to 3 hops.

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So does each node need a phone then? Is there any way to make that breadcrumb trail concept workable without carrying a bunch of extra phones?

@okie , no a node can work independent without the need to be paired to a phone

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Just a note that T Beams from Aliexpress are taking about 5-8 weeks for shipping at the moment.

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That’s okay, I’m used to ordering stuff from China. It teaches the art of patience lol.

Do you have to do anything special to make that happen? I’m not an IT ninja, so I just want to make sure that it doesn’t require doing anything with code or something like that.

I’m guessing you still have to pair the repeater nodes with your device to get them into your network? Or is it like gotenna where any node will repeat the encrypted message from any other node?

In other words, would I simply take the t beam and switch it on, and it’s automatically a repeater node without me having to do anything else to it?

In other words, would I simply take the t beam and switch it on, and it’s automatically a repeater node without me having to do anything else to it?

The device doesn’t need to be hooked to a phone to work as a repeater. Though yes, during the initial setup you’d want a phone. Because by default though when you turn on any node it is a repeater, they are all talking on the “Default” channel. You’d probably want to pick your own channel name but that is not required.

“Repeater mode” which mostly means "tweaking power management and routing behavior given that the user is saying “I want this to run a long time without a phone and I think it has pretty good line-of-sight over an area” is a high priority soonish (<1 mo?).

This will be formalized more in this issue:

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@geeksville

So I could just order a t beam, turn it on, and it will automatically act as a repeater for all lora users in range of it?

Are the messages still private? I had read that AES256 bit encryption was going to be implemented, but I didn’t understand if that has already happened or if that’s still something planned for the future.

The default settings do work out of the box, with the default PSK.

However, you should connect your nodes once to one of your phones, for changing your channel settings (channel name, speed/reach settings…). When you do that, the default PSK will also change, and your privacy will be better.

At this stage, you can’t set the PSK manually, and therefore you have to set the setting with the APPs share function (otherwise you end up with devices with the same channel name, but different PSKs).

Once you have set up the first device, share your settings with the app, and set the settings to all nodes. When ready, just put the nodes wherever you like, and they will automatically act as repeaters for your private mesh. :slightly_smiling_face:

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What does PSK stand for? Also what does APP stand for?

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Perfect questions - sorry for my lazy language!

PSK stands for Pre Shared Key (the password used in AES encryption). APP stands for application, and in this cases the Meshtastic application.

You can find more about repeaters on the main discussion thread: https://meshtastic.discourse.group/t/headless-base-station-repeater/

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Nah man it’s cool I’m just not all that tech savvy. I truly appreciate you folks taking the time to help me out.

So basically what you’re saying is that by sharing the encryption key with the repeater nodes, that’s going to make it more secure?

Would that prevent the repeater nodes from repeating messages from others who don’t have the encryption key?

I think the encryption key is used to encrypt all traffic on the mesh. So only nodes that have the encryption key for your mesh network participate in the network. A node will only forward messages for the mesh network it has joined and for which it has the encryption key.

Once you have created or joined a mesh network, the app will display a QR code which can be used to share the key and network info with other phones. There are other ways of sharing network info through a more standard android “share” icon but I haven’t played with them.

I think the sharing through a QR code might require internet access? (anybody know?)

It might be nice if at some point the ability to manually type in or display a key was added.

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More on relaying messages can be found here: https://meshtastic.discourse.group/t/how-do-multiple-mesh-networks-interact-if-at-all

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I’d love a “Repeater” Mode, a mode where there is no local BT connection, but you can sign an identity to the node. In my case I’ll use the Maidenhead Locator as the identity, that could be a good standard to use worldwide. For non-radio amateurs you can download an app that will give your locator. For example, mine in Petts Wood, Kent, UK is JO01aj

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It would definitely be nice to be able to send someone the key and have them be able to join your network without them having to be physically present.

Although I’m not sure if that’s possible or not. I don’t really know how AES256 works. I do know that with commercial radios, the encryption keys have to be loaded onto the radios. It’s not like a password you can just send someone.

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You can share the channel settings (including the PSK) by a) let someone scan the QR code, or by b) sending the link provided to you, by clicking the share option, with whatever messaging APP you prefer. Option b generates a link that will be opened directly in Meshtastic on your friends phone, for applying correctly all the settings needed.

In other words, thanks to @geeksville, the feature you asked for is already present. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Is there currently a way to share channel settings when you don’t have an internet connection?

I think the QR code works by sending you to a URL which provides the channel info. I think the other sharing methods also require internet.

It would be really cool if I could share channel settings while out in the woods away from internet just using the android app. I think it could be done if I had a laptop w/ the python api, but that is not ideal.

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You can share the channel settings through any of the Android sharing mechanisms (one of the reasons we use a mock URL to store them). So you can either hold the QR code up to a camera, or share it via Bluetooth ('airdrop’ish) or NFC sharing.

So internet not required.

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