Getting Started With the SECN MP02 WiFi Router
The MP02 is a 2.4GHz WiFi router based on the Atheros AR9331 chipset and running SECN (Small Enterprise Campus Network) firmware based on OpenWrt (openwrt.org), with mesh networking provided by batman-adv (openmesh.org) and telephony provided by Asterisk (asterisk.org).
It has two Ethernet ports and a USB port, and is powered from a nominal 12 Volt power supply with a power consumption of 1 Watt.
The MP02 can be configured to operate in many different ways, from a simple WiFi Access Point to a mesh node providing a telephony network for softphone equipped devices.
The MP02 consists of the following key network components:
- A router, which has a LAN side and a WAN side, with Network Address Translation (NAT) and firewall in between.
- A LAN Ethernet port which is connected to the LAN side of the router.
- A WAN/LAN Ethernet port which may be connected to either the LAN or WAN side of the router.
- A Wifi Access Point (AP) which is connected to the LAN side of the router.
- A WiFi Mesh interface which may be connected to either the LAN or WAN side of the router.
- A WiFi Client interface which may be connected to the WAN side of the Router.
- A USB Modem interface which may be connected to the WAN side of the router.
In general only one interface may be activated on the WAN side of the router at any time.
On the LAN side, the WiFi Access Point, the LAN Ethernet port, and the mesh interface may all be active at the same time.
This allows a collection of devices to form a mesh network with each node connected to all the other nodes at Network Layer 2. The connection between one node and another may be direct if they are within WiFi range, or indirect via an intermediate node.
Each node then provides connectivity to local devices (such as PCs) via Ethernet or WiFi. A device attached to one node in the mesh is effectively connected to other devices attached to other nodes as if they were all connected to a network switch.
The mesh operates at Layer 2, so it can carry traffic for many networks operating at Layer 3. This means, for example, that you can have multiple IPv4 subnets (address ranges) operating over the mesh.
When set to the Factory Default settings, the SECN MP02 is configured with the WiFi AP and LAN Ethernet port enabled on the LAN side, and assigned an IP address of 10.130.1.20.
The WAN side has no active interface enabled. The WiFi mesh is enabled.
To access the web based configuration interface, you will need to configure a static IP address on your PC in the same IP subnet at the MP02 (e.g. 10.130.1.11), and point your browser to the MP02 default address (10.130.1.20) where you will see the Basic configuration web page.
Setting the IP Address
In order to be able to access the configuration interface of individual nodes on the mesh, it is important to assign a unique IP address to each MP02. Edit the IP address e.g change the last octet from .20 to .101 on the first node, .102 on the second and so on. Then click on the Save button and wait for the page to refresh and show the new IP address.
At this point the change has been saved, ready to used at the next restart of the device.
Restart the device either by clicking on the Reboot button or by switching the power supply off and back on again.
When the device starts up again it will be operating at the new IP address.
Repeat this process for each device in turn to assign them individual IP addresses.
Note that you should not have more than one device running with the default configuration (10.130.1.20) at any time, as they will automatically mesh and you will not be able to determine which device you are configuring.
Once you have set up two devices with their new IP addresses and they are both operating, they will automatically form a mesh network.
This means that if you connect a PC (with a static IP address in the correct IP subnet e.g 10.130.1.11) to one node, you will be able to access the web interface of both nodes at their respective IP addresses.
Similarly, if you connect a second PC (e.g. set to 10.130.1.12) to the other node, you will be able to ping one PC from the other.
The mesh operates at network Layer 2, and so is independent of the IP address used by attached devices, because the IP address is a Layer 3 configuration.
You only need to use the same IP address range as the nodes (10.130.1.x) on your PC if you want to be able to access their administrative interface via ssh or web browser.
You can connect devices to each other via the mesh nodes using any valid IP addresses. You can think of the mesh as a network switch, with each node acting as a port on the switch, with connections via either Ethernet or WiFi.
Example Mesh with Modem-Router
A good example of using the mesh to connect different devices is to provide access to a modem-router connected to the Internet from devices connected to the mesh nodes.
To set this up, connect the LAN Ethernet port of the modem-router to the LAN Ethernet port of one of the mesh nodes.
If you now connect a PC (with its Ethernet port set to obtain an IP address by DHCP) to the LAN Ethernet port of another mesh node, it will communicate with the modem-router and obtain its IP address.
It will then be able to access the Internet, just as if it was plugged directly into the modem-router.
Similarly, if you connect your PC to a mesh node via WiFi (using the SSID and Passphrase of the mesh node Access Point) it will connect to the modem-router and be able to access the Internet.
If you assign the same SSID and Passphrase to all Access Points on mesh nodes, then your PC will be able to connect to any of the nodes, and will typically be able to roam around the area covered by the mesh, connecting to the best available signal.
Using MP02-Phone Devices
If you are using MP02-Phone devices as nodes in your mesh you will be able to make calls between them once the mesh is running and you have assigned unique addresses to the nodes.
To call the phone attached to a particular MP02-Phone mesh node, simply dial the last octet of the IP address of that node.
For example if you have nodes set up with IP addresses of 10.130.1.101 and 10.130.1.102, to make a call to the device at 10.130.1.102, simply dial "102".