HOW TO: QMP + OpenWRT

So I decided to use Ubiquiti NanoStation M5’s for the first version of the Othernet.  This decision was pretty easy to make because I was able to get two of them for free.  These NanoStations have multiple antennas, allowing them to both function as access points and nodes in the mesh network.

To set up a mesh network I had to jump through a lot of hoops and make a bunch of mistakes.  The first step is finding the correct firmware and installing it.  After talking to a few people, including folks at NYCMesh I decided that using a distribution of OpenWRT with QMP ( quick meshing protocol ) was the correct route.  Quick note: The FCC recently has stopped allowing individuals from changing the firmware on a router.  To get around this you need to downgrade Ubiquiti stock firmware.  See below:

  •  Downgrade from AirOS 5.6 to 5.5
    • DOWNLOAD THIS: http://dl.ubnt.com/firmwares/XW-fw/v5.5.10/XW.v5.5.10-u2.28005.150723.1358.bin
    • Plug an ethernet cable from POE on the power adapter to “main” on the NSM5
    • Plug from LAN on the adapter to your computer
    • Turn off Wi-Fi on your computer
    • Connect by ethernet using DHCP with manual address e.g. 192.168.1.11
    • Go to 192.168.1.20 in your browser
    • On the tabbed panel select “System”
    • Click “Upload Firmware: Choose File”
    • Select the AirOS file
    • Click “Upload”
  • Install QMP
    • To get the binary files ready to install to your device just go to for QMP: http://fw.qmp.cat/stable/
    • Quick note on choosing the correct QMP Firmware.
      • This shit gave me trouble, mostly because the qmp.cat firmware download files all look the same.  But newer Ubiquiti’s need a new firmware file designed for XW devices.  You will either need the XW or XM file depending on your router.  Don’t confuse them, or not pay attention to the file extensions. Also…you can easily identify if your airMax M product uses XW or XM platform looking at the Firmware Version in your device’s System pag
    • Go to 192.168.1.20, login and select “System” again
    • Click “Upload Firmware: Choose File”
    • Select the QMP factory image you downloaded.
    • Click “Upload”
    • You will get a “third-party” warning. Ignore this and click “Update”

Using the OPENWRT/QMP

Once the firmware is installed you can access the device the following ways:

  • eth0: LAN, IP address 172.30.22.1, DHCP server enabled
  • eth1: WAN, IP address obtained via DHCP client (to connect it to an Internet uplink)
  • wlan1: LAN (AP), IP address 172.30.22.1, DHCP server enabled

All this means is that if you are connected to it via an ethernet cable you can access the web portal or ssh into it via 172.30.22.1.  You may have to reconfigure your network interface to assign yourself and IP that is able to ping the router aka 172.30.22.20

Anyways, after some fiddling and some googling, I was able to get two routers to mesh, and to direct packets from one access point to another. heres a graphic of what i did that makes no sense.