Node Status Display
Once you have completed the initial setup on your AREDN® node, you can connect your computer to the LAN port on the PoE and navigate to the following URL:
http://localnode.local.mesh. You will be redirected to the Node Status page as shown below.
Below the node name bar there are several controls.
- Opens a new window or tab to display the node help page.
- Updates the Node Status page with current data.
- Mesh Status
- Opens the Mesh Status page showing the neighbor nodes and remote nodes visible on the mesh network, as well as what services are being provided by those nodes.
- Neighbor Status
- If you have Link Quality Manager (LQM) enabled, you will also see a button which takes you to the Neighbor Status display. LQM is enabled/disabled from the Advanced Configuration page, and the settings for LQM are described in the Configuration Deep Dive section. The basic settings for Link Quality Manager are described below. The theory behind its operation is discussed in the AREDN® Link Quality Manager section of the How-To Guide.
- WiFi Scan
- Displays a list of other 802.11 signals within range of your node. The 802.11 signals may include Access Points, neighbor nodes, and other mesh networks (foreign ad-hoc networks). WiFi Scan is described in more detail below.
- Navigates to the Setup pages for your node. You will need to supply a username and password to access those pages. The username is always
root, while the password is the one you set during initial node setup. If the node has not yet been configured, the password is
- Select Theme
- AREDN® firmware has several built-in display themes. The default
aredntheme has a gray background with black and red text. The
black_on_whitetheme is often chosen because it provides the best screen contrast on a computer exposed to direct sunlight.
red_on_blackis much better suited for nighttime use since it helps preserve night vision.
Node Settings Summary
The area under the control buttons shows both configuration and network status information. The left column contains the IP address and gateway details for the network interfaces on this node, as well as the SSID, channel, and channel width settings if Mesh RF is enabled. If WAN Wifi Client is enabled it will also show the SSID and signal strength to the connected Access Point. If LAN AP is enabled then the LAN AP SSID will also be displayed.
The right column contains the Signal Strength readings and other attributes of your node. The signal / noise / ratio shows the strongest neighbor signal strength in dBm from all connected stations, and it is available only when the node is connected to a neighbor node via RF. Click these links for further information about Signal to Noise Ratio and values measured in decibels. There are many factors that impact the network throughput you can expect to achieve, but as a general rule the higher the Signal-to-Noise ratio the better the throughput for your RF links.
Below the Signal Strength readings are the node’s firmware version and hardware model. The system time is displayed, as well as the uptime, which is the time since the last reboot. If an Internet connection or a local NTP server is available, your node’s NTP client will sync its time with that time source.
The load average is the average number of processes that have been running on the node for the last 1, 5, and 15 minutes. available space tells you how much storage space is remaining on your node. flash is the internal non-volatile storage where the operating system, configuration files, and software packages are kept. memory is the amount of RAM available for running processes on the node. host entries shows the total number of devices seen on the network, and the total includes the AREDN® nodes as well as any other networked devices such as computers, VoIP phones, PBX devices, cameras, and other hosts.
There is a Charts button next to the node’s Signal Strength display, and clicking this button takes you to Signal Charts. This page shows RF signal information in both a realtime and an archived view. The default view shows the average signal of all connected stations in realtime.
At the top of the charts display there are several control buttons.
- This button shows the charts for any archived signal data on this node. Statistics are stored on the node in a circular buffer which holds about two days of data.
- This button shows the charts for current signal data as seen from this node.
- This button exits the charts view and takes you back to the Node Status page.
Below these controls you can choose to view the signal strength statistics for individual nodes that are directly connected to your node. Choose the neighbor node from the Selected Device dropdown list. Changing the selected device will automatically reload the chart to show that node’s information.
Hovering over data points within a chart will show additional information for each data point, including Time, Signal, Noise, SNR, TX Rate, TX MCS, RX Rate, and RX MCS. If no traffic is being routed to the neighbor, the Rate and MCS values may be zero until data is available. An MCS value of zero may indicate non-802.11n encoding schemes (ie. 802.11a/b/g).
The small icon with three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the chart allows you to download a snapshot of the chart to a graphic file on your local computer (jpeg or png).
Data shown in the Archive charts is not stored in permanent memory on the node. The node will store approximately two days of archived data, and all data is cleared when a node is rebooted.
If you click and drag your mouse across a region of the chart, the display will zoom into that selected area. This allows you to view data points for a specific time range of your choice. While zoomed, two additional icons will appear in the upper right of the chart. The Pan icon allows you to scroll and pan the zoomed portion of the chart. The Reset icon returns the chart to its normal display mode.
On the left of the Realtime Graph there is an SNR Sound control. Clicking the On button will cause your computer to emit a tone that corresponds to the relative SNR level, with higher pitch tones indicating better SNR. This feature was added in order to provide an audio queue to operators in the process of aligning directional antennas. When your antenna reaches a position at which the highest pitch tone is heard you can lock it down without having to look at the signal graph display, knowing that you are receiving the best signal available. You can also adjust the tone pitch and volume with the sliders on the sound control.
LQM Neighbor Status
If you enabled Link Quality Manager (LQM), the Neighbor Status button will be visible and you can click it to navigate to the LQM Neighbor Status display.
Neighbor Status displays a table of neighbor nodes, their link quality metrics, and any actions Link Quality Manager has taken to improve the communication between nodes.
- The remote neighbor node name with a clickable link to open that node’s Status display.
- The type of link your node has with each remote node. Valid link types are
RFfor a radio link,
DtDfor a direct device-to-device connection,
Xlinkfor a connection over cross-linked devices, and
Tunnelfor a tunnel link.
- The Signal-to-Noise ratio in dB for both sides of any radio links (local SNR / remote SNR).
The calculated distance between your node and each remote node. This calculation is based on the GPS coordinates (Lat/Lon) that were entered on each node.
If no GPS coordinates were entered, then the distance cannot be calculated and that metric will not be considered in the LQM improvement process.
The Link Quality expressed as a percent. This is calculated as the moving average of (total sent packets) divided by (total sent packets plus retransmissions). For example, if the node had to send every packet twice for it to be successfully received, the link quality would be 50%. Be aware that the LQ/NLQ metrics on the Mesh Status display are calculated differently, so there may not be a perfect alignment when comparing the two quality metrics.
An additional penalty is subtracted from Link Quality if the neighbor node is unpingable, which is explained in the Advanced Configuration section under “Ping Penalty”.
The current status of each radio link. Valid status identifiers include:
- pending: LQM is collecting data and evaluating the link.
- active: LQM determined that the link is viable and can be used.
- blocked: LQM determined that the link is unusable and has blocked it from use.
- blocked - distance: LQM determined that the remote node is either too close or too distant, based on the Min and Max Distance settings described in the Advanced Configuration section.
- blocked - signal: LQM determined that the SNR on the link is too low to reliably pass data, based on the Min SNR setting described in the Advanced Configuration section.
- blocked - retries: LQM determined that the retransmission rate is too high to reliably pass data.
- blocked - latency: LQM determined that the link latency is too high to reliably pass data.
- blocked - dtd: LQM blocks the RF interface on any nodes to which a DtD link also exists.
- blocked - dup: LQM blocks a link in cases when your node has an RF link to other nodes which themselves connect to each other via DtD. This can occur when there are multiple radios at a site using the same channel. The best remote node is chosen as the RF link for your node but the other possible RF connections are blocked as duplicates.
- blocked - user: LQM will block any node which you enter in the User Blocked Nodes field described in the Advanced Configuration section.
- hidden: LQM will display nodes that are out of range of your node but which are able to access a common intermediary node.
- exposed: LQM will display nodes that can reach other nodes which are hidden from your node.
- idle: LQM has determined that the link is usable and would be active but the node routing table does not yet have a route for sending traffic across the link.
- disconnected: This RF Neighbor is no longer online.
The Neighbor Status table will be refreshed automatically every minute as LQM evaluates your node’s radio links on an ongoing basis. Links whose quality has improved may be activated, while links whose quality has worsened may be blocked. If an existing node link goes offline, it will age out of the list within about an hour. To refresh the neighbor list on demand you can click the Refresh button. If you want to return to the Node Status display, click the Quit button.
WiFi Scan initiates a passive scan for wifi signals that are within range, but it only reports devices on the same channel width as your node. When installing a node at a new location it is best practice to scan on 5, 10, and 20 MHz channel widths to find all other 802.11 signals in range. This information will help you to pick a channel clear of interference. Several scans may be necessary to find all devices in range. When multiple ad-hoc networks are visible (using different SSIDs or channels), the ID of each 802.11 network is displayed but not the individual nodes.
A passive scan does not transmit probes, so there is no risk that unintended transmissions will interfere with radar stations on DFS channels. Automatic scan mode is available, but running a scan continuously is not recommended if the node is actively routing traffic. The auto-scan is passive and only listens for other beacons across all channels, but there is a risk of data loss on the assigned channel.
Once the scan has finished, you can click the Refresh button to start a new scan. If you want your node to rescan continually you can click the Auto button. Click Quit to return to the Node Status display.
AREDN® Alert Messages
The AREDN® development team has the ability to post messages which Internet-connected nodes will automatically retrieve once every 12 hours by default. There are three types of messages: broadcast messages intended for all nodes, group messages selected by labels in advanced settings and directed messages which are only retrieved by individual nodes. Messages are displayed in a yellow banner on a node’s webpages above the node name. Be aware that there is no guarantee of privacy for these messages, since anyone can view the message repository online.
Mesh nodes without Internet access also have the ability to display Local Alerts. The process for setting up a local message repository is described in the Configuration Deep Dive section. If a node has Internet access as well as local messages, then both types of messages will be displayed in the AREDN® alerts banner as shown in the example above.