Using Reticulum on Your System#

Reticulum is not installed as a driver or kernel module, as one might expect of a networking stack. Instead, Reticulum is distributed as a Python module, containing the networking core, and a set of utility and daemon programs.

This means that no special privileges are required to install or use it. It is also very light-weight, and easy to transfer to, and install on new systems.

When you have Reticulum installed, any program or application that uses Reticulum will automatically load and initialise Reticulum when it starts, if it is not already running.

In many cases, this approach is sufficient. When any program needs to use Reticulum, it is loaded, initialised, interfaces are brought up, and the program can now communicate over any Reticulum networks available. If another program starts up and also wants access to the same Reticulum network, the already running instance is simply shared. This works for any number of programs running concurrently, and is very easy to use, but depending on your use case, there are other options.

Configuration & Data#

Reticulum stores all information that it needs to function in a single file-system directory. When Reticulum is started, it will look for a valid configuration directory in the following places:

  • /etc/reticulum

  • ~/.config/reticulum

  • ~/.reticulum

If no existing configuration directory is found, the directory ~/.reticulum is created, and the default configuration will be automatically created here. You can move it to one of the other locations if you wish.

It is also possible to use completely arbitrary configuration directories by specifying the relevant command-line parameters when running Reticulum-based programs. You can also run multiple separate Reticulum instances on the same physical system, either in isolation from each other, or connected together.

In most cases, a single physical system will only need to run one Reticulum instance. This can either be launched at boot, as a system service, or simply be brought up when a program needs it. In either case, any number of programs running on the same system will automatically share the same Reticulum instance, if the configuration allows for it, which it does by default.

The entire configuration of Reticulum is found in the ~/.reticulum/config file. When Reticulum is first started on a new system, a basic, but fully functional configuration file is created. The default configuration looks like this:

# This is the default Reticulum config file.
# You should probably edit it to include any additional,
# interfaces and settings you might need.

# Only the most basic options are included in this default
# configuration. To see a more verbose, and much longer,
# configuration example, you can run the command:
# rnsd --exampleconfig


# If you enable Transport, your system will route traffic
# for other peers, pass announces and serve path requests.
# This should only be done for systems that are suited to
# act as transport nodes, ie. if they are stationary and
# always-on. This directive is optional and can be removed
# for brevity.

enable_transport = False

# By default, the first program to launch the Reticulum
# Network Stack will create a shared instance, that other
# programs can communicate with. Only the shared instance
# opens all the configured interfaces directly, and other
# local programs communicate with the shared instance over
# a local socket. This is completely transparent to the
# user, and should generally be turned on. This directive
# is optional and can be removed for brevity.

share_instance = Yes

# If you want to run multiple *different* shared instances
# on the same system, you will need to specify different
# shared instance ports for each. The defaults are given
# below, and again, these options can be left out if you
# don't need them.

shared_instance_port = 37428
instance_control_port = 37429

# You can configure Reticulum to panic and forcibly close
# if an unrecoverable interface error occurs, such as the
# hardware device for an interface disappearing. This is
# an optional directive, and can be left out for brevity.
# This behaviour is disabled by default.

panic_on_interface_error = No

# Valid log levels are 0 through 7:
#   0: Log only critical information
#   1: Log errors and lower log levels
#   2: Log warnings and lower log levels
#   3: Log notices and lower log levels
#   4: Log info and lower (this is the default)
#   5: Verbose logging
#   6: Debug logging
#   7: Extreme logging

loglevel = 4

# The interfaces section defines the physical and virtual
# interfaces Reticulum will use to communicate on. This
# section will contain examples for a variety of interface
# types. You can modify these or use them as a basis for
# your own config, or simply remove the unused ones.


  # This interface enables communication with other
  # link-local Reticulum nodes over UDP. It does not
  # need any functional IP infrastructure like routers
  # or DHCP servers, but will require that at least link-
  # local IPv6 is enabled in your operating system, which
  # should be enabled by default in almost any OS. See
  # the Reticulum Manual for more configuration options.

  [[Default Interface]]
    type = AutoInterface
    interface_enabled = True

If Reticulum infrastructure already exists locally, you probably don’t need to change anything, and you may already be connected to a wider network. If not, you will probably need to add relevant interfaces to the configuration, in order to communicate with other systems. It is a good idea to read the comments and explanations in the above default config. It will teach you the basic concepts you need to understand to configure your network. Once you have done that, take a look at the Interfaces chapter of this manual.

Included Utility Programs#

Reticulum includes a range of useful utilities, both for managing your Reticulum networks, and for carrying out common tasks over Reticulum networks, such as transferring files to remote systems, and executing commands and programs remotely.

If you often use Reticulum from several different programs, or simply want Reticulum to stay available all the time, for example if you are hosting a transport node, you might want to run Reticulum as a separate service that other programs, applications and services can utilise.

The rnsd Utility#

It is very easy to run Reticulum as a service. Simply run the included rnsd command. When rnsd is running, it will keep all configured interfaces open, handle transport if it is enabled, and allow any other programs to immediately utilise the Reticulum network it is configured for.

You can even run multiple instances of rnsd with different configurations on the same system.

# Install Reticulum
pip3 install rns

# Run rnsd
usage: rnsd [-h] [--config CONFIG] [-v] [-q] [--version]

Reticulum Network Stack Daemon

optional arguments:
  -h, --help       show this help message and exit
  --config CONFIG  path to alternative Reticulum config directory
  -v, --verbose
  -q, --quiet
  --version        show program's version number and exit

You can easily add rnsd as an always-on service by configuring a service.

The rnstatus Utility#

Using the rnstatus utility, you can view the status of configured Reticulum interfaces, similar to the ifconfig program.

# Run rnstatus

# Example output
Shared Instance[37428]
   Status  : Up
   Serving : 1 program
   Rate    : 1.00 Gbps
   Traffic : 83.13 KB↑
             86.10 KB↓

   Status  : Up
   Mode    : Full
   Rate    : 10.00 Mbps
   Peers   : 1 reachable
   Traffic : 63.23 KB↑
             80.17 KB↓

TCPInterface[RNS Testnet Dublin/]
   Status  : Up
   Mode    : Full
   Rate    : 10.00 Mbps
   Traffic : 187.27 KB↑
             74.17 KB↓

RNodeInterface[RNode UHF]
   Status  : Up
   Mode    : Access Point
   Rate    : 1.30 kbps
   Access  : 64-bit IFAC by <…e702c42ba8>
   Traffic : 8.49 KB↑
             9.23 KB↓

Reticulum Transport Instance <5245a8efe1788c6a1cd36144a270e13b> running
usage: rnstatus [-h] [--config CONFIG] [--version] [-a] [-v]

Reticulum Network Stack Status

optional arguments:
  -h, --help       show this help message and exit
  --config CONFIG  path to alternative Reticulum config directory
  --version        show program's version number and exit
  -a, --all        show all interfaces
  -v, --verbose

The rnpath Utility#

With the rnpath utility, you can look up and view paths for destinations on the Reticulum network.

# Run rnpath
rnpath c89b4da064bf66d280f0e4d8abfd9806

# Example output
Path found, destination <c89b4da064bf66d280f0e4d8abfd9806> is 4 hops away via <f53a1c4278e0726bb73fcc623d6ce763> on TCPInterface[Testnet/]
usage: rnpath [-h] [--config CONFIG] [--version] [-t] [-r] [-d] [-D] [-w seconds] [-v] [destination]

Reticulum Path Discovery Utility

positional arguments:
  destination           hexadecimal hash of the destination

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --config CONFIG       path to alternative Reticulum config directory
  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -t, --table           show all known paths
  -r, --rates           show announce rate info
  -d, --drop            remove the path to a destination
  -D, --drop-announces  drop all queued announces
  -w seconds            timeout before giving up
  -v, --verbose

The rnprobe Utility#

The rnprobe utility lets you probe a destination for connectivity, similar to the ping program. Please note that probes will only be answered if the specified destination is configured to send proofs for received packets. Many destinations will not have this option enabled, and will not be probable.

# Run rnprobe
rnprobe example_utilities.echo.request 2d03725b327348980d570f739a3a5708

# Example output
Sent 16 byte probe to <2d03725b327348980d570f739a3a5708>
Valid reply received from <2d03725b327348980d570f739a3a5708>
Round-trip time is 38.469 milliseconds over 2 hops
usage: rnprobe [-h] [--config CONFIG] [--version] [-v] [full_name] [destination_hash]

Reticulum Probe Utility

positional arguments:
  full_name         full destination name in dotted notation
  destination_hash  hexadecimal hash of the destination

optional arguments:
  -h, --help        show this help message and exit
  --config CONFIG   path to alternative Reticulum config directory
  --version         show program's version number and exit
  -v, --verbose

The rncp Utility#

The rncp utility is a simple file transfer tool. Using it, you can transfer files through Reticulum.

# Run rncp on the receiving system, specifying which identities
# are allowed to send files
rncp --receive -a 1726dbad538775b5bf9b0ea25a4079c8 -a c50cc4e4f7838b6c31f60ab9032cbc62

# From another system, copy a file to the receiving system
rncp ~/path/to/file.tgz 73cbd378bb0286ed11a707c13447bb1e

You can specify as many allowed senders as needed, or complete disable authentication.

usage: rncp [-h] [--config path] [-v] [-q] [-p] [-r] [-b] [-a allowed_hash] [-n] [-w seconds] [--version] [file] [destination]

Reticulum File Transfer Utility

positional arguments:
  file                  file to be transferred
  destination           hexadecimal hash of the receiver

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --config path         path to alternative Reticulum config directory
  -v, --verbose         increase verbosity
  -q, --quiet           decrease verbosity
  -p, --print-identity  print identity and destination info and exit
  -r, --receive         wait for incoming files
  -b, --no-announce     don't announce at program start
  -a allowed_hash       accept from this identity
  -n, --no-auth         accept files from anyone
  -w seconds            sender timeout before giving up
  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -v, --verbose

The rnx Utility#

The rnx utility is a basic remote command execution program. It allows you to execute commands on remote systems over Reticulum, and to view returned command output.

# Run rnx on the listening system, specifying which identities
# are allowed to execute commands
rnx --listen -a 941bed5e228775e5a8079fc38b1ccf3f -a 1b03013c25f1c2ca068a4f080b844a10

# From another system, run a command
rnx 7a55144adf826958a9529a3bcf08b149 "cat /proc/cpuinfo"

# Or enter the interactive mode pseudo-shell
rnx 7a55144adf826958a9529a3bcf08b149 -x

# The default identity file is stored in
# ~/.reticulum/identities/rnx, but you can use
# another one, which will be created if it does
# not already exist
rnx 7a55144adf826958a9529a3bcf08b149 -i /path/to/identity -x

You can specify as many allowed senders as needed, or completely disable authentication.

usage: rnx [-h] [--config path] [-v] [-q] [-p] [-l] [-i identity] [-x] [-b] [-a allowed_hash] [-n] [-N] [-d] [-m] [-w seconds] [-W seconds] [--stdin STDIN] [--stdout STDOUT] [--stderr STDERR] [--version]
           [destination] [command]

Reticulum Remote Execution Utility

positional arguments:
  destination           hexadecimal hash of the listener
  command               command to be execute

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --config path         path to alternative Reticulum config directory
  -v, --verbose         increase verbosity
  -q, --quiet           decrease verbosity
  -p, --print-identity  print identity and destination info and exit
  -l, --listen          listen for incoming commands
  -i identity           path to identity to use
  -x, --interactive     enter interactive mode
  -b, --no-announce     don't announce at program start
  -a allowed_hash       accept from this identity
  -n, --noauth          accept files from anyone
  -N, --noid            don't identify to listener
  -d, --detailed        show detailed result output
  -m                    mirror exit code of remote command
  -w seconds            connect and request timeout before giving up
  -W seconds            max result download time
  --stdin STDIN         pass input to stdin
  --stdout STDOUT       max size in bytes of returned stdout
  --stderr STDERR       max size in bytes of returned stderr
  --version             show program's version number and exit

The rnodeconf Utility#

The rnodeconf utility allows you to inspect and configure existing RNodes, and to create and provision new RNodes from any supported hardware devices.

usage: rnodeconf [-h] [-i] [-a] [-u] [-U] [--fw-version version] [--nocheck] [-C] [-N] [-T] [-b] [-B] [-p] [--freq Hz] [--bw Hz] [--txp dBm] [--sf factor] [--cr rate] [--eeprom-backup] [--eeprom-dump] [--eeprom-wipe] [--version] [port]

RNode Configuration and firmware utility. This program allows you to change various settings and startup modes of RNode. It can also install, flash and update the firmware on supported devices.

positional arguments:
  port                  serial port where RNode is attached

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -i, --info            Show device info
  -a, --autoinstall     Automatic installation on various supported devices
  -u, --update          Update firmware to the latest version
  -U, --force-update    Update to specified firmware even if version matches or is older than installed version
  --fw-version version  Use a specific firmware version for update or autoinstall
  --nocheck             Don't check for firmware updates online
  -e, --extract         Extract firmware from connected RNode for later use
  -E, --use-extracted   Use the extracted firmware for autoinstallation or update
  -C, --clear-cache     Clear locally cached firmware files
  -N, --normal          Switch device to normal mode
  -T, --tnc             Switch device to TNC mode
  -b, --bluetooth-on    Turn device bluetooth on
  -B, --bluetooth-off   Turn device bluetooth off
  -p, --bluetooth-pair  Put device into bluetooth pairing mode
  --freq Hz             Frequency in Hz for TNC mode
  --bw Hz               Bandwidth in Hz for TNC mode
  --txp dBm             TX power in dBm for TNC mode
  --sf factor           Spreading factor for TNC mode (7 - 12)
  --cr rate             Coding rate for TNC mode (5 - 8)
  --eeprom-backup       Backup EEPROM to file
  --eeprom-dump         Dump EEPROM to console
  --eeprom-wipe         Unlock and wipe EEPROM
  --version             Print program version and exit

For more information on how to create your own RNodes, please read the Creating RNodes section of this manual.

Improving System Configuration#

If you are setting up a system for permanent use with Reticulum, there is a few system configuration changes that can make this easier to administrate. These changes will be detailed here.

Fixed Serial Port Names#

On a Reticulum instance with several serial port based interfaces, it can be beneficial to use the fixed device names for the serial ports, instead of the dynamically allocated shorthands such as /dev/ttyUSB0. Under most Debian-based distributions, including Ubuntu and Raspberry Pi OS, these nodes can be found under /dev/serial/by-id.

You can use such a device path directly in place of the numbered shorthands. Here is an example of a packet radio TNC configured as such:

[[Packet Radio KISS Interface]]
  type = KISSInterface
  interface_enabled = True
  outgoing = true
  port = /dev/serial/by-id/usb-FTDI_FT230X_Basic_UART_43891CKM-if00-port0
  speed = 115200
  databits = 8
  parity = none
  stopbits = 1
  preamble = 150
  txtail = 10
  persistence = 200
  slottime = 20

Using this methodology avoids potential naming mix-ups where physical devices might be plugged and unplugged in different orders, or when device name assignment varies from one boot to another.

Reticulum as a System Service#

Instead of starting Reticulum manually, you can install rnsd as a system service and have it start automatically at boot.

If you installed Reticulum with pip, the rnsd program will most likely be located in a user-local installation path only, which means systemd will not be able to execute it. In this case, you can simply symlink the rnsd program into a directory that is in systemd’s path:

sudo ln -s $(which rnsd) /usr/local/bin/

You can then create the service file /etc/systemd/system/rnsd.service with the following content:

Description=Reticulum Network Stack Daemon

# If you run Reticulum on WiFi devices,
# or other devices that need some extra
# time to initialise, you might want to
# add a short delay before Reticulum is
# started by systemd:
# ExecStartPre=/bin/sleep 10
ExecStart=rnsd --service


Be sure to replace USERNAMEHERE with the user you want to run rnsd as.

To manually start rnsd run:

sudo systemctl start rnsd

If you want to automatically start rnsd at boot, run:

sudo systemctl enable rnsd