OpenThread Border Router
An open source border router, designed to work with OpenThread¶
A Thread Border Router serves as a gateway between the Internet and the Thread network. OpenThread's implementation of a Border Router is called OpenThread Border Router (OTBR).
OTBR includes a number of features, including:
- Web GUI for configuration and management
- Thread Border Agent to support external commissioning
- DHCPv6 Prefix Delegation to obtain IPv6 prefixes for a Thread network
- NAT64 for connecting to IPv4 networks
- DNS64 to allow Thread devices to initiate communications by name to an IPv4-only server
- Thread interface driver using wpantund
For more technical details, openthread.io is the best place for you.
In the following documentation sections, you'll build an OpenThread Border Router with nRF52840 Micro Dev Kit USB Dongle and Raspberry Pi 3B.
- Raspberry Pi 3B
- nRF52840 Micro Dev Kit USB Dongle with the latest NCP firmware
- 4 GB (or larger) microSD card and microSD card reader
- microUSB power supply for Raspberry Pi 3B
Complete the following steps to set up the Border Router on Raspberry Pi 3B.
Download and install Raspbian¶
Set up the Border Router¶
Before you continue, make sure your Raspberry Pi 3B is connected to the internet using Ethernet. The bootstrap script disables the platform's Wi-Fi interface and the setup script requires internet connectivity to download and install wpantund.
OTBR communicates with the Dongle(serves as NCP) via
wpantund. On Raspberry Pi 3B:
Clone the OTBR repository:
git clone https://github.com/openthread/borderrouter
cd borderrouter ./script/bootstrap
Compile and install OTBR and
Attach the Dongle to the Border Router platform via USB.
Configure the Dongle's serial port in
wpantund. Add the serial port name to
/etc/wpantund.conf. For example, for a serial port name of
Restart the Border Router. The OTBR service should start on boot.
On Raspberry Pi 3B, verify that all required services are enabled:
sudo systemctl status
setup script above was successful, the RPI3B is in
running state and the following services appear in the output:
If the RPI3B is in degraded state, some other service has failed to start. Check to see which:
sudo systemctl --failed
If the failed service is tayga or dnsmasq, it is normal. These services are completely configured as part of the Wi-Fi Access Point Setup.
Verify that the NCP is in the correct state:
sudo wpanctl status
wpanctl is a command line utility provided with
wpantund. It is used to communicate with the wireless PAN interface (default is
wpantund is bound to in the NCP design.
If the NCP is successfully running OpenThread and is not a member of a Thread network, the output should be similar to the below:
wpan0 => [ "NCP:State" => "offline" "Daemon:Enabled" => true "NCP:Version" => "OPENTHREAD/20170716-00889-g4ce55934; NRF52840; Sep 13 2018 20:55:40" "Daemon:Version" => "0.08.00d (/4eb20ac; Sep 13 2018 08:00:41)" "Config:NCP:DriverName" => "spinel" "NCP:HardwareAddress" => [74358AAD04866C78] ]
For more features(such as external commissioning), you can follow the Update NCP firmware section to running the latest NCP firmware.
uninitialized, troubleshoot with the following:
- Verify the RPI3B has sufficient power (use the proper external AC adapter).
- Disconnect and reconnect the Dongle to the RPI3B.
Verify that the NCP serial device is present. For example, if the device should be attached to
ls /dev/ttyACM* /dev/ttyACM0
Reset the NCP with
sudo wpanctl reset.
- Check the NCP status again with
sudo wpanctl status.
Now, you can use the OpenThread Border Router (OTBR) Web GUI to configure and form, join, or check the status of a Thread network.
The Border Router enables Access Point mode and advertises the BorderRouter-AP network default.
Connect to the BorderRouter-AP Wi-Fi network and access the Web GUI by visiting the OTBR's local IPv4 address(
10.42.0.1 default) in a mobile browser:
Join a Thread network¶
Use the Join menu option to scan for and join an existing Thread network.
Form a Thread network¶
Use the Form menu option to create a new Thread network.
After the network forms, confirm by checking the Status menu option or running
sudo wpanctl status on the command line of the OTBR:
External Thread Commissioning¶
OpenThread Border Router (OTBR) features a Thread Border Agent, which supports external Thread Commissioning. In external Thread Commissioning, a device outside of the Thread network (for example, a mobile phone) commissions new devices onto the network.
This section details how to use the Thread Commissioning App to commission an OpenThread device onto a network created and managed by the OTBR Web GUI.
Set up the Joiner device¶
You should prepare another Dongle or an nRF52840 board(such as nRF52840-MDK). Flash the board with the OpenThread CLI firmware. Here is the pre-built CLI firmware for the Dongle:
For programming, just follow the "Programming" section.
Once the Joiner device is ready, obtain its factory-assigned IEEE EUI-64. Use the
eui64 command in the OpenThread CLI:
> eui64 4499f69d088dac4b Done
Download the Thread Commissioning App¶
External commissioning is supported by the Thread Commissioning App, available for download on the Google Play Store for Android devices.
Connect to the Border Router¶
Start the Thread Commissioning App, then tap FIND WI-FI NETWORK and connect your phone running the Thread Commissioning App to the Wi-Fi access point.
Select the target Border Router from the available list. The name is the same as the Thread network created by the OTBR Web GUI. If the same Border Router shows up multiple times with different IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, select the one with the static IPv4 address used for the Wi-Fi access point setup (
When prompted for a password, enter the passphrase (Commissioner Credential) set by the OTBR Web GUI.
Commission the Joiner¶
Once connected to the Border Router, the app provides the option to scan a Connect QR Code or enter a Join Passphrase manually.
Thread Connect QR Codes are created with the following text string format:
euiis the Joiner device's EUI64 value and
ccis the Joiner Credential.
Use this text string with an online QR Code generator(such as unitag.io) to create a QR Code for scanning.
In the Thread Commissioning App, scan the Connect QR Code of the Joiner device:
While the app is waiting, enter the OpenThread CLI on the Joiner device and start the Joiner role with that same Joiner Credential:
> ifconfig up Done > joiner start J01NU5 Done
Wait a minute for the DTLS handshake to complete between the Commissioner and Joiner:
> Join success
Join the network¶
On the Joiner device, start the Thread protocol to automatically join the network.
> thread start Done
Check the state after a few moments to confirm. It may initially start as a Child, but within two minutes, it will upgrade to a Router.
> state router Done
Obtain the addresses of the joiner by typing
> ipaddr fd11:1111:1122:0:0:ff:fe00:4400 fd11:22:0:0:8250:8753:2ff9:ac2f fe80:0:0:0:c43d:cdd:9e66:6d4e fd11:1111:1122:0:87a9:87be:ed3a:299e Done
Check the Internet connectivity¶
Test the connectivity between the Joiner device in the Thread network and the Internet by pinging a public IPv4 address. To reach the IPv4 address from the Thread device, a Well-Known Prefix of
64:ff9b::/96 and an IPv4 address of the destination are used.
To ping Google’s DNS
188.8.131.52 from the IPv6 address, append a hexadecimal form of the IPv6 to the Well-Known Prefix resulting in:
> ping 64:ff9b::808:808 > 16 bytes from 64:ff9b:0:0:0:0:808:808: icmp_seq=0 hlim=39 time=37ms > ping 64:ff9b::808:808 > 16 bytes from 64:ff9b:0:0:0:0:808:808: icmp_seq=1 hlim=39 time=35ms > ping 64:ff9b::808:808 > 16 bytes from 64:ff9b:0:0:0:0:808:808: icmp_seq=2 hlim=39 time=35ms
You've successfully created an OpenThread Border Router, while allowing the Joiner device in the Thread network communicating with the Internet.
- Nordic Thread Border Router
- Build a Thread network with nRF52840-MDK
Content on this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Create an Issue¶
Interested in contributing to this project? Want to report a bug? Feel free to click here: