love obscure and while most of

Found at: gopher.blog.benjojo.co.uk:70/AX25-over-wifi-with-ESP8266

 IP over AX.25 over 802.11 with ESP8266


 I love obscure protocols, and while most of the world's
legacy X.25 equipment is slowly being shut down. It’s amateur
radio derivative AX.25 is getting along pretty well with a
reasonable amount of AX.25 traffic happening in the UK every single

A view from aprs.fi, highlighting hotspots of AX.25 activity

 A view from aprs.fi, highlighting hotspots of AX.25


 _A view from aprs.fi, highlighting hotspots of AX.25


 The majority of this traffic however is either weather or
location updates, but this is not all of the protocol can do
inside it is also the ability to carry IP packets. Linux itself
has had the ability to send and manage AX.25 packets for quite
a while, either using the concept of a sound modem using the
concept of a sound modem, or using a device called a TNC to
modulate and encode APRS packets.
 To my surprise it was possible on a modern Ubuntu 17.10
linux install to get ax.25 abilities to work painlessly, a simple
`sudo apt install ax25-tools` was needed to get the basic
utilities and I was good to go.
 However I don’t have a amateur radio license ( _though I
should probably get one_ ) and so I don't have a TNC nor can I
transmit on the bands that APRS uses. However, that won’t stop


 Here is where the small, tiny and very cheap (3.5$ each
for the units pictured) "Internet of things" device comes into
the picture. These devices have the ability to do raw frame
transmission, and they also have promiscuous mode that allows you to
"sniff" raw 802.11 packets on a WiFi channel.
 The protocol I decided to implement was called KISS. (
Keep It Simple Stupid )

4 special signalling characters ((URL:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_(TNC:0/URL:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_(TNC HTML))

 In fact the protocol is very simple, It has 4 special
signalling characters#Special_characters) but 3 of them be used to
escape the 1st ( the end of packet character )
 I wrote up a small TNC that actually uses 802.11 as a
transport for frames to order to play around with AX.25 networking,
You can find the code and instructions to build on my GitHub:
 There are a few unfortunate downside however, The packet
size MTU of this makeshift TNC is limited to around 89 bytes
do to the ESP’s SDK being limited to sniffing the first 128
bytes of a 802.11 frame, You should improve this later on to
implement fragmentation, but unless you add another tunnel on top,
TCP is not going to work.
 With both "TNC"'s running and ready to go, we need to
setup both machines with call sign’s. Now if I had a real
license, I would have a real call sign, in this case I don’t so
I will be making some up for both machines. You need to
define these in `/etc/ax25/axports` like so:
 # /etc/ax25/axports
 # The format of this file is:
 # name callsign speed paclen window description
 Now you can run `kissattach` to bring up the interface:
 `sudo kissattach /dev/ttyUSB0 aprs`
 after that the interface `ax0` should exist
 ben@metropolis:~$ sudo ifconfig
 ax0: flags=67  mtu 256
         inet  netmask
         ax25 K5DAT-10  txqueuelen 10  (AMPR AX.25)
         RX packets 5  bytes 418 (418.0 B)
         RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame
         TX packets 12  bytes 1434 (1.4 KB)
         TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier
0  collisions 0
 You should also add a routing entry for the whole block, Since that is a whole /8 block of IP addresses
that are reserved for amateur packet radio systems.
 `sudo route add -net netmask dev ax0`
 At this point, the link should come up just fine, You
should be able to exchange ( small ) pings between the two
systems connected:
 ben@metropolis:~$ ping -s 40
 PING ( 40(68) bytes of data.
 48 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=221 ms
 48 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=219 ms
 48 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=221 ms
 --- ping statistics ---
 4 packets transmitted, 3 received, 25% packet loss, time
 rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 219.950/220.962/221.633/0.728 ms
 It’s worth pointing out that not all of the debugging
tools you are used to (one example being `tcpdump`) are going to
work with AX.25 links. However wireshark understands these links
just fine and was a wonderful debugging tool while writing

wireshark showing ax.25 traffic

 wireshark showing ax.25 traffic
 Perhaps that is understandable for a protocol that has been
around for 1984 and sparsely used :)