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router7 is a pure- implementation of a small home internet router. It comes with all the services required to make a fiber7 internet connection work (DHCPv4, DHCPv6, DNS, etc.).

Note that this project should be considered a (working!) tech demo. Feature requests will likely not be implemented, and see CONTRIBUTING.md for details about which contributions are welcome.


Before starting router7, I was using the Turris Omnia router running OpenWrt. That worked fine up until May 2018, when an automated update pulled in a new version of odhcp6c, OpenWrt’s DHCPv6 client. That version is incompatible with fiber7’s DHCP server setup (I think there are shortcomings on both sides).

It was not only quicker to develop my own router than to wait for either side to resolve the issue, but it was also a lot of fun and allowed me to really tailor my router to my needs, experimenting with a bunch of interesting ideas I had.

Project goals

  • Maximize internet connectivity: retain the most recent DHCP configuration across reboots and even after its expiration (chances are the DHCP server will be back before the configuration stops working).
  • Unit/integration tests use fiber7 packet capture files to minimize the chance of software changes breaking my connectivity.
  • Safe and quick updates
    • Auto-rollback of updates which result in loss of connectivity: the diagnostics daemon assesses connectivity state, the update tool reads it and rolls back faulty updates.
    • Thanks to kexec, updates translate into merely 13s of internet connectivity loss.
  • Easy debugging
    • Configuration-related network packets (e.g. DHCP, IPv6 neighbor/router advertisements) are stored in a ring buffer which can be streamed into Wireshark, allowing for live and retro-active debugging.
    • The diagnostics daemon performs common diagnostic steps (ping, traceroute, …) for you.
    • All state in the system is stored as human-readable JSON within the /perm partition and can be modified.


The reference hardware platform is the PC Engines™ apu2c4 system board. It features a 1 GHz quad core amd64 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, 3 Ethernet ports and a DB9 serial port. It conveniently supports PXE boot, the schematics and bootloader sources are available. I recommend the msata16g SSD module for reliable persistent storage and the usbcom1a serial adapter if you don’t have one already.

Other hardware might work, too, but is not tested.

Teensy rebootor

The cheap and widely-available Teensy++ USB development board comes with a firmware called rebootor, which is used by the teensy_loader_cli program to perform hard resets.

This setup can be used to programmatically reset the apu2c4 (from rtr7-recover) by connecting the Teensy++ to the apu2c4’s reset pins:

  • connect the Teensy++’s GND pin to the apu2c4 J2’s pin 4 (GND)
  • connect the Teensy++’s B7 pin to the apu2c4 J2’s pin 5 (3.3V, resets when pulled to GND)

You can find a working rebootor firmware .hex file at https://github.com/PaulStoffregen/teensy_loader_cli/issues/38


router7 is based on gokrazy: it is an appliance which gets packed into a hard disk image, containing a FAT partition with the kernel, a read-only SquashFS partition for the root file system and an ext4 partition for permanent data.

The individual services can be found in github.com/rtr7/router7/cmd.

  • Each service runs in a separate process.
  • Services communicate with each other by persisting state files. E.g., cmd/dhcp4 writes /perm/dhcp4/wire/lease.json.
  • A service notifies other services about state changes by sending them signal SIGUSR1.

Configuration files

File Consumer(s) Purpose
/perm/interfaces.json netconfigd Set IP/MAC addresses of uplink0 and lan0
/perm/portforwardings.json netconfigd Configure nftables port forwarding rules
/perm/dhcp6/duid dhcp6 Set DHCP Unique Identifier (DUID) for obtaining static leases

State files

File Producer Consumer(s) Purpose
/perm/dhcp4/wire/ack dhcp4 dhcp4 last DHCPACK packet for renewals across restarts
/perm/dhcp4/wire/lease.json dhcp4 netconfigd Obtained DHCPv4 lease
/perm/dhcp6/wire/lease.json dhcp6 netconfigd, radvd Obtained DHCPv6 lease
/perm/dhcp4d/leases.json dhcp4d dhcp4d, dnsd DHCPv4 leases handed out (including hostnames)

Available ports

Port Purpose
<public>:8053 dnsd metrics (forwarded requests)
<public>:8066 netconfigd metrics (nftables counters)
<private>:80 gokrazy web interface
<private>:67 dhcp4d
<private>:58 radvd
<private>:53 dnsd
<private>:8077 backupd (serve backup.tar.gz)
<private>:7733 diagd (perform diagnostics)
<private>:5022 captured (serve captured packets)

Here’s an example of the diagd output:

diagd output

Here’s an example of the metrics when scraped with Prometheus and displayed in Grafana:

metrics in grafana


Connect your serial adapter (usbcom1a works well if you don’t have one already) to the apu2c4 and start a program to use it, e.g. screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200. Then, power on the apu2c4 and configure it to do PXE boot:

  • Press F10 to enter the boot menu
  • Press 3 to enter setup
  • Press n to enable network boot
  • Press c to move mSATA to the top of the boot order
  • Press e to move iPXE to the top of the boot order
  • Press s to save configuration and exit

Connect a network cable on net0, the port closest to the serial console port:

router7 development setup

Next, build a router7 image:

go get -u github.com/gokrazy/tools/cmd/gokr-packer github.com/rtr7/tools/cmd/...
go get -u -d github.com/rtr7/router7
mkdir /tmp/recovery
GOARCH=amd64 gokr-packer 

Run rtr7-recover -boot=/tmp/recovery/boot.img -mbr=/tmp/recovery/mbr.img -root=/tmp/recovery/root.img to:

  • trigger a reset if a Teensy with the rebootor firmware is attached
  • serve a DHCP lease to all clients which request PXE boot (i.e., your apu2c4)
  • serve via TFTP:
    • the PXELINUX bootloader
    • the router7 kernel
    • an initrd archive containing the rtr7-recovery-init program and mke2fs
  • serve via HTTP the boot and root images
  • optionally serve via HTTP a backup.tar.gz image containing files for /perm (e.g. for moving to new hardware, rolling back corrupted state, or recovering from a disk failure)
  • exit once the router successfully wrote the images to disk


Run e.g. rtr7-safe-update -updates_dir=$HOME/router7/updates to:

  • verify the router currently has connectivity, abort the update otherwise
  • download a backup archive of /perm
  • build a new image
  • update the router
  • wait until the router restored connectivity, roll back the update using rtr7-recover otherwise

The update step uses kexec to reduce the downtime to approximately 15 seconds.

Manual Recovery

Given rtr7-safe-update’s safeguards, manual recovery should rarely be required.

To manually roll back to an older image, invoke rtr7-safe-update via the recover.bash script in the image directory underneath -updates_dir, e.g.:

% cd ~/router7/updates/2018-07-03T17:33:52+02:00
% ./recover.bash


See https://github.com/rtr7/router7/tree/master/contrib/prometheus for example configuration files, and install the router7 Grafana Dashboard.