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8. Configuring a NetRom port.

The NetRom protocol relies on, and uses the AX.25 ports you have created. The NetRom protocol rides on top of the AX.25 protocol. To configure NetRom on an AX.25 interface you must configure two files. One file describes the Netrom interfaces, and the other file describes which of the AX.25 ports will carry NetRom. You can configure multiple NetRom ports, each with its own callsign and alias, the same procedure applies for each.

8.1 Configuring /etc/ax25/nrports

The first is the /etc/ax25/nrports file. This file describes the NetRom ports in much the same way as the /etc/ax25/axports file describes the AX.25 ports. Each NetRom device you wish to create must have an entry in the /etc/ax25/nrports file. Normally a Linux machine would have only one NetRom device configured that would use a number of the AX.25 ports defined. In some situations you might wish a special service such as a BBS to have a seperate NetRom alias and so you would create more than one.

This file is formatted as follows:

name callsign  alias  paclen   description



is the text name that you wish to refer to the port by.


is the callsign that the NetRom traffic from this port will use. Note, this is not that address that users should connect to to get access to a node style interface. (The node program is covered later). This callsign/ssid should be unique and should not appear elsewhere in either of the /etc/ax25/axports or the /etc/ax25/nrports files.


is the NetRom alias this port will have assigned to it.


is the maximum size of NetRom frames transmitted by this port.


is a free text description of the port.

An example would look something like the following:

netrom  VK2KTJ-9        LINUX   236     Linux Switch Port

This example creates a NetRom port known to the rest of the NetRom network as `LINUX:VK2KTJ-9'.

This file is used by programs such as the call program.

8.2 Configuring /etc/ax25/nrbroadcast

The second file is the /etc/ax25/nrbroadcast file. This file may contain a number of entries. There would normally be one entry for each AX.25 port that you wish to allow NetRom traffic on.

This file is formatted as follows:

axport min_obs def_qual worst_qual verbose



is the port name obtained from the /etc/ax25/axports file. If you do not have an entry in /etc/ax25/nrbroadcasts for a port then this means that no NetRom routing will occur and any received NetRom broadcasts will be ignored for that port.


is the minimum obselesence value for the port.


is the default quality for the port.


is the worst quality value for the port, any routes under this quality will be ignored.


is a flag determining whether full NetRom routing broadcasts will occur from this port or only a routing broadcast advertising the node itself.

An example would look something like the following:

radio    1       200      100         1

8.3 Creating the NetRom Network device

When you have the two configuration files completed you must create the NetRom device in much the same way as you did for the AX.25 devices. This time you use the nrattach command. The nrattach works in just the same way as the axattach command except that it creates NetRom network devices called `nr[0-9]'. Again, the first time you use the nrattach command it creates the `nr0' device, the second time it creates the `nr1' network devices etc. To create the network device for the NetRom port we've defined we would use:

# nrattach netrom

This command would start the NetRom device (nr0) named netrom configured with the details specified in the /etc/ax25/nrports file.

8.4 Starting the NetRom daemon

The Linux kernel does all of the NetRom protocol and switching, but does not manage some functions. The NetRom daemon manages the NetRom routing tables and generates the NetRom routing broadcasts. You start NetRom daemon with the command:

# /usr/sbin/netromd -i

You should soon see the /proc/net/nr_neigh file filling up with information about your NetRom neighbours.

Remember to put the /usr/sbin/netromd command in your rc files so that it is started automatically each time you reboot.

8.5 Configuring NetRom routing.

You may wish to configure static NetRom routes for specific hosts. The nrparms command enables you to do this. Again, the man page offers a complete description, but a simple example might be:

# /usr/sbin/nrparms -nodes VK2XLZ-10 + #MINTO 120 5 radio VK2SUT-9

This command would set a NetRom route to #MINTO:VK2XLZ-10 via a neighbour VK2SUT-9 on my AX.25 port called `radio'.

You can manually create entries for new neighbours using the nrparms command as well. For example:

# /usr/sbin/nrparms -routes radio VK2SUT-9 + 120

This command would create VK2SUT-9 as a NetRom neighbour with a quality of 120 and this will be locked and will not be deleted automatically.

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