Installing the AREDN firmware on a MikroTik hAP ac lite

At the recent HB9TF AGM fellow radio amateur HB9GVM gave an introductory presentation about AREDN.

Motivated by this, I ordered a MikroTik hAP ac lite and installed the AREDN firmware on it.
The following are my notes of the installation process.

  1. Download the firmware images for the MikroTik hAP ac lite from (both the *kernel.bin and *sysupgrade.bin are needed)
  2. Install Dnsmasq as a PXE server on Mac OS:
    brew install dnsmasq
  3. Setup the *kernel.bin for PXE:
    mkdir tftp-root
    cp $HOME/Downloads/aredn- tftp-root/rb.elf
  4. Connect a Ethernet dongle and configure it with this static IP:
  5. Run dnsmasq as a PXE server listening on the network interface of the Ethernet dongle:
    ifconfig en6 # use to check that IP is configured
    sudo dnsmasq -i en6 -u $(whoami) --log-dhcp --bootp-dynamic --dhcp-range=, -d -p0 -K --dhcp-boot=rb.elf --enable-tftp --tftp-root=$(pwd)/tftp-root/
  6. Power off the hAP ac lite and connect the Ethernet dongle to port 1 (PXE booting only seems to work on this port!)
  7. Press the reset button on the hAP ac lite, power it on and keep the button pressed for about 20 seconds (there is some output of dnsmask once the PXE booting is in progress)
  8. Wait until the hAP ac lite stops blinking and the LEDs are steady again (it also issues a new DHCP request via port1, but this time no PXE booting).
  9. Move the cable to port 2 (the AREDN default config for the MikroTik hAP ac lite uses port 1 for the Internet uplink, and port 2 for the 'inside' local network).
  10. Test that you can ping the inside IP of the AREDN node:
  11. Open the admin page on (Username is root and password is hsmm).
  12. In the Firmware Update section, click on 'Upload Firmware' and select the previously downloaded sysupgrade.bin file.
  13. Wait until a reboot has happened twice (it takes a couple minutes!) to complete the installation.
  14. Open – congratulations, you now have a freshly installed (and not yet configured) AREDN node :-)

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