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Channel Configuration

The Channels config options are: Index, Roles, and Settings. Channel config uses an admin message sending a Channel protobuf which also consists of a ChannelSettings or ModuleSettings protobuf.


Channel Settings (as described on this page) should not be confused with Modem Preset Settings

Modem Preset Settings contain the modem configuration (frequency settings, spreading factor, bandwidth, etc.) used for the LoRa radio. These settings are identical for all channels and can not be unique per channel.

Channel Settings contain information for segregating message groups, configuring optional encryption, and enabling or disabling messaging over internet gateways. These settings are unique and configurable per channel.

Channel Config Values


The channel index begins at 0 and ends at 7.

Indexing can not be modified.

IndexChannelDefault RolePurpose
01PRIMARYUsed as default channel
12DISABLEDUser defined
23DISABLEDUser defined
34DISABLEDUser defined
45DISABLEDUser defined
56DISABLEDUser defined
67DISABLEDUser defined
78DISABLEDUser defined

You can not have DISABLED channels in-between active channels such as PRIMARY and SECONDARY. Active channels must be consecutive.


Each channel is assigned one of 3 roles:

  1. PRIMARY or 1
    • This is the first channel that is created for you on initial setup.
    • Only one primary channel can exist and can not be disabled.
    • Periodic broadcasts like position and telemetry are only sent over this channel.
  2. SECONDARY or 2
    • Can modify the encryption key (PSK).
  3. DISABLED or 0
    • The channel is no longer available for use.
    • The channel settings are set to default.

While you can have a different PRIMARY channel and communicate over SECONDARY channels with the same Name & PSK, a hash of the PRIMARY channel's name sets the LoRa frequency slot, which determines the actual frequency you are transmitting on in the band. To ensure devices with different PRIMARY channel name transmit on the same frequency, you must explicitly set the LoRa frequency slot.

Channel Settings Values

The Channel Settings options are: Name, PSK, Downlink Enabled, and Uplink Enabled. Channel settings are embedded in the Channel protobuf as a ChannelSettings protobuf and sent as an admin message.


A short identifier for the channel. (< 12 bytes)

Reserved NamePurpose
"" (default)If left empty on the Primary channel, this designates the default channel.
adminOn Secondary channels, the name admin (case sensitive) designates the admin channel used to administer nodes over the mesh

Matching channel names are required in order to communicate on the same channel with other devices. Example: If your device is using the channel name LongFast the device you are attempting to communicate with must also have a channel named LongFast.


The encryption key used for private channels.

Hex byte 0x01 for the Primary default channel.

Must be either 0 bytes (no crypto), 16 bytes (AES128), or 32 bytes (AES256).


Matching PSKs are required in order to communicate on the same channel with other devices. Example: If your device is using a channel with the default PSK of AQ== the device you are attempting to communicate with must also have a matching channel with the same PSK.

If enabled, messages captured from a public internet gateway will be forwarded to the local mesh.

Set to false by default for all channels.

If enabled, messages from the mesh will be sent to the public internet through any node's configured gateway.

Set to false by default for all channels.

Channel Module Settings

The channel module settings options are: position precision. Channel module settings are embedded in the Channel protobuf as a ModuleSettings protobuf and sent as an admin message.

Position Precision

The position_precision setting allows control of the level of precision for location data that is sent over a particular channel. This can be useful for privacy reasons, where obfuscating the exact location may be desired when sending position data over certain channels.

The position_precision value is an integer between 0 and 32:

  • A value of 0 means that location data is never sent over the given channel.
  • A value of 32 means that location data is sent with full precision.
  • Values in between indicate the number of bits of precision to be sent.

Some useful values and their approximate precisions:

  • 11: Large region, around ±11 kilometers
  • 13: City-sized region, around ±3 kilometers
  • 16: Neighborhood-level precision, around ±350 meters

The client applications have implemented different levels of precision giving the user a practical range to choose from. Setting across the full range of integers can be done via the Python CLI. See Setting Position Precision for examples on setting different levels of precision using CLI.

Channel Config Client Availability



All Channel config options are available in the python CLI. Example commands are below:


Because the device will reboot after each command is sent via CLI, it is recommended when setting multiple values in a config section that commands be chained together as one.

meshtastic --ch-set name "My Channel" --ch-set psk random --ch-set uplink_enabled true --ch-index 4
Set channel name for the PRIMARY channel
# without spaces
meshtastic --ch-set name MyChannel --ch-index 0
# with spaces
meshtastic --ch-set name "My Channel" --ch-index 0

If you use Meshtastic for exchanging messages you don't want other people to see, random is the setting you should use. Selecting default or any of the simple values from the following table will use publicly known encryption keys. They're shipped with Meshtastic source code and thus, anyone can listen to messages encrypted by them. They're great for testing and public channels.

noneDisable Encryption
defaultDefault Encryption (use the weak encryption key)
randomGenerate a secure 256-bit encryption key. Use this setting for private communication.
simple0- simple254Uses a single byte encoding for encryption
Set encryption to default on PRIMARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set psk default --ch-index 0
Set encryption to random on PRIMARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set psk random --ch-index 0
Set encryption to single byte on PRIMARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set psk simple15 --ch-index 0
Set encryption to your own key on PRIMARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set psk 0x1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b --ch-index 0
Set encryption to your own key on PRIMARY channel (Base64 encoded)
meshtastic --ch-set psk base64:puavdd7vtYJh8NUVWgxbsoG2u9Sdqc54YvMLs+KNcMA= --ch-index 0

Use this to copy and paste the base64 encoded (single channel) key from the meshtastic --info command. Please don't use the omnibus (all channels) code here, it is not a valid key.

Disable encryption on PRIMARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set psk none --ch-index 0

For configuring gateways, please see MQTT

Enable/Disable Uplink on PRIMARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set uplink_enabled true --ch-index 0
meshtastic --ch-set uplink_enabled false --ch-index 0
Enable/Disable Downlink on SECONDARY channel
meshtastic --ch-set downlink_enabled true --ch-index 1
meshtastic --ch-set downlink_enabled false --ch-index 5

Setting Position Precision


This is a per-channel setting. The --ch-index parameter must be specified to set the position precision for a specific channel, e.g., --ch-index 0 for the primary channel or --ch-index 1 for the secondary channel 1.

Set position precision to 13 bits (approx ±3 km)
meshtastic --ch-set module_settings.position_precision 13 --ch-index 0
Set position precision to full precision (32 bits)
meshtastic --ch-set module_settings.position_precision 32 --ch-index 1