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Range Test Module

About

This module allows you to test the range of your Meshtastic nodes. It uses two nodes, one to send a message every minute, and another to receive the messages. The receiving node then saves the messages along with the GPS coordinates at which they were received into a .csv file. This .csv file can then be integrated into, for example, Google Earth, allowing you to see where you have coverage.

Hardware Compatibility

The Range Test module is currently only compatible with ESP32 devices. nRF52 devices are not yet supported.

Other things to keep in mind

Be sure to turn off either the module configured as a sender or the device where the module setup as sender when not in use. This will use a lot of time on air and will spam your channel.

Also, be mindful of your space usage on the file system. It has protections from filling up the space but it's best to delete old range test results.

Application Examples

Google Earth Integration

Steps:

  1. Download and open Google Earth
    1. Select File > Import
    2. Select CSV
    3. Select Delimited, Comma
    4. Make sure the button that states “This dataset does not contain latitude/longitude information, but street addresses” is unchecked
    5. Select “rx lat” & “rx long” for the appropriate lat/lng fields
    6. Click finish
  2. When it prompts you to create a style template, click yes.
    1. Set the name field to whichever column you want to be displayed on the map (don’t worry about this too much, when you click on an icon, all the relevant data appears)
    2. Select a color, icon, etc. and hit OK.

Your data will load onto the map, make sure to click the checkbox next to your dataset in the sidebar to view it.

My Maps

You can use My Maps. It takes CSVs and the whole interface is much easier to work with.

Google has instructions on how to do that here.

You can style the ranges differently based on the values, so you can have the pins be darker the if the SNR or RSSI (if that gets added) is higher.

Configuration

Configuration details are available on the Device Settings pages. Configuring the Range Test Module requires configuring the following modules:

Known Problems

If turned on, using mesh network will become unwieldy because messages are sent over the same channel as the other messages. See TODO below.

TODO

Right now range test messages go over the TEXT_MESSAGE_APP port. We need a toggle to switch to optionally send over RANGE_TEST_APP.

FAQ

Q: Where is rangetest.csv saved?

  • Turn on the WiFi on your device as either a WiFi client or a WiFi AP. Once you can connect to your device, navigate to Extensions > File Browser and you will see rangetest.csv once messages have been saved and the file has been created.

Q: Do I need to have WiFi turned on for the file to be saved?

  • Nope, it'll just work.

Q: Do I need a phone for this module?

  • There's no need for a phone.

Q: Can I use this as a message logger?

  • While it's not the intended purpose, sure, why not. Do it!

Q: What will happen if I run out of space on my device?

  • We have a protection in place to keep you from completely filling up your device. This will make sure that other device critical functions will continue to work. We will reserve at least 50k of free space.

Q: What do I do with the rangetest.csv file when I'm done?

  • Go to /static and delete the file.

Q: Can I use this as a sender while on battery power?

  • Yes, but your battery will run down quicker than normal. While sending, we tell the device not to go into low-power mode since it needs to keep to a fairly strict timer.

Q: Why is this operating on incoming messages instead of the existing location discovery protocol?

  • This module is still young and currently supports monitoring just one port at a time. I decided to use the existing message port because that is easy to test with. A future version will listen to multiple ports to be more promiscuous.