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OpenThread Border Router Build and Configuration

This guide covers the basic build and configuration of OpenThread Border Router (OTBR). Upon completion of this procedure, you will have an OTBR that functions as a Full Thread Device (FTD) in an RCP design.

Configure Platform

Configure a supported hardware platform:

Build and flash RCP

OTBR runs on an RCP design. Select a supported OpenThread platform to use as an RCP and follow the building and flashing instructions for that platform.

For an overview of building OpenThread, see the Building Guide.

Specific instructions on building supported platforms with GNU Autotools can be found in each example's platform folder.

Set up the Border Router

OTBR communicates with the RCP via spinel. On the configured hardware platform:

  1. Clone the OTBR repository:
    git clone
  2. Install dependencies:
    cd ot-br-posix
  3. Compile and install OTBR. Note that this setup script uses Network Manager to automatically set up the Wi-Fi access point (AP).
    1. To automatically set up the Wi-Fi AP using Network Manager:
    2. To skip the automatic Wi-Fi AP setup and manually do it later without using Network Manager:
      NETWORK_MANAGER=0 ./script/setup
  4. Attach the flashed RCP device to the Border Router platform via USB.
  5. Configure the RCP device's serial port in otbr-agent:
    1. Determine the serial port name for the RCP device by checking /dev:
      ls /dev/tty*
    2. Append this to /etc/default/otbr-agent. For example, for a serial port name of ttyUSB0:
      OTBR_AGENT_OPTS="-I wpan0 spinel+hdlc+uart:///dev/ttyUSB0"
  6. Power cycle the Border Router. If using the BeagleBone Black platform, remember to hold down the BOOT button while doing so.
  7. The OTBR service should start on boot.

Verify services

Verify that all required services are enabled:

sudo systemctl status

If the setup script was successful, the following services appear in the output:

  • avahi-daemon.service
  • otbr-agent.service
  • otbr-web.service

For example:

● raspberrypi
    State: running
     Jobs: 0 queued
   Failed: 0 units
    Since: Thu 1970-01-01 00:00:01 UTC; 47 years 7 months ago
   CGroup: /
           │ └─user-1000.slice
           │   ├─user@1000.service
           │   │ └─init.scope
           │   │   ├─576 /lib/systemd/systemd --user
           │   │   └─580 (sd-pam)
           │   └─session-c1.scope
           │     ├─480 /bin/login --
           │     └─585 -bash
           │ └─1 /sbin/init
             │ └─334 /lib/systemd/systemd-timesyncd
             │ └─339 /usr/bin/dbus-daemon --system --address=systemd: --nofork --nopidfile --systemd-activation
             │ └─442 /usr/bin/hciattach /dev/serial1 bcm43xx 921600 noflow -
             │ └─621 /usr/sbin/sshd -D
             │ ├─341 avahi-daemon: running [raspberrypi.local]
             │ └─361 avahi-daemon: chroot helper
             │ └─472 /usr/sbin/otbr-web
             │ └─354 /usr/sbin/thd --triggers /etc/triggerhappy/triggers.d/ --socket /run/thd.socket --user nobody --deviceglob /dev/input/event*
             │ └─353 /lib/systemd/systemd-logind
             │ └─501 /usr/sbin/otbr-agent -I wpan0
             │ └─350 /usr/sbin/cron -f
             │ └─154 /lib/systemd/systemd-udevd
             │ └─345 /usr/sbin/rsyslogd -n
             │ └─445 /usr/lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd
             │ └─136 /lib/systemd/systemd-journald
               ├─409 wpa_supplicant -B -c/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -iwlan0
               └─466 /sbin/dhcpcd -q -w

If those services are running, but the RPi3B is in a degraded state, some other service has failed to start. Check to see which:

sudo systemctl --failed

If the automatic Wi-Fi AP setup was skipped and the failed service is tayga or dnsmasq, this is normal. If performing a manual setup of the Wi-Fi AP, these services are completely configured as part of the Wi-Fi Access Point Setup covered in the next section.

Verify RCP

Verify that the RCP is in the correct state:

sudo ot-ctl state

ot-ctl is a command line utility provided with OTBR. It is used to communicate with the Thread PAN interface (default is wpan0) that otbr-agent is bound to in the RCP design.

If the RCP is successfully running and the node is not a member of a Thread network, the output should be similar to the below:


If the output is OpenThread daemon is not running, troubleshoot with the following:

  1. Verify the Border Router has sufficient power (use the proper external AC adapter).
  2. Disconnect and reconnect the RCP board to the Border Router platform.
  3. Verify that the RCP serial device is present. For example, if the device should be attached to /dev/ttyUSB0:
    ls /dev/ttyUSB*
  4. Reset the RCP with sudo ot-ctl reset.

Check the RCP status again with sudo ot-ctl state.