Configuration Templates

Templates are designed to store configuration that can be reused by some or all the devices in the system.

Updating the configuration stored in a template allows to update the configuration of all the devices that have that template assigned.

This means that configuration can be defined only once for multiple devices, and if the need to update a specific piece of configuration arises, it can be easily achieved by updating the template.

Template ordering and override

A device can use multiple templates, the order in which templates are assigned to each device matters: templates assigned last can override templates assigned earlier, the order can be changed by drag and dropping the template in the device configuration page as in the animated screenshot below.

Template ordering: drag and drop to change order

The device configuration can also override what is defined in templates.

Overriding means redefining a specific configuration section in a way that overwrites the template.

Overriding involves some form of duplication of information, which is not great, it should be used as a last resort. The recommended way to define parts of the configuration that are specific for each device is to use Configuration variables.

Shared templates vs organization specific

Templates can be organization specific or shared (no organization specified).

Shared templates vs organization specific

Organization specific templates will be available and usable only within the same organization which they are assigned to.

If no organization is specified when creating a template, a shared template will be created, shared templates are available to any organization in the system.

Here are a few typical use cases of shared templates:

  • Management VPN

  • Authorized SSH keys belonging to network administrators

  • Crontab with generic periodic management operations

Default Templates

Templates enabled by default

When templates are flagged as “Enabled by default”, they will be automatically assigned to new devices.

This is a very powerful feature: once default templates are correctly configured to implement the use case you need, you will only have to register a device into OpenWISP for it to auto-configure itself.

Moreover, you can change the default templates any time you need, which is the reason this feature has replaced the practice of storing default configuration in firmware images (which would need to be recompiled and redistributed): with default templates, the default firmware image only needs to contain the bare minimum configuration to connect to OpenWISP, once the device connects to OpenWISP it will download and apply the default templates without the need of manual intervention from the network operators.

An organization specific template flagged as default will be automatically assigned to any new device which will be created in the same organization.

A shared default template instead will be automatically assigned to all the new devices which will be created in the system, regardless of organization.

Required Templates

Required template example

Required templates are similar to Default templates but cannot be unassigned from a device configuration, they can only be overridden.

They will be always assigned earlier than default templates, so they can be overridden if needed.

In the example above, the “SSID” template is flagged as “(required)” and its checkbox is always checked and disabled.

Template tags

Template tags

Default Templates are an incredibly useful tool, but they’re limited: only one set of default templates can be created.

In some cases, you may have multiple set of default settings to use, let’s explain this with a practical example: you may have 2 different device types in your network:

  • Mesh routers: they connect to one another, forming a wireless mesh network

  • Dumb access points: they connect to the mesh routers on the LAN port and offer internet access which is routed via the mesh network by the routers

In this example case, the default configuration to use in each device type can greatly differ.

In such a setup, default templates would only contain configuration which is common to both device types, while configuration which is specific for each type would be stored in specific templates which are then tagged with specific keywords:

  • mesh: tag to use for mesh configuration

  • dumb-ap: tag to use for dumb AP configuration

The openwisp-config configuration of each device type must specify the correct tag before each device registers in the system.

Here’s the sample /etc/config/openwisp configuration for mesh devices:

config controller 'http'
    option url ''
    option shared_secret 'mySharedSecret123'
    option tags 'mesh'

Once devices with the above configuration will register into the system, any template tagged as mesh (as in the screenshot below) will be assigned to them.

Template tags: mesh example

The sample /etc/config/openwisp configuration for dumb access points is the following:

config controller 'http'
    option url ''
    option shared_secret 'mySharedSecret123'
    option tags 'dumb-ap'

Once devices with the above configuration will register into the system, any template tagged as dumb-ap (as in the screenshot below) will be assigned to them.

Template tags: dumb AP example