ZeroTier tunnel automation

In this guide we will explore how to set up the automatic management of ZeroTier tunnels.

How to setup ZeroTier Tunnels

Follow the procedure described below to setup ZeroTier tunnels on your devices.

Note: This example uses Shared systemwide (no organization) option as the organization for VPN server and VPN client template. You can use any organization as long as VPN server, VPN client template and Device has same organization.

1. Configure Self-Hosted ZeroTier Network Controller

Currently, OpenWISP doesn’t support the management of ZeroTier Central Controllers and only supports self-hosted ZeroTier controllers. If you haven’t already set up a self-hosted ZeroTier network controller on your server, now is a good time to do so. You can start by simply installing ZeroTier package on your server from the official website.

2. Create VPN server configuration for ZeroTier

  1. Visit /admin/config/vpn/add/ to add a new VPN server.

  2. We will set Name of this VPN server ZeroTier and Host as (update this to point to your ZeroTier VPN server).

  3. Select ZeroTier from the dropdown as VPN Backend.

  4. When using ZeroTier, OpenWISP takes care of managing IP addresses (assigning an IP address to each VPN clients (Zerotier network members). You can create a new subnet or select an existing one from the dropdown menu.You can also assign an Internal IP to the Zerotier controller or leave it empty for OpenWISP to configure. This IP address will be used to assign it to the Zerotier controller running on the server.

  5. Set the Webhook AuthToken, this will be ZeroTier authorization token which you can obtain by running the following command on the ZeroTier controller:

    sudo cat /var/lib/zerotier-one/authtoken.secret
ZeroTier VPN server configuration example 1 ZeroTier VPN server configuration example 2 ZeroTier VPN server configuration example 3 ZeroTier VPN server configuration example 4
  1. After clicking on Save and continue editing, OpenWISP automatically detects the node address of the Zerotier controller and creates a Zerotier network. The network_id of this network can be viewed in the System Defined Variables section, where it also provides internal IP address information.

ZeroTier VPN server configuration example 5

3. Create VPN client template for ZeroTier VPN Server

  1. Visit /admin/config/template/add/ to add a new template.

  2. Set ZeroTier Client as Name (you can set whatever you want) and select VPN-client as type from the dropdown list.

  3. The Backend field refers to the backend of the device this template can be applied to. For this example, we will leave it to OpenWRT.

  4. Select the correct VPN server from the dropdown for the VPN field. Here it is ZeroTier.

  5. Ensure that the Automatic tunnel provisioning option is checked. This will enable OpenWISP to automatically provision an IP address and ZeroTier identity secrets (used for assigning member IDs) for each ZeroTier VPN client.

  6. After clicking on Save and continue editing button, you will see details of ZeroTier VPN server in System Defined Variables. The template configuration will be automatically generated which you can tweak accordingly. We will use the automatically generated VPN client configuration for this example.

Note: OpenWISP uses zerotier-idtool to manage ZeroTier identity secrets. Please make sure that you have ZeroTier package installed on the server.

ZeroTier VPN client template example

4. Apply ZeroTier VPN template to devices

Note: This step assumes that you already have a device registered on OpenWISP. Register or create a device before proceeding.

  1. Open the Configuration tab of the concerned device.

  2. Select the ZeroTier Client template.

  3. Upon clicking the Save and Continue Editing button, you will see entries in the System Defined Variables section. These entries will include member_id, identity_secret, and the internal IP address of the ZeroTier client (network member) on the device, along with details of the VPN server.

ZeroTier VPN device configuration example 1
  1. Once the configuration is successfully applied to the device, you will notice a new ZeroTier interface that is up and running. This interface will have the name owzt89f498 (where owzt is followed by the last six hexadecimal characters of the ZeroTier network ID).

ZeroTier VPN device configuration example 2

Voila! You have successfully configured OpenWISP to manage ZeroTier tunnels for your devices.