How to set up OpenThread Border Router on Ubuntu

The OpenThread Border Router (OTBR) is an open source Thread Border Router implementation.

A Thread Border Router acts as a gateway between Thread and other IP networks (e.g. WiFi, Ethernet).

In this how to, we will go through the steps to quickly setup OTBR on Ubuntu.


In order to setup OTBR, we need a Radio Co-Processor (RCP) and another IP networking interface such as WiFi or Ethernet.

Moving forward, the assumption is to have the RCP available as a device at /dev/ttyACM0.

We use the (unofficial) OTBR Snap because it makes the setup, configuration, and maintenance significantly simpler. Let’s get started:

Install the OTBR snap

Install the latest version from the Snap Store:

sudo snap install openthread-border-router


Pre-release versions of OpenThread Border Router are available in different channels.

Grant access to resources

Install the dependencies:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install bluez avahi-daemon

Connect the following interfaces:

# Allow setting up the firewall
sudo snap connect openthread-border-router:firewall-control
# Allow access to USB Thread Radio Co-Processor (RCP)
sudo snap connect openthread-border-router:raw-usb
# Allow setting up the networking
sudo snap connect openthread-border-router:network-control
# Allow controlling the Bluetooth devices
sudo snap connect openthread-border-router:bluetooth-control

# Allow device discovery over Bluetooth Low Energy
sudo snap connect openthread-border-router:bluez
# Allow DNS-SD registration and discovery
sudo snap connect openthread-border-router:avahi-control

Configure the OTBR snap

The configurations are set via Snap Configuration Options and passed on the services.

First, check the default configurations:

$ sudo snap get openthread-border-router
Key        Value
autostart  false
infra-if   wlan0
radio-url  spinel+hdlc+uart:///dev/ttyACM0
thread-if  wpan0

Then, override them based on the local setup.

For example, if the networking interface is eth0, change it as follows:

snap set openthread-border-router infra-if="eth0"

Start OTBR

With everything configured, we can now start and enable the services:

sudo snap start --enable openthread-border-router

Use the following command to query and follow the logs:

snap logs -n 100 -f openthread-border-router