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Installing the FlyNetSim Integrated UAV-Network Simulator under “chroot”

The official GitHub page of FlyNetSim states that the code was originally tested on an Ubuntu 16.04 system with network simulator version 3.27.  Of course, installing some old version of software on a new Linux variant may end up with a lot of software version compatibility issues. Further, installing FlyNetSim under virtual machines also may lead to poor performance. So we try to install FlyNetSim on a “chroot” based Debian installation to achieve near-native performance.


ArduPilot is a trusted, versatile, and open source autopilot system supporting many vehicle types: multi-copters, traditional helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, boats, submarines, rovers and more[3].  A vehicle installed with ArduPilot firmware can be driven with autopilot mode to avoid obstacles even during manual maneuvering of the vehicle, and it is possible to restrict the movement of a vehicle by adopting a predefined path or allowing it to move only within a virtual geo-fence.  So it is assumed that the vehicle which is controlled with ArduPilot is equipped with the standard sensors and controls.


FlyNetSim is a UAV Network Simulator created by combining ns-3 network simulator and Ardupilot based UAV simulator Software-in-the-loop with lightweight Pub/Sub based middleware[1]. So FlyNetSim provides realistic FANET mobility for the ns-3 drone nodes by interacting with ArduPilot.   The overall objective of FlyNetSim is to enable the simulation and evaluation of UAV swarms operating within articulated multi-layered technological ecosystems, such as the Urban Internet of Things[3]. 

Software Reruirements and Dependencies :

  • FlyNetSim code was originally tested on an Ubuntu 16.04 system with network simulator version 3.27.  So all the dependent packages related with ns-3 should be installed before proceeding the installaton of ns-3 and  FlyNetSim.
  • The basic packages needed are : Python2.7, pip, python-dev, gcc.
  • FlyNetSim will also depend on some specific versions of czmq, libzmq, libczmq and libxml

Installation of “Chroot” Environment

This procedure presents the way of installation of on a 64bit Debian 9 (Stretch) which is the original basis of Ubuntu 16.04.  Here I used Debian 9 which was installed in a “chroot” environment.  You may understand and learn a “chroot” based installation of Linux and ns-3 from the following post:

Installing ns3.35 in Debian 10 chroot Jail Under Debian 11 Host OS or any Version of Linux Host

Instalation of FlyNetSim

Step 1: Install the Dependencies

$ apt-get install libzmq5 libzmq-dev libczmq4 libczmq-dev czmq libxml2 libxml2-dev 
$ apt-get install python pip python-dev python-qt4
Note:  you may need to manually clone and install “libzmq” as follows:
$ cd cd /home/your_home
$ git clone libzmq
$ cd libzmq
$ ./configure; make; make install
Step 2: Clone the  FlyNetSim GitHub repo
$ cd /home/your_home
$ git clone

Step 3: Run the FlyNetSim installer script

$ cd /home/your_home/FlyNetSim/NetSim
$ ./
This script will downloads ns-3.27, apply the required FlyNetSim. patches and configures then ns-3 and build it.  At the end of a successful compile of ns-2.27, it will show the newly built modules. But we are not seeing any new module related to FlyNetSim.  It means, FlyNetSim is not integrated as a ns-3 module.
If you get a certificate error during wget step of the installation script, then it can be solved by downloading the appropriate file into the appropriate folder and rerunning the installation script.

Step 4: Downloading and configuring Ardupilot, dronekit and sitl


$ cd /home/your_home/FlyNetSim/FlySim
$ ./
The above script will clone some modules related with Autopilot (not related with ns-3). The following screenshot will show that process of cloning:
While installing this under “chroot” environment, we may end up with some “chroot” related errors :
We may overcome such errors by manually patch the appropriate installation shell script FlyNetSim/FlySim/  and FlyNetSim/FlySim/ardupilot/Tools/environment_install/ so that they will run correctly under “chroot” environment. Further, it may need to run “pip install –upgrade setuptools” before running the
The following screenshot shows a certification error while installing the  ArduPilot and related components:
This certificate error can be solved by downloading the “gcc-arm-none-eabi-10-2020-q4-major-x86_64-linux.tar.bz2” under /opt folder and rerunning the installation script lyNetSim/FlySim/ardupilot/Tools/environment_install/
In that case you may need to manually install dronekit and dronekit-sitl and pyzmq  as follows: 
$ pip install dronekit
$ pip install dronekit-sitl
$ pip install pyzmq


The following screenshot shows the successful installation of  ArduPilot and related components:


Step 5: Testing the Installation by running a Simulation

$ python
If you get xml_path related error then you may set the correct path in the file “”  like : 
xml_path = ‘/home/your-home/FlyNetSim/NetSim/ns-allinone-3.27/ns-3.27’  in the file 
If you installed everything correctly then the above command “python” will open the following :
If the “Arm” button is not enabled, then you may need to use the script “” to start the simulation.
Note: you many needs to edit the ns-3 path in that script according to your installation path
Pressing  “Arm” button will enable the  Takeoff Button and  show the following output :

Some questions that should be answered

  • What is the speciality of this FlyNetSim? why do we need this for a ns-3 based FANET simulation? Only to mimic realistic movement of nodes? What is the exact use of FlyNetSim in a ns-3 simulation-based research? The question is in my mind because, even without this FlyNetSim we can do a good, realistic FANET simulation under ns-3 using NetSimulyzer 3D tool for visualization as explained in the following post: )
  • Further, while running FlyNetSim, nothing happens interesting after pressing the “Takeoff” button – it is just running and running – without any visible progress – What do we have to do for implementing a meaningful simulation-based research with FlyNetSim?
  • How to use this FlyNetSim to get numerical and graphical results and analysis that were achieved in the paper[2]?


  2. Baidya, S., Shaikh, Z., Levorato, M. “FlyNetSim: An Open Source Synchronized UAV Network Simulator based on ns-3 and Ardupilot”. In Proceedings of the 21st ACM International Conference on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Wireless and Mobile Systems (ACM MSWiM).

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