Installing Multicast Beacon

Beacon is a useful tool to help you debug your multicasting problems. It provides useful information regarding a particular multicasting group’s connection activity.


The following guide demonstrates how to configure your node for the ASIA-PACIFIC Aarnet beacon server. For UK nodes please use and other Global nodes, please use

  • The easiest way to install the beacon software is to use the yum package manager which is included with Fedora. The beacon software is now included within the Access Grid repository for Fedora 8.

  • Start up "Terminal" and switch to superuser.

  • Issue the command:

yum install beacon

  • It will proceed to install the beacon server package. It will ask "Is this ok [y/n]" at some point. Just hit "y" to continue. This should only take a minute.

  • After installing the beacon software, the configuration file for beacon will require some changes to be made to work correctly with the Aarnet beacon server (or any other beaconserver). This configuration file informs beacon where to look for the server, locations of files, contact details and various other types of information. Edit the file /etc/beacon.conf. The following lines within the configuration files are listed below that requires modification. You may also be required to uncomment any lines that are currently commented out.:

CONTACTNAME = Insert Your Name Here
CONTACTINFO = Insert Your Phone No. Here

CONTACTLOCATION = Insert Your Location Here
NOTIFYEMAIL = Insert Your Email Address Here
OUTPUTDIR = /var/lib/beacon

You must also comment out the last line, STOPME.

Now save and exit beacon.conf.

  • You should now be able to run the beacon software. As super-user type ‘service beacon start’ in the terminal. This should start up the software as a service.

  • It should now display some text and the last line will be “Go to to see this Beacon’s output’. If this isn’t the case then you have an error.

  • To view the results, visit Your computer should appear on the webpage within a few minutes.

  • To ensure the beacon is started upon "boot-up", issue the command chkconfig beacon on.

  • To check that the beacon service had been added, issue the command chkconfig --list beacon. The service should be "on" for 2,3,4 and 5.

Starting, Stopping and Restarting the Beacon Service

  • To start the beacon service, simply issue the command:

service beacon start

  • To restart the beacon service, simply issue the command:

service beacon restart

  • To stop the beacon service, simply issue the command:

service beacon stop

Running multiple instances of beacon

The following script can be used to start multiple instances of beacon.

# Start/stop/restart the multicast beacons
# Assume backgrounding has been enabled in configuration file


beacon_start() {
# DAST beacon
cd ${BEACON_HOME} && /usr/bin/beacon --outputdir ${BEACON_HOME} \
--group \

# Grangenet beacon
cd ${GRANGENET_HOME} && /usr/bin/beacon --outputdir ${GRANGENET_HOME} \
--group --port 10002 \

beacon_stop() {
cd ${BEACON_HOME} && kill -HUP `cat multicastbeacon.PID`
cd ${GRANGENET_HOME} && kill -HUP `cat multicastbeacon.PID`

beacon_restart() {
sleep 1

case "$1" in
echo "usage $0 start|stop|restart"

# End of beacon startup script

You will notice that the an instance of beacon will connect to both the "DAST beaconsever" and the "GRANGENET beaconserver".

You could change the --outputdir, --group and --centralservername variable to which ever server you wish to connect to.

To ensure you can execute the newly created shell scripts, execute the following command:

chmod a+x

Special thanks to Chris Willing (UQ) who orginally supplied the script file.


Special thanks to Douglas Kosovic (UQ) and Greg Wickham (Aarnet) who helped to create the init.d scripts and adding the beacon software to the Access Grid repository.

This ends this installation guide to beacon v1.3. For more information on beacon software, please visit this website.

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