LXMF client for Android, Linux and macOS allowing you to communicate with people or LXMF-compatible systems over Reticulum networks using LoRa, Packet Radio, WiFi, I2P, or anything else Reticulum supports.
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Sideband is an extensible LXMF messaging client, situational awareness tracker and remote control and monitoring system for Android, Linux, macOS and Windows. It allows you to communicate with other people or LXMF-compatible systems over Reticulum networks using LoRa, Packet Radio, WiFi, I2P, Encrypted QR Paper Messages, or anything else Reticulum supports.


Sideband is completely free, end-to-end encrypted, permission-less, anonymous and infrastructure-less. Sideband uses the peer-to-peer and distributed messaging system LXMF. There is no sign-up, no service providers, no "end-user license agreements", no data theft and no surveillance. You own the system.

This also means that Sideband operates differently than what you might be used to. It does not need a connection to a server on the Internet to function, and you do not have an account anywhere. Please read the Guide section included in the program, to get an understanding of how Sideband differs from other messaging systems.

Sideband provides many useful and interesting functions, such as:

  • Secure and self-sovereign messaging using the LXMF protocol over Reticulum.
  • Image and file transfers over all supported mediums.
  • Secure and direct P2P telemetry and location sharing. No third parties or servers ever have your data.
  • Situation display on both online and locally stored offline maps.
  • Geospatial awareness calculations.
  • Exchanging messages through encrypted QR-codes on paper, or through messages embedded directly in lxm:// links.
  • Using Android devices as impromptu Reticulum routers (Transport Instances), for setting up or extending networks easily.
  • Remote command execution and response engine, with built-in commands, such as ping, signal reports and echo.
  • Remote telemetry querying, with strong, secure and cryptographically robust authentication and control.
  • Plugin system that allows you to easily create your own commands, services and telemetry sources.

Sideband works well with the terminal-based LXMF client Nomad Network, which allows you to easily host Propagation Nodes for your LXMF network, and more.

Installation On Linux, Android and MacOS

For your Android devices, you can install Sideband through F-Droid, by adding the Between the Borders Archive Repo, or you can download an APK on the latest release page. Both sources are signed with the same release keys, and can be used interchangably.

A DMG file containing a macOS app bundle is also available on the latest release page.

Aditionally, you can install Sideband with pip on Linux and macOS:

# Install Sideband and dependencies on Linux
pip install sbapp

# Install Sideband and dependencies on macOS
pip install "sbapp[macos]"

# Run it

If you are using an operating system that blocks normal user package installation via pip, you can return pip to normal behaviour by editing the ~/.config/pip/pip.conf file, and adding the following directive in the [global] section:

break-system-packages = true

Alternatively, you can use the pipx tool to install Sideband in an isolated environment instead:

# Install Sideband on Linux
pipx install sbapp

# Install Sideband on macOS
pip install "sbapp[macos]"

# Optionally install Reticulum utilities
pipx install rns

# Optionally install standalone LXMF utilities
pipx install lxmf

Installation On Windows

It is possible to install and run Sideband on Windows, although some features are not fully functional. If you don't already have Python installed, download and install the latest version of Python.

Important! When asked by the installer, make sure to add the Python program to your PATH environment variables. If you don't do this, you will not be able to use the pip installer, or run the sideband command.

When Python has been installed, you can open a command prompt and install sideband via pip:

pip install sbapp

The Sideband application can now be launched by running the command sideband in the command prompt.

Most importantly, the AutoInterface in Reticulum is not yet supported on Windows. This means that on the first run, Sideband will not be able to automatically find any peers or potential Reticulum Transport Nodes you have on your local network.

When running Sideband for the first time, a default Reticulum configuration file will be created, if you don't already have one. You will have to edit this file, located at C:\Users\USERNAME\.reticulum\config and manually add an interface that provides connectivity to a wider network. If you just want to connect over the Internet, you can add one of the public hubs on the Reticulum Testnet.

Example Paper Message

You can try out the paper messaging functionality by using the following QR-code. It is a paper message sent to the LXMF address 6b3362bd2c1dbf87b66a85f79a8d8c75. To be able to decrypt and read the message, you will need to import the following base32-encoded Reticulum Identity into the app:


You can import the identity into Sideband in the Encryption Keys part of the program. After the you have imported the identity, you can scan the following QR-code and open it in the app, where it will be decrypted and added to your messages.

You can also find the entire message in this link:


On operating systems that allow for registering custom URI-handlers, you can click the link, and it will be decoded directly in your LXMF client. This works with Sideband on Android.

Support Sideband Development

You can help support the continued development of open, free and private communications systems by donating via one of the following channels:

  • Monero:
  • Ethereum
  • Bitcoin
  • Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/markqvist

Development Roadmap

  • Secure and private location and telemetry sharing
  • Including images in messages
  • Sending file attachments
  • Offline and online maps
  • Paper messages
  • Using Sideband as a Reticulum Transport Instance
  • Encryption keys export and import
  • Plugin support for commands, services and telemetry
  • Sending voice messages (using Codec2 and Opus)
  • Implementing the Local Broadcasts feature
  • LXMF sneakernet functionality
  • Network visualisation and test tools
  • A debug log viewer
  • Better message sorting mechanism
  • Fix I2P status not being displayed correctly when the I2P router disappears unexpectedly
  • Adding a Linux .desktop file
  • Adding a Nomad Net page browser


Unless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Permission is hereby granted to use Sideband in binary form, for any and all purposes, and to freely distribute binary copies of the program, so long as no payment or compensation is charged or received for such distribution or use.

Device screenshots generated with deviceframes. Thanks!