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Posts Tagged ‘openwrt’

$27 TP-LINK TL-MR10U is an Hackable OpenWRT Wi-Fi Router with a Power Bank

September 29th, 2013 3 comments

TP-Link WR703N is a cheap 802.11 b/g/n router (you can now get it for about $20) that can easily be hacked to run openWRT and for example, act as an home automation gateway, printer server and more.  But if you need a battery powered router for your application, TP-Link TL-MR10U,  based on similar hardware as TL-703WR, should be a better match as it comes with a 2600 mAh battery, and costs just about $27 on DealExtreme.

Here are the specifications of the devTPLink_TL-MR10Uice:

  • CPU – Atheros AR9331 CPU @ 400Mhz
  • System Memory – 32MB RAM
  • Storage – 4 MB Flash
  • Connectivity:
    • 10/100 Mbit Ethernet port
    • 802.11 b/g/n 150Mbps
    • 3G support via external USB dongle
  • USB – USB 2.0 port + micro-USB port for power
  • Misc – Serial port access
  • Dimensions – 91mm x 43mm x 25.85mm(L x W x H)

The device comes with a microUSB cable and a user’s manual in English and Chinese.

TP-Link_TL_MR10U_PCB

TL-MR10U Internals (Click to Enlarge)

Instructions to install openWRT, perform hardware mods (including upgrading to 64MB RAM), and more are available on OpenWRT MR10U page. You can also visit TP-Link TL-MR10U page for further details about the product in Chinese.

If you need more battery capacity, another model called TL-MR12U comes with twice as much battery capacity (5200 mAh), but at $42 it does not seem as attractive price-wise.

Arnd who shared this product in G+ mini PC community, also mentioned that it could be used as a SqueezeBox slave when combined with a USB speaker, and after installing squeezeslave-alsa_1.2-r365AA_ar71xx.ipk.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux Tags: Linux, hack, mips, openwrt, router, tplink, wifi

Freescale i.MX6 Based Server Systems – Cornfed CONSERVER and Ventana Network Processing Boards

July 31st, 2013 17 comments

I usually spend most of my time writing about low cost hardware in this blog, but in this post, I’ll deal with higher-end and more expensive devices based on Freescale i.MX6 with Cornfed CONSERVER Server System and corresponding CONSERVER motherboard, as well as Ventana Network Processing Boards.

Cornfed CONSERVER

Conserver is a low power high-performance ARM processor server system based on Freescale i.MX6 with 4GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and SATA.

Cornfed_CONSERVERThe hardware specifications are as follows:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX6Q Quad Core ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory – 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – ?? GB NAND Flash + 1x SATA2 connector for HDD/SSD
  • Connectivity – 1x Gb Ethernet port
  • USB – 4x USB Host ports
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI port
  • Misc – RS-232 Serial port
  • Power Supply – 35W Internal AC Power Supply
  • Dimensions – Mini-ITX form factor

The system is preloaded with Ubuntu, and can be customized with wireless connectivity, or DC power supply, and mounted via DIN rail or Vesa mounting system.

Cornfed CONSERVER Motherboard (Click to Enlarge)

Cornfed CONSERVER Motherboard (Click to Enlarge)

You may think “This is the system I’ve been waiting for!”, until you actually have to pay the bill, as CONSERVER server system costs $649. If you only need the motherboard, you can get it for $449. There’s also just a 30-day warranty… [Update: The price has been lowered to $579 for a full system with 4 GB DDR3 and a 1 TB 7200 RPM hard drive, the motherboard is now available for $349 with power supply, and warranty has been extended to 60 days]. Further information is available at cornfedservers.com

Ventana Network Processing Boards

Ventana network processing boards by Gateworks Corp are a bit different as they offer one or more Gigabit Ethernet ports, mini PCie slots, and they are industrial grade boards. All the six SBC computers for network processing are based on Freescale i.MX6 processors, but the low-end model starts with a dual-core processor @ 800MHz with one mini-PCIe slot, and the best performing model features a quad-core processor @ 1GHz board with 6 mini-PCIe slots, and high definition video support.

Ventana GW5410 (Click to Enlarge)

Ventana GW5410 (Click to Enlarge)

The six boards can be differentiated as follows:

  • GW5100 – i.MX6 Dual @ 800MHz, 512MB RAM (default), 1x GbE, 1x Mini-PCIe, 35 x 100mm
  • GW5200 – i.MX6 Dual @ 800MHz, 512MB RAM (default), 1x GbE, 1x mSATA, 2x Mini-PCIe, 70 x 100mm
  • GW5300 – i.MX6 Quad @ 1GHz, 1GB RAM (default), 1x GbE, 1x mSATA, 4x mini-PCIe, 105 x 100mm
  • GW5310 – Same as GW5300 but without video/audio support
  • GW5400 – i.MX6 Quad @ 1GHz, 1GB RAM (default), 1x GbE, 1x mSATA, 6x mini-PCIe, 140 x 100mm
  • GW5410 – Same as GW5410 but without video/audio support

and they share the following specifications:

  • SoC- Freescale i.MX6 Dual @ 800MHz, or i.MX6 Quad @ 1GHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB to 2GB (GW5100 and GW5200) or 4GB (for Others boards)
  • Storage – 256 MB Flash upgradeable to 2GB (all) + mSATA and microSD card slot (except GW5100)
  • Cellular Support – Built-in modem for GW5100, 1x SIM Socket for GW5200, 2x for GW53x0, and 3x for GW54x0
  • Mini-PCIe slots – 1x for GW5100, 2x for  GW5200, 4x for GW53x0, 6x for GW54x0. More with expansion board.
  • Connectivity – 1 to 2 Gb Ethernet ports. More with expansion board.
  • Video/Audio ports – HDMI out, CVBS in (All models), GW5200 adds LVDS out and mic/speaker, GW53x0 boards add HDMI in and CVBS out on top of that, and GW54x0 boards also support component output.
  • I/O ports:
    • Serial – TTL, RS232 and RS485 (exact configuration depends on model)
    • Digital I/O
    • USB – 1x OTG (all) + 1x USB Host on GW5300 and greater
  • Misc – RTC with battery,  voltage & temperature monitor; 3D accelerometer/magnetometer (except for GW5100), optional GPS receiver, PoE support, etc…
  • Power Supply – 8 to 42V for GW5100, 8 to 60V for others.
  • Typical power consumption – 2 to 5 Watts depending on model
  • Operating Temperature – -40 to +85C

The company provides OpenWrt and OpenEmbedded Linux Board Support Packages (BSP) for the boards.

Ventana GW5400 and GW5410 (Without audio/video part) Block Diagram

Ventana GW5400 and GW5410 (Without audio/video part) Block Diagram

If you feel you don’t have enough ports such as mini-PCIe slots or Ethernet ports, the company provides the following expansion modules:

  • GW16081 Mini-PCIe Expansion Module – 7x Mini-PCIe. LinuxGizmos reports 3x boards can be stacked to get 24x extra Mini-PCIe slots
  • GW16082 Mini-PCI Expansion Module – 4x Mini-PCI
  • GW16083 GbE Expansion Module – 4x Gigabit Ethernet
  • GW16084 Fiber SFP Expansion Module – 2x SFP Fiber cage

Ventana GW5400 and GW5410 boards and corresponding development kits are available now, GW5100/GW5200 will be available in Q3, and GW5300/5310 boards in Q4.  GW16081 mini-PCIe, and GW16082 Mini-PCI expansion boards appear to be available now, whereas Gb Ethernet and Fiber expansions modules will be available in Q4. Pricing can be provided upon request. You can checkout Gateworks Ventana products table for further details.

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$79 Plug Makes Creating Your Own Cloud Easy

July 13th, 2013 21 comments

The “Plug” is a device with an Ethernet connection, and a USB port that allows you to connect up to 8 USB drives, and access those in a unified fashion from all your devices. It’s a bit like dropbox, except you are in charge, and the price per GB is much cheaper than cloud services. The Cloud Guys have launched a kickstarter campaign that has already received over $220,000 in pledges after just over two days.

The Plug technical specifications are as follows:

  • OpenWRT based Embedded Linux
  • x86 compatible processor
  • Port for your hard drive -  USB 2.0
  • Port for Internet – Ethernet port 10/100 Mbps
  • Average transfer speed: 30 Mbps
  • Supported file systems: NTFS, HFS+, Ext3/Ext4, FAT32
  • Number of drives supported (using an external USB hub): 8
  • LED Display: Power/ Action
  • Dimensions – 270mm (W) x 110mm (D) x 20mm (H) (This must be wrong as it seems way too big compared to the picture shown in the video) 70 mm (L) x 35 mm (W) x 25 mm (H).
  • Weight – 200gOperation Environment – -17 to 35 °C
  • Storage Environment – -17 to 49 °C
  • US or EU power adapter 110V/220V (included)
  • Ethernet cable (included)

When you watch the promo video above, it does seem like a neat solution, but functionalities do not look that much different from what you could achieve with something like OwnCloud. The developers, however, explain it’s different, as “Plug manages all of your data for you. Not only the contents of a specific folder”.

Nevertheless, it appears to be a good solution for people that are not technically inclined. You just need to install an app on your devices, connect the Plug to your router via an Ethernet cable, connect an hard drive to the USB port of the plug, power the device, and you’re good to go.

Cloud_Guys_Plug

Main advantages of this system according to the developers:

  • It’s cheaper: Plug is not a service. You pay once, it’s yours.
  • It’s larger: Plug is designed to store your entire digital life.
  • It’s faster: if you’re at Home, transfer speed is 60x faster.
  • It’s safer: you can backup all of your content, not only part of it. Privately for free. Remotely for less than $5/month.
  • It’s yours: it’s your own storage. Not a company’s, not a government’s.

The last point may partly explain the success of their campaign as PRISM media coverage may have people thinking about not storing their data on third party services. Communication between devices takes place via a private and encrypted VPN (asymmetric encryption based on RSA-2048/SHA-1 keys).

All your files are storages in the hard drive, unless you want to make them available Offline. You can also share folders with others. One important limitation is that the Plug only supports one user, and multiple users (aka family) support is planned for later, a few months after shipment.

You can pledge $69, plus $10 for shipping to anywhere in the world, to get the Plug (hopefully) delivered to your door in December 2013. Beside the Kickstarter page, there should eventually be more information available on http://meetplug.com.

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$69 Linux Powered Arduino Yún Board is Designed for the Cloud

May 19th, 2013 No comments

Massimo Banzi announced the Arduino Yún, the first of a  family of Wi-Fi products combining Arduino with Linux, at the Maker Faire Bay Area. The company used the name Yún (云), meaning “cloud” in Chinese, as the purpose of this board to allow connection to web services directly from Arduino.

Arduino Yun

Arduino Yun Specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel ATMega32u4 @ 16 MHz (same as the one used in Leonardo board) with 2.5KB SRAM and 32KB flash
  • SoC – Atheros AR9331 MIPS-based Wi-Fi SoC running Linino, Arduino’s own Linux distribution based on OpenWRT. It’s the same chipset as in TP-Link WR703N router.
  • Storage – microSD card slot
  • USB – micro USB connector + full USB host port
  • Connectivity – Ethernet + Wi-Fi
  • 14 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs)

Arduino_Yun_BackArduino Yún ATMega32u4 can be programmed as a standard Arduino board by plugging it to your computer with the micro USB connector, or via Wi-Fi.

The company explains that during Yún first boot, it acts as an Access Point, and creates “Arduino”  Wi-Fi network. So you can simply open its configuration page into your browser, and set-up the Wi-Fi network name, security type, and password.

Arduino created a Bridge library which delegates all network connections and processing of HTTP transactions to the Atheros chip running Linux, so you can link the Atmel MCU to Linux, launching programs and scripts, passing them parameters (sensor readings for example) and reading their output with your own sketches. Since Linino is a customized version of  OpenWRT, shell and Python scripts are supported out-of-the-box, and you can install open source software and tools that are already working in OpenWRT.

Over one hundred APIs will be available thanks to Temboo, and developers will have access to  multiple platforms such as  Twitter, Facebook, FedEx or PayPal, from a single point of contact.

Arduino Yún should be available at the end of June for 69$.

Via Greg Kroah-Hartman

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$14 Marstek MPR-N9 WiFi/3G Router with 2,400 mAh Battery

January 14th, 2013 15 comments

One of my readers (Onebir) brought Poray M3 mini Router to my attention a few days ago, as it just cost $17 at the time (now over $20) and OpenWRT developer Squonk seems very interested about it since it features microSD and SD card slots missing in TL-WR703N. However, the device only has 16 MB memory which makes it somewhat difficult to run OpenWRT, or at least some of its features.

But today, I’m not going to talk about this. Mentions of Poray M3 router came in HAME MPR-A1 OpenWRT forum thread, and I discovered a new (to me) type of low cost, small form factor device: portable Wi-Fi/3G routers. Those devices are about the size of android mini-PC and contain the chips to handle Wi-Fi, USB host (for external 3G dongle), and comes with a built-in battery so that you can use them anywhere (beach, mountain, car…), as long as there is 3G coverage. You can also use them as a battery bank for your mobile phone. HAME MPR-A1 is built around Ralink RT5350 (like Poray M3), comes with a 1,800 mAh battery, has some limited support for OpenWRT (Wi-Fi experimental support just hit github a few hours ago), and costs about $24 on DealExtreme. You can also get it for around $19 on Aliexpress.

If you haven’t come across this type of device before, you may want to have a look at HAME MPR-A1 video review  below (~10 minutes) to find out what it’s capable of, and have a look at the user interface.

I’ve been searching for the cheapest Wi-Fi/3G router with built-in battery, and Marstek MPR-N9 router is the cheapest I could find at $13.90 on Aliexpress from a seller that has decent feedback.Marstek MPR-N9

I could not find the processor used in the device, but the key features are as follows:

  • Wi-Fi – 802.11b/g/n (150Mbps)
  • Ethernet – 10/100 Mbit port used as WAN or LAN
  • 3G – Supports HSPA/HSPA+,EVDO A/B, TD-SCDMA dongles
  • USB – Micro USB plug for charging + standard USB port for 3G dongles
  • Battery – 2,400 mAh (Working time: 4-6 hours; Standby time:10 hours)
  • Dimensions – 6.1×2.3×1.5cm
  • Weight – 71g

The package includes the router, a USB cable and a user manual. The router is said to support up to 20 users simultaneously, and can be used as an external battery for devices that can be charged via an USB OTG port. Please note that the seller indicates a 2,400 mAh battery in the title and picture, but 1,800 mAh in the description. Other sites all indicate 2,400 mAh for MPR-A9. One user has reported that many 3G dongles appear to work with this router, but Huawei E173 Evo 3G dongle does not work, although it works fine when connected with MPR-A1.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux, Video Tags: 3G, Linux, marstek, openwrt, router, wifi

TP-Link WR703N – $23 Hackable openWRT Wi-Fi 802.11N Router

July 19th, 2012 17 comments

TP-Link WR703N is a tiny 802.11N 150 Mbps Wi-Fi router smaller than a credit card (5.7 x 5.7 cm) and 1.8 cm thick based on Atheros AR7240 processor with 4 MB flash and 32 MB RAM. It costs just above $20 US and can be hacked with openWRT. It features one USB host connector that allows you to connect USB devices (USB flash drive, printer…) to it.

Low cost openWRT router

TP-Link TL-WR703N

TL-WR703N Specifications:

  • Atheros AR7240 CPU @ 400Mhz (MIPS24k core)
  • Atheros AR9331 Chipset (integrated wireless)
  • 10/100 Mbit Ethernet port
  • 802.11 b/g/n 150Mbps
  • 3G support via external USB dongle
  • 4 MB flash memory
  • 32 MB RAM
  • USB 2.0 port
  • micro-USB port for power
  • Dimension – 5.7 x 5.7 x 1.8 cm

All you need is a USB to TLL board to access the serial console, open the box to access the serial pins (TP_IN and TP_OUT) and follow the instructions on openWRT website to convert it into a Linux router.

You can do all sort of things with this board such as an home automation system, a printer server (there may be limits to the document size due to the lack of memory), a sensors gateway and more. It is powered via USB and only consumes 0.5W on average.

The router is available for $23 including shipping on Dealextreme, Aliexpress and eBay, and comes with a power supply and a micro USB to USB cable. You can get further information on the device on TP-Link website (in Chinese).

Via DangerousPrototypes

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Categories: Hardware, Linux Tags: Linux, hack, mips, openwrt, router, tplink, wifi