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Posts Tagged ‘openwrt’

AsiaRF AWM002 Wi-Fi Module and a Tiny IoT Server Kit Get Crowdfunded for $15 and Up

May 30th, 2014 13 comments

VoCore Wi-Fi module selling for $15 to $20, and it’s corresponding VoCore Dock with Ethernet has been quite popular, and at the time of writing, the project has already received $40,000 in funding with 50 more days to go. But if you’d rather get something for the same price, a few months early, and an already FCC/CE certified and proven module and tiny IoT server, AsiaRF has also launched a crowdfunding campaign for their AWM002 Wi-Fi module running OpenWRT on the same Ralink RT5350 found on the VoCore. as well as AWM002 Tiny Kit which adds Ethernet and USB, and a larger board with easier access to all ports and I/Os.

AsiaRF IoT Server with AMW002 Module

AsiaRF AWM002 Tiny Kit with AMW002 Module

As a reminder, let’s go through AWM002 specifications again:

AsiaRF AWM002 Module

AsiaRF AWM002 Module

  • SoC – Mediatek/Ralink RT5350 MIPS 74KEc core @ 360 MHz dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi with data Rate up to 150Mbps, hardware NAT, QoS, TCP/UDP/IP checksum offloading.
  • System Memory – 32 MB
  • Storage – 8MB NAND flash (for firmware)
  • Security – 64/128-bits WEP, TKIP,WPA, WPA2,AES,WPS
  • Multi-modes – AP/Client
  • Antenna – 1x iPex connector (PIFA optional)
  • Transmit Power (EIRP)
    • 11n HT40 MCS7 : +14 dBm
    • 11b CCK: +20 dBm
    • 11g OFDM: +16 dBm
  • Receiver Sensitivity
    • -70dBm at HT40 MCS7
    • -78dBm at 54Mpbs
    • -90dBm at 11Mpbs
  • Headers
    • PIN I – 24-pin with access to GPIOS, 3.3V, 1.2V, GND, UART, USB, Ethernet..
    • PIN II – 16-pin with access to  I2C, I2S, PCM, Ethernet…
  • Power – +3.3V
  • Dimensions – 25x35mm
  • Certifications – FCC/CE
Large Base Board for AWM002 Module

Large Base Board for AWM002 Module

The module is already supported by OpenWRT, and provides access to various I/Os such as GPIOs, I2C, UART and so on. You could develop monitoring, communication or surveillance application, such as adding Wi-Fi to a USB printer, connecting a ZWave USB module to gather data from sensors, Wi-Fi IP Cameras, Wi-Fi speakers, adding Wi-Fi to Arduino, cloud storage servers, and so on.

AsiaRF is looking for $6,000 in funding (flexible funding Indiegogo campaign), and you can pledge as low as $15 (Early bird) for AWM002 module, after which it will be $23. The large base board without module goes for $35, and AWM002 tiny kit (pictures at the top of the post) can be had for $38. There are also perks to pledge for larger quantities, and even have your own RT5350 board being designed. Shipping is included to the US, Canada, Switzerland, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, India, and the Netherlands, and it’s $5 to the rest of the world. The campaign will complete by the end of June, and shipping is scheduled for July.

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Prpl Non-Profit Organization to Work on Linux, Android, and OpenWRT for MIPS based Processors

May 28th, 2014 5 comments

prplIn what looks like an answer, albeit fairly late, to Linaro, the non-profit organization working on open source software for ARM based SoCs, a consortium of companies composed of Imagination Technologies, Broadcom, Cavium, Lantiq, Qualcomm, Ingenic, and a few others, has funded Prpl (pronounced Purple), “an open-source, community-driven, collaborative, non-profit foundation targeting and supporting the MIPS architecture—and open to others—with a focus on enabling next-generation datacenter-to-device portable software and virtualized architectures”.

The Prpl foundation will focus on three key objectives:

  • Portability – To create ISA agnostic software for rapid deployment across multiple architecture
  • Virtualization & security – To enable multi-tenant, secure, software, environments in datacenter, networking & storage, home, mobile and embedded
  • Heterogeneous Computing – To leverage compute resources enabling next generation big data analytics and mining

Initially there will PEG (Prpl Engineering Group) to take of the following projects for 4 market segments (datacenter, network & storage, connected consumers, and Embedded & IoT):

  • Linux -  Optimizations for enterprise, home and embedded Linux.
  • Android – Getting started with Android, and Android source code
  • Developer Tools – Used in conjunction with Android and Linux OS
  • Virtualization & Secure Supervisor – Secure multi-container frameworks
  • OpenWRT – Enabling carrier-grade features to complement OpenWRT
Arduino Yun

Arduino Yun

It also appears some low cost MIPS32 & MIPS64 development board and reference designs will be supported such as Newton wearable platform, Microchip chipKit WF32 board, and Arduino Yun.

Companies can join Prpl as Board Members or Contributors Members, and individuals can join the foundation for free to engage with the community and access source code and tools.

Since the the Prpl foundation has just been launched, there aren’t any tools or software available right now, but if you are interested in MIPS development, and possibly other architecture which may be part of Prpl later on, you can get more information and/or join the foundation on Prpl Foundation Website.

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$15 Open Source Hardware VoCore Wi-Fi Module Runs OpenWRT (Crowdfunding)

May 22nd, 2014 7 comments

There are already low cost Wi-Fi modules that can be used for the Internet of Things such as AsiaRF AWM002 and Hi-Link HLK-RM04. However, AsiaRF mainly caters to companies, and the Hi-Link module has a limited memory (16MB), which may or may not be an issue depending on your application. VoCore Wi-Fi module could prove to be an interesting option as it is the same $15 to $20 price range, runs OpenWRT with 32 MB RAM, will be open source hardware, and provides up to 20 GPIOs in a tiny (25x25mm) form factor.

VoCoreVoCore Wi-Fi module specifications:

  • SoC – Ralink/Mediatek RT5350 MIPS processor @ 360MHz with dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi with data Rate up to 150Mbps
  • System Memory – 32 MB RAM
  • Storage – 8MB SPI Flash (for firmware) / 16 MB on limited edition
  • Available Signals (Via through holes):
    • 10/100M Ethernet
    • USB
    • UART, I2C, SPI
    • I2S, PCM
    • JTAG
    • Over 20 GPIOs
  • Power Pins – 3.3V, 1.8V, GND
  • Power Consumption – 200mA~210mA @ 5V (during ping)
  • Dimensions – 25×25 mm

The developers envisions the device to be used for applications such as Wi-Fi to USB bridges (for printers, scanners…), robot remote controls, portable VPN routers, wireless speakers and more. He also promised to release all hardware design files including schematics, PCB layout, bill of materials, as well as source code for the boot loader and openWRT.

VoCore Module with Dock

VoCore Module with Dock

The project is currently on Indiegogo (fixed funding) where the developer aims to gather at least $6,000 to complete development, and go ahead with mass-production to lower the unit cost of the board. An early bird pledge will allow you to get the board for $15,  after which it will go up to $20, and if you want the VoCore module with the Dock as shown above, you can pledge $40 to get a complete DIY kit (Soldering required) or $45 if you don’t feel like doing the assembly yourself. Shipping is free to the US and China, and an additional $3 anywhere else, with delivery scheduled for September and October depending on the perks.

The project’s progress can be followed on Vonger’s blog.

Thanks to Oliveira for the tip.

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$15 AsiaRF AWM002 & AWM003 Wi-Fi Modules Run OpenWRT, Expose GPIOs

April 28th, 2014 17 comments

This week-end I explained how to build a web server that could be used for automation and other Internet of things applications for less than $15 by combining an Arduino Leonardo with ECN18J60 Ethernet module. The hardware itself is cheap, but it may not always be convenient, or cost effective, to wire your house or office with Ethernet cables. One solution is to use Wi-Fi modules such as TI CC3000 evaluation module, an Electric Imp module, or Ariettea G25 + Wi-Fi board, but these usually cost between $30 to $50 in single quantity. AsiaRF AWM002 and AWM003 are low cost 802.11n Wi-Fi modules with access to GPIOs that could be an interesting alternative as they cost $15 + shipping, and even below $10 in quantities. The only difference between the two is that AWM003 supports more RAM (64MB vs 32MB).

AsiaRF_AWM002Here are the specifications for these modules:

  • SoC – Mediatek/Ralink RT5350 MIPS 74KEc core @ 360 MHz dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi with data Rate up to 150Mbps, hardware NAT, QoS, TCP/UDP/IP checksum offloading.
  • System Memory
    • AWM002 – 32 MB (default), 16MB optional
    • AWM003 – 64MB
  • Storage – 8MB NAND flash (default), options: 16MB, 8MB, and 2MB
  • Security – 64/128-bits WEP, TKIP,WPA, WPA2,AES,WPS
  • Multi-modes – AP/Client
  • Antenna – 1x iPex connector (PIFA optional)
  • Transmit Power (EIRP)
    • 11n HT40 MCS7 : +14 dBm
    • 11b CCK: +20 dBm
    • 11g OFDM: +16 dBm
  • Receiver Sensitivity
    • -70dBm at HT40 MCS7
    • -78dBm at 54Mpbs
    • -90dBm at 11Mpbs
  • Headers
    • PIN I – 24-pin with access to GPIOS, 3.3V, 1.2V, GND, UART, USB, Ethernet..
    • PIN II – 16-pin with access to  I2C, I2S, PCM, Ethernet…
  • Power – +3.3V
  • Dimensions – 25x35mm
  • Certifications – FCC/CE (by request)
AWM002 with Baseboard (Click to Enlarge)

AWM002 Connected to an Evaluation Kit (Click to Enlarge)

Apart from more details specs for AWM002 and AWM003 modules, there’s very little information on the manufacturer website with regards to software support and development. The good thing however is that it’s supported by OpenWRT, so you can run a known Linux distributions found in many low cost routers with the added bonus to have access to GPIOs. Instructions to load and configure the module can be found in the OpenWRT page.

I’ve been informed about these modules thanks to Jon, who happens to have contributed to OpenWRT support for the modules. He also mentioned that the board themselves comply with FCC, but you’d either need to include an FCC compliant antenna made by the company, or have your own certified again by the FCC. He also let us know that a $45 evaluation kit is available (shown above). Alternatively, a board (AP2620-P) powered by Mediatek MT7620 with Wi-Fi, two Ethernet ports, and easy access to GPIOs, I2C, SPI and more… can be purchased for $20 (sample price). The company claims it supports OpenWRT, and although I failed to find an OpenWRT Wiki page for this board, MT7620 is definitely supported by OpenWRT.

The only downside is that AsiaRF does not really cater to individuals. You may be able to get a few samples however. You need to fill a form to order, and shipping costs are not mentioned. Those two RT5350 modules could however be a good base to make low cost hobbyist boards with Wi-Fi and/or Ethernet for the Internet of things.

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$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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