How I Quadrupled Internet Speed in a Resort Room… with a Rope

Quadruple internet speed

I just temporarily moved into a room, or more exactly a small bungalow, and with my line of work I kind of need decent internet. I was told they had “WiFi”, and when I tried it out, I could log in fine, but the speed was pretty dismissal. I repeated the test close to the router and it achieved speeds I could easily live with. I happened to have a repeater with me, but it did not help as the only place I could plug was just outside my room, right under a roof, and performance was even worse (around 1 Mbps). So I had a closer look at the router installation, about 10 meters from my room, and realized it was basically stuck under a roof, which should block signals somewhat, but I’m just not sure how much… So I moved the router down, letting it hang by its power cord for testing… That means there was basically line-of-sight …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation Enables Native Arm Development

Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation

Over the last few years, several companies have come up with 64-bit Arm workstation to allow developers to test Arm code natively which may be important to avoid network delays or test applications requiring video or graphics. Those started to become available in 2018 from the relatively low-end  24-core Cortex-A53 Linaro “Synquacer” Developerbox to the much more powerful (and expensive) GIGABYTE ThunderXStation Workstation powered by up to two 32-core ThunderX2 processors. In the fall of 2019, SolidRun started to ship HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation motherboard with and NXP LX2160A 16-core Cortex-A72 processor that offers significantly more performance than the Linaro Box at a reasonable price ($750). While reading a recent Anandtech post with photos of an engineering sample, I found out Avantek was also offering the Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation powered by an Ampere eMAG 8180 32-core server processor. Ampere eMAG 64-bit Arm workstation specifications: SoC – Ampere eMAG 8180 32-core Armv8 processor @ 2.8GHz / 3.3 GHz …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Getting Started with Qoitech Otii Developer Tool using ESP8266 and Raspberry Pi 4 Boards

Qoitech Otii Arc Raspberry Pi 4

Last month, I received Qoitech Otii Arc power supply, power meter, and DAQ unit that aims at helping hardware and software engineers develop energy-efficient products. I’ve now had time to test the unit with an ESP8266 board and Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, so I’ll show how to get started and my overall experience with the hardware and program. Requirements and Initial Setup The unit takes a 9V power supply or micro USB adapter as power input, but power output is done through banana plugs. I did not have any cables with banana plugs so I bought one on eBay for about $5 shipped. This cable is really convenient with output to USB (female connector), crocodile clips, and hook clips. However, as we’ll see below it may not be suitable for all types of loads, and you may have to make your own with a higher rated cable. You’ll need to download Otii program available for Windows 10 / 7 64-bit, …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

HeimVision HM241 NVR Review – Part 2: Installation Tips, Video Interface, Android App

HeimVision HM241 4-ch Camera NVR

A coupled of weeks ago, I received HeimVision HM241 HD NVR kit, and in the first part of the review, I showed the content of the kit, installed an internal 3.5″ hard drive, and did a teardown of both the NVR and one camera. I’ve now had time to test the device for about two weeks. I have plans to install it permanently in another location, but for testing, I temporarily installed the camera for testing in several strategic locations: 3 outdoors, one indoors. Back inside, I connected the NVR device (black box below) to an Ethernet switch for Internet connectivity, a 4K TV to access the user interface, a USB mouse, and the power supply. First Boot and Configuration I was quite surprised during the first boot as I did not have to set up anything and the cameras were automatically detected. The first screen shows QR code for the Android and iOS apps, as well as the Cloud …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

MediaTek Caught Cheating but Says Benchmarks Just Represent Peak Performance

MediaTek Cheating

Silicon vendors have been cheating in benchmarks for years, mostly by detecting when popular benchmarks run and boost the performance of their processors without regard to battery life during the duration of the test in order to deliver the best possible score. There was a lot of naming and shaming a few years back, and we did not hear much about benchmarks cheating in the last couple of years, but Anandtech discovered MediaTek was at it again while comparing results between Oppo Reno3 Europe (MediaTek Helio P95) and China (MediaTek Dimensity 1000L) with the older P95 model delivering much higher performance contrary to expectations. Cheating was suspected, so they contact UL to provide an anonymized version of PCMark so that the firmware could not detect the benchmark was run. Here are the before and after results. As noted by Anandtech, the differences are really stunning: a 30% difference in the overall score, with up to a 75% difference in individual …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

DragonBoard 845c Android (AOSP) Reference Board Supports Open Source Graphics, Mainline Kernel

Robotics DragonBoard 845c AOSP

Besides the obvious Google Pixel and Nexus devices supported by AOSP (Android Open Source Project), we previously covered some single board computers that were also officially supported by the project with Hikey and Hikey 960 Android reference boards. Linaro Consumer Group (LCG) has just written about Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 based Dragonboard 845c board. It has been now an official Android reference board for a few months now, and it is the first such board with an open-source graphics stack thanks to Freedreno graphics driver and mesa framework. Since no proprietary blobs are required, the board’s full functionality can also be upstreamed into the mainline kernel, and Linaro currently uses the board as a test target for validating the mainline kernel and stable updates. Here’s a reminder of the board’s hardware specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with 8x custom 64-bit ARMv8 CPUs up to 2.8 GHz, Adreno 630 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2 + AEP, DX next, Vulkan …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

How to Build KiCad on Ubuntu 18.04 / 20.04 and Import Altium PCB Files

BeagleBone Black Altium KiCad

KiCad open-source EDA (Electronics Design Automation) suite software is now very popular, and many new projects are designed with the utility. AFAIK, some companies like Olimex switched all their new designs to KiCAD. But since many schematics and PCB layouts have been designed with other tools like EAGLE, Orcad Allegro, or Altium PCB design tools, it would be nice to be able to import those designs into KiCad. Converters have been around for a long time but when I tried to convert Beagleboard-xM OrCAD schematics to import them in KiCAD back in 2012, the results were really awful and unusable. But I recently saw a tweet saying it’s now possible to import Altium files into KiCAD. Finally, importing #altium boards into #kicad is only one click away (in the developer version). This allows to view and edit #opensource #hardware which was designed with #proprietary software, and thus, in fact, not open for everyone. — Thomas Pointhuber (@Chaos_Robotic) April 4, …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

HeimVision HM241 HD NVR Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Teardown and HDD Installation

HM241 HD NVR Kit

I’ve reviewed a few solar-powered security cameras in the last year, and from time to time, I’m being asked to review more from time to time, but I asked for a change, and instead, I wanted to look into security network video recorders (NVR). HeimVision offered this opportunity with its HM241 HD NVR Kit which they also call a “wireless security camera system”, and comes with 4 Full HD security cameras besides the NVR itself. In the first part of the review, I’ll check out the hardware, and take the opportunity to install a 3.5″ hard drive, before doing a proper installation, and report my experience about the software in one or two extra articles. HM241 HD NVR Kit Unboxing People working at customs seem to be fond of larger packages, checked it out in details hence the “Opened and Releases” sticker on the package,  and I had to pay customs duties. Let’s check out the NVR first. The front …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon