Topic: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

I think that many of you must have experienced this problem. You travel with your PC, iPad and your smartphone.
You check in at the hotel and luckily they have wifi access.  But the downside is that you can only connect one device to the hotel wifi service (because they just give you one wifi password or they charge you pr device).

I have been thinking about finding a small travel router that I can set up in my hotel room. Then have this router connect to the hotel wifi. Then all my other gadgets can connect to the travel router.

Say the hotel wifi (SSID=hotel) gives addresses in the 10.0.0.x range. Then the travel router will connect to the wifi and get a address like 10.0.0.35. Travel router acting as a client on the hotel wifi network.
The travel router creates a wifi hotspot (SSID=myspot) in my room and gives out adresses in the 10.1.1.x range to my wifi gadgets.

Then I could surf with all my wifi gadgets.

This is not only for business use. Those of you who have tried to travel with a teenage daughter that cannot access Facebook on her iPod know how big this problem is.

Technically the router must be able to act as a wifi client and access point on the same router. Is this possible?

If you know the technical details about how to do this then please share. If you have been sitting in a hotel room trying to connect your devices and have some frustration to share then you are also welcome to share.

Regards
terchris

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

OpenWrt / Atheros only! - Next Generation Piranha firmware (v4) + AAP (v3)
OpenWrt / Announcing AAP (aka AutoAP) for OpenWrt Kamikaze 8.09+
OpenWrt / MagicConnect - connect to open APs
AutoAP - DD-WRT Wiki

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

You can do it with software on your laptop or smartphone, you really don't need to carry one device more. For example: http://www.connectify.me/

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

terchris wrote:

Say the hotel wifi (SSID=hotel) gives addresses in the 10.0.0.x range. Then the travel router will connect to the wifi and get a address like 10.0.0.35. Travel router acting as a client on the hotel wifi network.
The travel router creates a wifi hotspot (SSID=myspot) in my room and gives out adresses in the 10.1.1.x range to my wifi gadgets.

This should be quite easy with OpenWrt Kamikaze 8.09.2 on a La Fonera.

/etc/config/network:

config    interface    loopback
    option    ifname    lo
    option    proto    static
    option    ipaddr    127.0.0.1
    option    netmask    255.0.0.0

config    interface    lan
    option    type    bridge
    option    ifname    eth0
    option    proto    static
    option    ipaddr    10.1.1.1
    option    netmask    255.255.255.0

config    interface    wan
    option    proto    dhcp

/etc/config/wireless:

config 'wifi-device' 'wifi0'
    option 'type' 'atheros'
    option 'channel' 'auto'
    option 'txpower' '18'
    option 'disabled' '0'

config 'wifi-iface'
    option 'device' 'wifi0'
    option 'network' 'wan'
    option 'mode' 'sta'
    option 'ssid' 'hotel'

config 'wifi-iface'
    option 'device' 'wifi0'
    option 'network' 'lan'
    option 'mode' 'ap'
    option 'ssid' 'myspot'
    option 'encryption' 'psk2'
    option 'key' 'your_key'

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Hi fyi

Thanks a lot for your posts.
You state that the La Fonera can do this. I looked up their site and found that there are several models  http://wiki.fon.com/wiki/Fonera_Look#Fonera_2.0g
I think the Fonera SIMPL or Fonera 2.0g is the smallest and will be best for travelling.
Can both of these be used? 

Regards
terchris

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

I really can't understand why anyone would like to carry one more thing on a trip if it easily can be done with software using existing hardware, but that's just my opinion tongue
Ofcourse if you don't want to keep your laptop/smartphone on and sharing wlan the time, it might be a good solution.

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

As you can see, FON2100 (left) and FON2200 (top) are smaller than FON2201 (right) and FON2202 (Fonera 2.0g). The above are supported by OpenWrt. I have no idea of Fonera SIMPL.

ASUS WL-330gE is also very small but it's more expensive than FON2100/FON2200.

Get a FON2200 if you can find one.

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/files/fonera_202.jpg

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Hi monotube

Thank you for your feedback. I will try to explain why I think it is a good idea to bring a "connection-device" and not use a laptop or a smartphone as the device for conneting to the Internet.

The target user here is a non technical person. So the "connection-device" must be realy simple to use and do just one thing. That is connect to the Internet.
If a laptop is used, then there are potential problems related to configuration on the PC (firewall sw, hardware and so on). And the laptop must be in the hotel room and powered on at all times for the other devices to connect to the Internet.
A smartphone faces simmilar problems. It has to be in the room. And configuration can be an issue (smartphone vendor, software versions, conflicting software and so on)

Based on this, I think that having one "connection-device" that just connects your gadgets to the Internet, is a good idea.


The idea is to have a travel router that you bring along. All your gadgets (smartphone, ipad, laptop etc) are already connected to the travel router. So what you need to do is to connect the travel router to the Internet.

The travel router can connect to the Internet in tree ways.
1) Via cable (dhcp assigned address) on a LAN
2) Via existing wifi (dhcp assigned address) acting as a client
3) Via mobile network/3G/3.5G/4G (dhcp assigned address) using a USB stick

As the user of the device I will select one of the options and then all my gadgets are connected to the Internet.
No need to set up any config in my gadgets, they will use the travel router.


Regards
terchris

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

@chris: this is indeed a neat idea!  Here you see more options:  http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/internet.connection  with some explanation and links...

as for configuring your router to support laptop, wlan-phone, etc. there is no content in the wiki, but there could be link to other wikis (debian if you have debian on your laptop, android, ...)

anyway, you could start some wiki page regarding this idea! name it openwrt-traveler-configuration or whatever you like!

10

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

terchris wrote:

1) Via cable (dhcp assigned address) on a LAN

/etc/config/network:

config    interface    loopback
    option    ifname    lo
    option    proto    static
    option    ipaddr    127.0.0.1
    option    netmask    255.0.0.0

config    interface    lan
    option    type    bridge
#    option    ifname    eth0
    option    proto    static
    option    ipaddr    10.1.1.1
    option    netmask    255.255.255.0

config    interface    wan
    option    ifname    eth0
    option    proto    dhcp

/etc/config/wireless:

config 'wifi-device' 'wifi0'
    option 'type' 'atheros'
    option 'channel' 'auto'
    option 'txpower' '18'
    option 'disabled' '0'

config 'wifi-iface'
    option 'device' 'wifi0'
    option 'network' 'lan'
    option 'mode' 'ap'
    option 'ssid' 'myspot'
    option 'encryption' 'psk2'
    option 'key' 'your_key'

You might control it with the reset button. Ex. default with wired wan. Press reset for 2 seconds to switch to wireless wan or run AutoAP script.

OpenWrt / [TL-WR1043ND] QSS button as WLAN/IPsec switch

11

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

terchris wrote:

3) Via mobile network/3G/3.5G/4G (dhcp assigned address) using a USB stick

If you really need a USB port, I think Fonera 2.0g (FON2201 with USB) might be a good choice.

12

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Here are some compact wireless routers.

Sapido RB-1132 Compact Wireless Router | ByFai.com (Realtek RTL8196BU/RTL8652)
Code Evangelism » Sapido gr-1102 and openwrt (Realtek RTL8651C)
Planex MZK-MF150 / MZK-MF150W (Ralink RT3050F)
Planex GW-MF54G2 (Atheros AR2317)

OpenWrt / Travel wifi router
DD-WRT Forum :: View topic - is there any travel router that works with dd-wrt?

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

You might have a look at Huaweis D100 Device(or the ASUS WL600g devices which are quite similar under their cover). The D100 has USB support for a 3G Modem, it has one LAN Port, decent wifi(bcm5314) and it fits in a pocket(or your teenage daughters handbag). Furthermore it can be used on Battery(well, little hardware hack, but it's power consumtion is really moderate). Oh, and before I forget, it looks kinda stylish^^

Downside is that you will have to open the Device and Flash OpenWRT using a serial cable + tftp. But I could prepare a unit for you if you like. (PM me)

I express my Uniqueness!

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Hi fyi
Thanks for your links. I ordered the Fonera SIMPL before you gave me info about what router to get. It seems that this will not work. I will just get another one.
I looked up the Sapido website based on your link. I found Mobile hotspot http://www.sapido.com.tw/EN/productrb1632k_35g.htm

If you look at "Coffee Shop (Router Mode - Public WiFi)" on this page it seems that it solves all the tree connection ways I listed.

terchris

15

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

terchris wrote:

I looked up the Sapido website based on your link. I found Mobile hotspot http://www.sapido.com.tw/EN/productrb1632k_35g.htm

If you look at "Coffee Shop (Router Mode - Public WiFi)" on this page it seems that it solves all the tree connection ways I listed.

terchris

Yeh, maybe. Compare to what you said at #8

1) Stay in Hotel (AP Mode – Wired to Wireless)
2) Coffee Shop (Router Mode - Public WiFi)
3) Temporal Stay (Router Mode – 3G modem / Smartphone)

So, look at the switch. Could it be

1) AP
2) WiFi-AP
3) Router

http://byfai.com/files/images/DSC_1461_Sapido_RB-1132_Body3.thumbnail.jpg

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Hi fyi

I see that the switch does not say "coffee shop". But what they describe is the functionality that makes the router act as a client to the wifi and then a wifi router to your gadgets.
Do you know if there is a term for this functionality ?

I'm starting to think that there is no term for this. I found another travel router http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/wireless-n-portable-router-ctr35
If you see in the Features section they say "Special Feature:  Use WiFi as a Data Source" I think that they describe the same functionality.

terchris

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Hi
More info about wifi as wan.

Here is a article with a screenshot describing how to set up wifi as WAN http://knowledgebase.cradlepoint.com/questions/210/How+to+use+Wifi+as+WAN+with+your+CTR35

A youtube describing why wifi as wan is a good idea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=963MlzlcYAQ
These guys specialize in travel communication www.3gstore.com

They have an interesting product that automaticaly searches for wifi networks, connects to it, and create a local hotspot for your gadgets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbhGyydiDMk

18

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

terchris wrote:

I see that the switch does not say "coffee shop". But what they describe is the functionality that makes the router act as a client to the wifi and then a wifi router to your gadgets.
Do you know if there is a term for this functionality ?

WISP wireless access point

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Those Sapido/Solwise/Amigo are nice units, unfortunately they don't have a working *wrt available for public consumption. (Ref: https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?pid=134409)

If you have any queries regarding the RB-1132, let me know and I'll see what can I do.

Cheers.

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Hi fyi
I thought that WSIP was when the router acts as a client on the wifi network (eg given address 10.0.0.x). Making the Ethernet ports on the router private (eg 192.168.x.y).
A setup like this is different than a router that acts as a client on the wifi (eg given address 10.0.0.x) and as a wifi access point at the same time (assigning addresses like 192.168.x.y).

Is this still called WSIP?

21

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

No, but WISP should be the closest phrase. Most router manufacturers don't care to support "Routed Client - OpenWrt Wiki - Using MASQUERADE".

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

We are considering a service for travelers that needs to connect to the Internet.
For the service we need a nice looking, small, compact router that is easy to travel with.
To aid the users of connecting the router we will need to write software that runs on the router.

This software will do two things:
1) a web interface that will communicate with iPhone/Android app that the user use to configure the router. A app will make it simple for the user to simply connect.

2) The software on the router will connect/register to a web service on the Internet and send hart-beat status and information about the traffic that pases trough the router. It will also download new configuration settings from the central web.
The router will be configured on the central web server, making it simple to change/optimize the web GUI for the user whiteout having to install new web GUI on the router.
 

Two things are important here.
a) The OS
I have been thinking about openwrt as the OS. This because I do not want to be locked to one router vendor. I think the benefit of using openwrt is that there is a community of developers that can be hired to do development we need.
For us the router OS is a platform just like Linux or Windows. We want to use it, not make it.

b) The hardware
I want to order hardware that has openwrt installed from the factory. 
I have contacted several manufacturers in Shenzhen/China about hardware. But so far I have not found the hardware I want. And the hardware that looks OK does not run openwrt.
I have visited Shenzhen factories and I see that people here make hardware like we make software. If I say I want the router to have two Ethernet ports, a blue antenna and a yellow box. They say “yes we can make. Delivery next month”. But I do not want to design and make the hardware myself. I want a router that already is in mass production. I just want them to load my firmware and pack it into a branded box.


I have written a initial requirement spec for the hardware that I use when communicating with the router manufacturers. I have put it here https://sites.google.com/a/odinpartner.no/openwrt/

Comments are welcome

Regards
terchris

23 (edited by loyukfai 2011-05-02 16:28:29)

Re: Traveling with all your wifi gadgets and connecting them all to one w

Looks like you're talking about thousands of units...? In that case, you may get in contact with Sapido or her OEM, the MB series (http://www.sapido.com.tw/EN/product_router.htm) seems to be just what you're looking for. They may help you to load an *Wrt distro on it.

Some devs have actually tried but the process is not reliable enough. (http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=546082#546082)

Cheers.