Support for USB network adaptors (Feature Unavailable)

The small internal antenna, inside of the metal enclosure, makes connection to Wifi very difficult. I would be interested in adding support for USB network adaptors, so we can have an antenna outside the box.

Example:

Of course, adding an external antenna could also be an option, but probably easier to add a USB adaptor.

If the USB ports at attached directly to the Pi, and they are running a normal version of Linux, any USB WIFI should work if configured properly. I suppose that is a big if though.

Can you ssh into the Pi and configure it manually?

It’s a bit of work, but for now I am going to run an Ethernet cable.

I don’t know enough about the raspberry pi to want to experiment on the one in my Onefinity and risk goofing it up.

I asked Onefinity support if this is an option and they said “we’ll see what we can do”, so i don’t think there is a quick solution, so I added here for a feature request.

@cyberreefguru I asked this same question on FB, didn’t get a response. I have an older RPI without wifi, use an EDIMAX USB wifi adapter. It is trivial to configure from the Linux command line but not sure if we are able to directly access the OS on the controller.

Okay, so I actually got it to work, by putting my WiFi extender within 12” of the Onefinity. Still hope to clean this up eventually. This power strip won’t remain here anyway.

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alright, seeing this picture makes me need to see the rest of the set up! Glad you got it up and running. There must be a lot of electrical interference near the controller to need the extender to be that close.

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Hmmm, that makes me think (or rethink) about where I was planning on putting my controller. Nestling it under the desk might not be the best solution for WIFI signal strength perspective. But it would be farther away from the router which would reduce that source of EMI.

I’ve never dug into the quality of the WIFI antenna on the RPI - all of mine are out in the open or in a plastic case. I’m sure the aluminum case would have some serious implications on signal strength - curious if cutting a hole in the case would provide better SNR? But that would also let other EMI in which could be a problem depending on the design of the controller.

-Tom

cutting a hole would also allow for potential dust intake…or worse, aluminum chip intake…which could short out the board. We had this happen during beta testing.

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Yeah, tracking. A simple foam insert to screen particles would help. I did that on my Shapeoko 2 controller before the x-controller hit the market. But the old Shapeoko controller had a lot of other HW problems since it was just an Arduino with motor controllers. No analog/digital isolation, no dedicated ground plane for high current motors, no optical isolation, etc., etc… Even the Shapeoko 3 had serious EMI issues with the 1.0 release despite it being custom developed for the machine. All lessons learned I suppose.

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Some devices I have seen use plastic windows on an otherwise metal housing to let signals in better. However, that would make it fairly directional as well, unless the whole thing is plastic. External antenna would be a better approach.

Hate to say it, but wired is the way to go…
Network Admin here… WiFi will never be as reliable as wired…
Easier? Tons! Convenient? Absolutely! Reliable? Nope not gonna happen.
20k rippum electric motor right by the controller along with 4 high torque steppers singing their song into the air? And the likelihood of a shop vac squealing it’s EMI into the mix? Will it work? Maybe or maybe not… run the cable into the shop
And not having to chase WiFi gremlins… priceless
Heck run the cable, buy a switch and a WiFi access point and have dependable wired network to the controller and strong WiFi for the tablet or phone.

Hmm sounds harsh… is really meant to be emphatic

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For those who can’t run cable out to their OF, what about using something like a TP Link TL-WR902AC ? You can run it in client mode, connect it via cat 5e or Cat 6 to your OF and then mount the TP Link unit away from your OF to help cut down on interference.

I use a few of these for some of my older “wired only” devices in the house and they work very well for me. You can pick them up pretty cheap ($40) on Amazon and worse case scenario, if they don’t work well, you can send back to Amazon and get your money back.

I concur with @MNewstadt, but I have to say, how much you actually using the WIFI during an op? You should be near your machine for emergencies, and not fiddling with the settings over the web. Use the touch screen for fiddling if required.

None of that changes the signal strength issue with the aluminum case tho.

-Tom

If you just can’t run a cable… a pair of these with the house network on one end… shop switch and WiFi on the other… Yes I’m a network nerd

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Our engineers looked deeply into this feature. We COULD add them, but we’d need to add code for every single usb network adaptor available. We’d also need to change this at a deep kernel level, which would require everyone to pull their sd card and ‘burn’ a full new image. It’s not a feasible solution unfortunately.
The best solutions would be:
network adapter
ethernet over powerline
mesh network

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I put a satellite from my ORBI AC3000 mesh network and have awesome connectivity in the shop.

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There is no need for that, I think that there are plenty of other/better options that don’t require me to flash my SD card.

Mesh networks are cheap and benefit the entire household!

-Alex

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My understanding is the Buildbotics OS is based on Raspbian. This web page lists a ton of wifi adapters that are supported (to varying degrees) by Raspbian and should not require changes at a “deep kernel level.” https://elinux.org/RPi_USB_Wi-Fi_Adapters
You can basically just add a pull-down menu that lists any wifi adapters that are detected by the OS at boot time, including the internal one plus any other one that someone tries to use. If the OS detects it, great, we can use it. People can share their experiences with different adapters and you will quickly end up with a short list of adapters you can recommend to customers.

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Unfortunately, Buildbotics uses a edited version Raspbian with a bunch of other things on top of other things on top of other things. It’s a very custom mesh of code.

I agree with Alex. I use a TP-Link Deco M5 Wireless Mesh System (3 bundle set on Amazon for $150) into the OF about 75’ away from the Main Mesh Unit that is wired to my Verizon Router, Mesh System wi-fi through 2 walls to a shed next to my driveway. Each unit has two Ethernet ports you just treat as wired Ethernet connections to anything, like the OF Controller. Assign a fixed IP Address to the OF in the Mesh Network set-up or you will go crazy trying to use the OF remote over your network through a browser. Otherwise, no problem.

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