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  1. #1
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    pCP6 - can I bridge a USB GSM dongle to the wifi AP?

    I'm installing pCP6 with a Jivelite touchscreen in my camper. I will run it in AP mode so that I can use wireless players and control it from my phone. But for various reasons I'd like it to also connect to the internet:
    - so that when my phone is connected to it I can still reach the outside world
    - so that I can use Spotty
    - potentially so that I can put a GSM antenna on a mast and get better reception through the AP than I would on my phone (camping places always seem to have lousy reception!).

    So I'm looking for advice on whether it's possible under pCP to bridge a USB GSM/3G/4G dongle to the wifi AP, such that a phone connected to the AP will be able to use the GSM internet? I can see that the AP mode settings in pCP6 allow me to bridge the AP to eth0 - can I do that manually with whatever device the GSM modem shows up as? Will extra packages be needed?

    Is there a better approach? I think a standalone mobile hotspot (such as this one) is an alternative. The RPi wouldn't have to be in AP mode then - everything would connect to the hotspot - but the drawback is that nothing would work without that hotspot.

  2. #2
    Senior Member paul-'s Avatar
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    As you know almost anything is possible....

    In standard AP mode, if you connect the Ethernet port to the network, the Pi will route traffic from the AP to the ethernet port. Bridge mode is meant for a more static environment. In theory, we would just have to make a few edits to look at a different adapter, rather than eth0. But I've never used a USB GSM dongle, so I have no idea what it would take to get that part working.

    The hotspot would be much easier, and more flexible for other uses. I know they make them with ethernet ports on them, in addition to wifi.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul- View Post
    The hotspot would be much easier, and more flexible for other uses. I know they make them with ethernet ports on them, in addition to wifi.
    Thanks Paul - on reflection that's probably the option I'll go for. I'll try to find out before purchasing whether the hotspot function will allow connected devices to communicate with each other even if there's no GSM connectivity.

  4. #4
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    If you look for a 4G Router as opposed to portable hotspot you are more likely to have a working internal network at all times.
    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
    Living Room - Joggler & SB3 -> Onkyo TS606 -> Celestion F20s
    Office - Pi3+Sreen -> Sony TAFE320 -> Celestion F10s / Pi2+DAC & SB3 -> Onkyo CRN755 -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes
    Dining Room -> SB Boom
    Kitchen -> UE Radio (upgraded to SB Radio)
    Bedroom (Bedside) - Pi2+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) - SB Touch ->Sherwood AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s
    Everything controlled by iPeng

  5. #5
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    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
    Living Room - Joggler & SB3 -> Onkyo TS606 -> Celestion F20s
    Office - Pi3+Sreen -> Sony TAFE320 -> Celestion F10s / Pi2+DAC & SB3 -> Onkyo CRN755 -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes
    Dining Room -> SB Boom
    Kitchen -> UE Radio (upgraded to SB Radio)
    Bedroom (Bedside) - Pi2+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) - SB Touch ->Sherwood AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s
    Everything controlled by iPeng

  6. #6
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    That makes sense, thanks. Iĺll aim to find one that is 12V-friendly. That TP-Link unit comes with a 9V supply in the EU, but a 12V supply in APAC (Asia Pacific?). I wonder if that means that the EU version would also work on 12V - is the 9V supply voltage due to an EU regulation, and internally the units are all the same I wonder.

    The removable antennas are another useful feature, so that one could be extended up a mast.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill View Post
    That makes sense, thanks. Iĺll aim to find one that is 12V-friendly. That TP-Link unit comes with a 9V supply in the EU, but a 12V supply in APAC (Asia Pacific?). I wonder if that means that the EU version would also work on 12V - is the 9V supply voltage due to an EU regulation, and internally the units are all the same I wonder.

    The removable antennas are another useful feature, so that one could be extended up a mast.
    Obviously I can't answer the voltage question but your assumption seems valid to me.
    I have used (am using) an earlier version of that particular router at a customers' site where there is decent 4G coverage but no possibility of a landline.
    Works perfectly.
    I have also used "personal hotspots" from various sources for the same customer. As you will probably have to get a new SIM I'd suggest Three which seems to have the best overall 4G coverage and can be bought on a PAYG basis
    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
    Living Room - Joggler & SB3 -> Onkyo TS606 -> Celestion F20s
    Office - Pi3+Sreen -> Sony TAFE320 -> Celestion F10s / Pi2+DAC & SB3 -> Onkyo CRN755 -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes
    Dining Room -> SB Boom
    Kitchen -> UE Radio (upgraded to SB Radio)
    Bedroom (Bedside) - Pi2+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) - SB Touch ->Sherwood AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s
    Everything controlled by iPeng

  8. #8
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips - good to hear first-hand experience.

  9. #9
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    I decided to order one of those TP-Link units, to have a play with. Not sure about the voltage range - hopefully there'll be some indication on the unit itself - but if necessary I'll just use a DC-DC converter. I think I have some adjustable ones somewhere already.

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