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New 2.4 GHz hardware coming
#1
The next generation of 802.11nbg units are coming.

There will be a true external antenna model that is not a retrofit of a unit with an internal antenna.  Ken is considering offering 5 dB whip antennas for the places where distance is not an issue and a circular pattern would be a benefit.  They would be ideal for in home and other hot-spot style uses.

The complete unit with an antenna would be very similar to the existing War1B, except is uses newer chips and has a faster CPU.

The really BIG change is that Openwrt will be the firmware.  I have become quite proficient with Openwrt and it is a decent replacement for StarOS.  Unfortunately it will have a Web User Interface only.  I can hear the groans and the cheers, but suffice to say I have no other option at the moment.  I am not a huge fan of Web Gui simply because it generates so much traffic and is slow.  The reality, though, is that it can configure everything that is needed, and actually gets rarely used.  Not many people will change configurations daily.

Initially the software will be stock Openwrt, but I am busy adding the capability for Licensed channels and the Sync feature.

The one thing I get from Openwrt, that I truly am in need of, is support.  With Tony gone, there was a big gap, but with Openwrt that is now filled quite nicely.  The kernel, driver and pretty much all system programs are very new and the Openwrt guys are continually updating as new things are released.

I have run a test with a 2.4 GHz AP and 5 associated clients.  4 of those clients were doing an iperf throughput test, all at the same time.  So it was 4 BIG users beating on it for 2 days.  Not a single dropout, stall, or reboot.  Using the bandwidth limiter I leveled them all at 15 mbps and they got anywhere from 10 mbps to 15 mbps, which was quite impressive.  Normally a big user with strong signal will hog the bandwidth, which is not good when you are trying to make everybody content.

So, I have great faith in the hardware and firmware.  This should get us back to the days when our units ran forever.

I would be very interested in feedback about this.
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#2
Just a question Lonnie? will the stock Openwrt work in our existing War1B units or will we have any backward compatibility with the developing firmware?
Thanks
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#3
I am reluctant to take this new Openwrt to EOL equipment, ie the 2.4 GHz War1b. The 5 GHz units, which are different are not EOL and can still be purchased, so I will be bringing Openwrt to them. Note, this might work on the 2.4 GHz because they are "similar", but the channel enhancements will take a lot of work. There are many things needing to move forward and a big sideways movement is a waste of time.

The problems with the AP version of the 2.4 GHz War1B are quite likely because it was not a fast enough CPU. The new gear is faster and does not have the stall issue. I do not have the high tech equipment to give a better reason, just that from what I see they "work better".

I spent a fair amount of time trying to port StarOS to the new hardware and as a result I am awaiting a desoldering tool and flash programmer to recover a stack of boards. I rarely admit defeat, but in this case it is beyond me. I can move it forward with Openwrt, and that is what I am focused on.

The current StarOS on the War1b has never, in my experience, ever stalled. It was the AP that stopped talking, so this means the curent StarOS units can be very good Client units. Although the GUI is different, in reality we do not spend a lot of time in the Gui. Hopefully we configure it, put it into service and move on to the next install.
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#4
One thing I have noticed is that new really high speed units have multiple radios and they can all be used at the same time. I thought, hmmmm, this is sort like the multiple radio Ventana units. I have to ask: If the multiple Ventana radios are NFG due to self interference, why don't the new multiple radio ones suffer? I believe none of them suffer. This is Digital communication. If they were Analog, then yes high noise is a killer and other nearby, strong units are seen as noise. 802.11 was designed to handle the noise. I have tried to explain to this to a few guys but they would not listen and have switched to multiple single units. (oxymoron).

If we get into the issue of RF radiation, especially the concepts of near field and far field, basically, everything within 20 feet of each other has near field radiation and there is very little you can do to shield the antennas from each other. So, that means a Ventana with 6 ports suddenly has been legitimized by the BIG guys as they develop multiple radio unit, which the Ventana was doing 6 or more years ago.

I expect the Openwrt Ventana to be very powerful. It is very fast with a quad 1 GHz engine, and with 6 radios makes it sweet on a tower, with only a single unit to login to and configure. Only one Ethernet cable to run as well.
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#5
What boards do you have the new Openwrt working on now? Laguna, Ventana?
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#6
I have it working on the Ventana, but all of my time has been spent on the War1B replacements. The newest Ventana release of OpenWrt has an issue with reboot after updating. I have been given a fix which I have to hand patch and just have not had the time.

I will make it a priority. I do not wish to release the older version because all of my stability testing has been with the newer version, and it has passed with flying colours. When it is released it should be the best available.

Expect something in roughly 2 weeks, ie by the end of April.

I will work on a USB to load Openwrt over StarOS. Right now I have to jtag everything, and that is another reason for the delay. It is very slow to jtag a firmware.
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#7
Thank you Lonnie
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#8
I have fixed the Ventana OpenWrt but am trying to work on the scripting and Gui to make it easier to use.

I am also awaiting some samples of a case for the Ventana. In this day and age total DIY does not cut it.
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