info-beamer

Easy-setup 3G Shield for Raspberry


#1

Hi,

many customers have weird LAN setup, custom firewall rules, no DHCP (!) so that setting up info-beamer is getting sometimes very difficult.

The obvious solution would be to roll out our own internet connectivity using a 3G shield. But I am a bit frightened, from what I have googled it does not seem like it’s a plug-and-play thing, is more something like the good old days of Windows3.1 and Trumpet Winsock and issuing AT commands (and I still thank some deity for the built in tcp stacks that came afterwards)

Does anybody have a suggestion on a 3G shield that is

  1. easily setuppable on a Raspberry
  2. be known to work with Info-beamer?

Thanks


#2

No direct recommendation as I didn’t use any of them personally, but I think there are USB powered GSM routers that then open up their own accesspoint. So basically the Pi supplies power through USB and then connects to the stick using WiFi: https://consumer.huawei.com/en/mobile-broadband/e8372/

I guess the setup is then just to configure the stick so it automatically unlocks its SIM card, set a strong WiFi password and then configure the Pi as usual.


#3

Haha!! nice idea…
basically use an external wifi router! :slight_smile: it’s another way ot thinking about it.
We have several and we use them on the go, so it could work.
But what I am afraid is that we still have to start them up by pressing some buttons, and sometimes we have to operate on them (reboot… check connection etc). So they could not really be integrated into a Raspberry since they don’t allow for a control interface.

But it’s an idea nonetheless. Thanks for the change of perspective

W


#4

Hi walter
I would definitely go with an external 3G/LTE router!
If you want to do it the hard way (like I did) I can recommend sixfab.
And don’t forget to calculate the bandwidth, it’s not fun to load video files over a 3G connection.


#5

Didn’t know about sixfab. Seems interesting. I quickly scanned over this tutorial and it seems the modem appears as a serial device and you use ppp to establish a connection. Looks like you’re back to the good old AT commands that way :slight_smile:

(Right now this isn’t supported by the info-beamer hosted OS and there are no immediate plans on adding support)


#6

Remember the days you talk to the modem, but that thing doesn’t talk to you. :grin:
It looks like they now have a script to automate a few things. installer


#7

Thanks to both of you.
I had already stumbled upon sixfab and it seems interesting albeit a bit too complicated, and moreover it’s not supported running scripts on info-beamer hosted so it’s a no at the moment.

@jonas, have you got experience with an external LTE router that wakes up on power up of the raspberry? This is the only issue I can see.

Thanks
W


#8

I’ve used the devices from Teltonika with great success.
The RUT240 could be a good fit (around 100$).
It has one digital I/O and you can control it via JSON-RPC.


#9

Thanks, I’ve seen it.

Interesting. But how do you power it? And then of course, you just use it as a wifi access point configuring the /config/wireless file on Raspberry hosted, don’t you?

Thanks for the link!
W


#10

Hey Walter, don’t know if this is of any use, but we are using a TP-Link MR200 4G router with our mobile info-beamer powered setups.

I chose the MR200 as it works with any network ( at least all of the major UK ones ), has the option to use external aerials and has 4 LAN ports.

Unlimited 4G Data sims cost as little as £25 per month in the UK, so it’s a really simple and and affordable way of getting the Pi online.


#11

Hello Johnnie,
thanks, it’s nice to hear of some real world experience with info beamer.

As I’ve already written, my only concern is about power downs/ups. Does the router connects automatically to the cellular network on power up?

Moreover, how do you connect to the router? Cable or wireless?

OOPss" Ive googled for the router and it’s fairly big… we usually battle for space inside a kiosk, so we should definitely search for a router with a smaller footprint :slight_smile:

AS for data plans, in Italy we have even cheaper SIM cards, and given the amount of data we plan to transfer we could go as low as 7 or 8 euros per months, so as you say this is not really an issue.

Thanks
Walter


#12

Yeah, it’s pretty much the same size as a traditional wireless router, although the advantage is that it has ethernet ports so that’s one less potential issue.

Just out of interest, what type of Kiosks do you use, I’ve found that the cost of kiosks is really high, for what is really quite a simple product.

I’ve been searching for an affordable self standing kiosk that can house a basic monitor/TV of around 32" or 40" in portrait.


#13

As for the kiosks, yes they are quite expensive.
Right now it’s not directly our concern, but our partner’s.

AS far as I know they have them from the like of Domino Display. I’ve also contacted RCStars from China (email to Tracine: sales3@rcstarsgroup.com) , prices are lower but shipping for a low number of units is comparable to the cost of a single kiosk. I.e. a double face monitor, 42" with IR touch was 1500 dollars, and shipping around 1200.

I’ve bought something also from JamiePro in the Netherlands.

But the bottom line is, I agree with you but building our own kiosk is out of the question so I am open to suggestions :slight_smile:


#14

RCStars are spammers. It got so annoying that I had to explicitly create a rule to keep their garbage out of my mailbox. Wouldn’t recommend supporting them in any way.


#15

Well they are indeed a bit pressing with their emails :slight_smile:
Any experience with other suppliers from the far east?


#16

Hi walter

In my setups the pi’s are always connected with cables, direct or over a switch for multi-display applications.

I use the RUT950. They have 4 LAN (configurable, 1 WAN for backup and 3 LAN with factory settings) ports.

The devices from Teltonika are powered by 9-30VDC with a standard 4 PIN connector.

I am not using info-beamer hosted, I have build my own based on debian, the info-beamer commercial version and other things.

Our use case seems to be the same, but my displays are a little bit bigger. :blush:


#17

Hi Jonas,

we are a software house so for us hardware lingo is something new we are learning. So a standard 4 pin connector for currents 9-30V is still something weird :slight_smile: So… for me it means looking for a transformer from AC220 to 9-30V (and googling it I get awful results ). I know that sometimes in kiosks there is a power supply block with some 4 pins outlet… but you see, we still struggle :slight_smile:

Anyway I get roughly your setup. Right now we would like to stick with info-beamer hosted since its deployment/provisioning mechanism works perfectly and is very robust.

Thanks for sharing your setup!


#18

You’re doing it right. info-beamer hosted is a fantastic platform! :grinning:


#19

Just as a follow up…
in the end we tested two solutions, as suggested here.

first with the TELTONIKA RUT240 external 3G/4G router. It works ok but it’s a bit cumbersome and needs an external power source.

Much neater is the Huawei Wingle (Huawei E8372h-153 Router ). At first we bought a dongle which needed a PC and drivers to work. With this Wingle instead it’s just a matter of configuring the Raspberry with Info Beamer (modify the /config/wireless file, and stick the Wingle in one of the raspbery USB ports… it works :slight_smile:

Here is a setup with a booster antenna bought on ebay (dual TS9 connector antenna booster 35dBi)


As you see it’s pretty neat and less expensive/tricky than a 3G Hat for raspberry. Va

Thanks to everybody!


#20

That sounds pretty great. Thanks for your research!