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Old 15-09-2015, 15:13   #1
Jd1
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GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

I am trying to find a better method of getting GPS data to my laptop. Currently I use a USB GPS puck and the cable is annoying as I move the laptop frequently (and the cable breaks eventually too). It has ocurred to me that wifi routers come with USB ports these days. I am wondering if anybody has managed to use the router's USB port to get data from a USB GPS puck to the computers that are serviced by the wifi router ?

BTW, my experiment to get GPS data to the laptop via Bluetooth was a bit underwhelming. Besides the fact that you would need a seperate Bluetooth GPS for each laptop (I run two), I have had troubles getting the setup to work under Linux and I don't trust the windoze setup. I have had failures and I need reliability above everything as the primary need is for anchor watch under OpenCPN.
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Old 15-09-2015, 18:45   #2
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

Jd1...
If your router can run OpeWRT firmware, it can sure be done, see for example GPS receiver in OpenWrt | Hardware solutions for OpenWrt
With an unmodified $few router most likely not as they will hardly have GPSd preinstalled, but I did not search thoroughly.

Pavel
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Old 15-09-2015, 18:53   #3
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

Another option would be using a Raspberry Pi as the "router" (with a USB Wifi dongle). Then run OpenCPN (or another NMEA server software) on the Pi to send the GPS data over the WIFI!
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Old 15-09-2015, 23:42   #4
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

Thanks! I will see what kind of router I need for OpenWRT
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Old 16-09-2015, 00:32   #5
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

You can use a raspbettyPI and GPSD Install the OS on the raspberry, give it a fixed IP for the onboard network card ( outside of the routers DHCP range) Install GPSD on the raspberry, connect your raspberry to the wifirouter with a RJ45 cabele. Plug the USB gps to the raspberry.

With GPS connected to the PI and the PI connected with a RJ45 cabel to the wifirouter, the PI will feed gps position througt GPSD to the wifi network. On your wifi clients runing opencpn, under connections, set up an network connection using GPSD and fill inn the IP adress of the PI. You can now connect as many wifi devises as tou want this way.
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Old 16-09-2015, 03:12   #6
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

I believe that kplex is now available in the OpenWRT repository (although I haven't checked: let me know if it isn't). That may give you a little more flexibility than gpsd in this application. Personally I use a raspberry pi for this task but the OpenWRT route might offer a more robust wireless solution than the home-brew pi access point. Certainly I've reached the conclusion that broadcast/multicast is too lossy using a pi wireless access point and is possibly just a bad solution over 802.11 period.
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Old 16-09-2015, 03:46   #7
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

In my above post I assumed an exsisting good quality acesspoint and connecting the PI with RJ45 network cable and using the exsisting accesspoint for wifi. Of course running openwrt directly would require less components and a nicer instalation :-)
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Old 16-09-2015, 04:08   #8
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
Thanks! I will see what kind of router I need for OpenWRT
It seems that the GPSD package is available for ASUS routers running asuswrt-merlin.

This means that a USB GPS can be configured to run GPSD direct from the following ASUS routers if they are flashed with the ASUS-Merlin firmware About | Asuswrt-Merlin:

RT-N66U
RT-AC66U
RT-AC56U
RT-AC68U
RT-AC68P (same firmware as RT-AC68U)
RT-AC87
RT-AC3200

If you are going to use only a GPS and not multiple NMEA sources, GPSD is the way to go. If you need a more complex solution with several NMEA input sources, KPLES seems to be the way to go.
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Old 16-09-2015, 04:21   #9
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

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Originally Posted by petter5 View Post
In my above post I assumed an exsisting good quality acesspoint and connecting the PI with RJ45 network cable and using the exsisting accesspoint for wifi.
That was explicit, and my previous post wasn't intended to be critical of that (in fact, supportive). The "pi access point" is a different solution that some people (including me) are using but my experience with a couple of versions of pi (currently using the v2 which is better) and dongle have shown that 802.11 multicast(/broadcast) ends up being very lossy. I suspect that a well-designed dedicated router (as in what you describe) would be far better in this respect, although I haven't tried one on board.

Having said that, despite my aesthetic theoretical layer-3-oriented prejudices against unicast for distribution of these types of data, many people would just be using a tcp server anyway :-)
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Old 16-09-2015, 09:22   #10
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

Man, this certainly turned into one very convoluted issue for mere mortals like myself . The pi is definitely out as I haven't got any clue about it (well never say never but it appears like a big hill to climb at the moment).
I like the idea of running GPSD directly on the router so that will be my first way to try and solve this. I have never flashed a router nor used any of the OpenWRT stuff so this is looking daunting at the moment. I will try to muddle my way through it.
Thank you for the list of Asus routers and the software to go with them - a great start and I like the idea that the software is set up for specific routers which likely means an easier install.
So much to learn .....
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Old 17-09-2015, 09:04   #11
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Re: GPS data via wifi router USB port ?

I have to chime in that I am very happy with a banana pi pro. It is similar in size to the RPi but has built in wifi, so you can set up an ad-hoc network and stop running that cat5 in your boat. However are there not already micro controller driven RF24 solutions ( USB -> 2.4ghz repeater ) that would use much less power? ( if not we should build a board... ).
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