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The Icon Bar: News and features: Elesar bring Wifi networking to your RISC OS Pi
 

Elesar bring Wifi networking to your RISC OS Pi

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:43, 23/10/2019 | ,
 
One of the great pleasures of writing for The Icon Bar (beyond the high salary, job security, long lunch breaks and editorial freedom) is when a package arrives in the post for review. While software can be sent via email, there is still a certain satisfying thud when an item of hardware arrives for review.
 
This time it the latest cool offering from Elesar, who have produced the WIFI HAT - a hardware plugin for a RaspberryPi running RISC OS which provides wifi support for RISC OS itself.


 
The package itself consists of the hardware - which slots inside the RaspberryPI, a very thorough manual (with lots of nice screenshots and easy steps to follow) and some software to install.
 


 
With the software installed and a quick reboot there is a new connection interface under the Internet menu. It can co-exist with your Ethernet, or you can disable.
 


 
A quick reboot and you get a nice new wifi menu option on your Icon Bar.
 


 
All the local wifi hotspots will appear and you can also configure manually. A nice feature is the ability to save setting and reconnect.
 
There is not really much more to say.... It gives you a polish WIFI solution for RISC OS and it works really nicely. The cost is 52.80 pounds including VAT. It is also another reason to attend the London Show...
 
Elesar website
 
  Elesar bring Wifi networking to your RISC OS Pi
  markee174 (09:27 23/10/2019)
  richw (21:18 23/10/2019)
    Elesar (08:20 24/10/2019)
      cmj (10:14 24/10/2019)
        Elesar (17:56 24/10/2019)
          svrsig (09:23 25/10/2019)
    markee174 (08:21 24/10/2019)
      arawnsley (10:14 24/10/2019)
        Elesar (10:47 25/10/2019)
          arawnsley (11:30 25/10/2019)
 
Mark Stephens Message #124612, posted by markee174 at 09:27, 23/10/2019
Member
Posts: 75
There is also a nice post at https://www.riscository.com/2019/elesar-pi-hat-wifi-solution/
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Richard Walker Message #124613, posted by richw at 21:18, 23/10/2019, in reply to message #124612
Member
Posts: 45
Looks very neat! Nice software solution which seems to fit in well with RISC OS.

So does it connect to the Pi with SPI?

I wonder how it would cope with those silly access points which require a web page login?

And is it specific to the Pi? Presumably any machine with the appropriate interface would do....?
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Robert Sprowson Message #124614, posted by Elesar at 08:20, 24/10/2019, in reply to message #124613
Member
Posts: 20
Looks very neat! Nice software solution which seems to fit in well with RISC OS.

So does it connect to the Pi with SPI?
Got it in one: 48MHz SPI link.

I wonder how it would cope with those silly access points which require a web page login?
What's normally going on there is that you are dished out a DHCP address but the other end redirects all port 80 traffic to a landing page (for example, where you enter the room number of your hotel suite). So, provided the page can be handled by NetSurf or equivalent, you're in.

And is it specific to the Pi? Presumably any machine with the appropriate interface would do....?
Mechanically and electrically the HAT is only intended to fit on a Pi with 40 pin riser. More generally as a technology it's a handy toolkit to have in Elesar's design catalogue should it find other uses!
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Mark Stephens Message #124615, posted by markee174 at 08:21, 24/10/2019, in reply to message #124613
Member
Posts: 75
Software is really neat and has lots of nice little tweaks like remembering settings and networks.

It plugs into the Pi port you can see in the second picture down so this combination is specific to the Pi.

Personally, if I was Elesar or RComp, I would be chatting on saturday about the viability of making the software also run on ARMbook.
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Chris Johns Message #124616, posted by cmj at 10:14, 24/10/2019, in reply to message #124614
Member
Posts: 9
Looks very neat! Nice software solution which seems to fit in well with RISC OS.

So does it connect to the Pi with SPI?
Got it in one: 48MHz SPI link.
Out of interest (being nosey) - is the other end of the SPI link a Wifi chip with SPI interface, or a processor?
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #124617, posted by arawnsley at 10:14, 24/10/2019, in reply to message #124615
R-Comp chap
Posts: 536
It certainly looks quite neat, but it's all pretty similar (except for the hat, obviously) to the desktop UI for PiFi 3 that's been available for a while. PiFi3 uses a single window with a couple of buttons rather than a menu tree, but the effect is more or less the same.

I have to say, though, that I like the neatness of using a Pi hat. For a single Pi machine it is ideal.

Conversely the PiFi approach allows one or more higher-end machines to be connected by one PiFi.

Our main focus, though is getting Wifi done properly for RISC OS. Whilst I applaud the design work Rob has done for this project, I really wish time/resources had been spent doing more general TCP/IP and/or wifi work for RISC OS, esp as Pi3 already has wifi onboard!

We now have 3 (or 4 if you include wifi->wired off-the-shelf bridges) competing workarounds, but no "proper" wifi. Between ROOL bounty and ROD's funding, there's in excess of 20K for the work just waiting for someone to take on the challenge!

[Edited by arawnsley at 10:15, 24/10/2019]
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Robert Sprowson Message #124621, posted by Elesar at 17:56, 24/10/2019, in reply to message #124616
Member
Posts: 20
Out of interest (being nosey) - is the other end of the SPI link a Wifi chip with SPI interface, or a processor?
There's a (non-ARM) network coprocessor doing the heavy lifting of packet encrypt/decrypt, whose firmware is injected from the EtherWILC driver.
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Chris Hall Message #124623, posted by svrsig at 09:23, 25/10/2019, in reply to message #124621
Member
Posts: 27
Is it similar to the Particle Photon board which uses an ARM STM32F205RGY6 Cortex M3 microcontroller with a Cypress WICED BCM43362 Wi-Fi chip, although that attaches via the USB port, I think?
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Robert Sprowson Message #124624, posted by Elesar at 10:47, 25/10/2019, in reply to message #124617
Member
Posts: 20
Our main focus, though is getting Wifi done properly for RISC OS. Whilst I applaud the design work Rob has done for this project, I really wish time/resources had been spent doing more general TCP/IP and/or wifi work for RISC OS, esp as Pi3 already has wifi onboard!
Our ROOL overlords have an eye to that effect, and a condition of the WiFi Manager resource allocation was to be able to use it as a starting point for the RISC OS one. It's not tied in any way to the HAT, and scans for suitable drivers dynamically at startup. There's a bit of work needed to support more than 1 NIC simultaneously, but that should just require adding a loop/array here and there to map/unmap Toolbox component ids.

We now have 3 (or 4 if you include wifi->wired off-the-shelf bridges) competing workarounds, but no "proper" wifi. Between ROOL bounty and ROD's funding, there's in excess of 20K for the work just waiting for someone to take on the challenge!
The bounty stands at £595 (as at 25-Oct-2019), so we've a while yet to save up I think. Unless I've misunderstood and ROD have £19405 that they're not putting into the bounty for some reason?
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #124626, posted by arawnsley at 11:30, 25/10/2019, in reply to message #124624
R-Comp chap
Posts: 536
ROD can fund projects if there are programmers and demonstrable plans to do the work. The problem always seems to be programmer availability.

That's been true for a while. We've just been getting on with things in the meantime.

Let's talk at the show, Rob. I think you and I need to talk more generally (probably my fault) so let's do that.

[Edited by arawnsley at 11:51, 25/10/2019]
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Elesar bring Wifi networking to your RISC OS Pi