Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Networking > I Have A Poser...

I Have A Poser...
Thread Tools
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2023, 08:31 PM
 
I'm trying to set up a wireless device to allow a user to connect to a computer that's inside a weatherproof box. The users don't want to have to open the box to connect to the computer because the weatherproof gasket is fragile, and it's physically challenging to remove the cover then later reinstall it.

The computer is a dedicated video recorder, and users need to be able to access it to collect the video. The users can't afford just having an Internet connection installed, and having a WIFI connection seems to be the best option. The users will bring a laptop to the vicinity of the box, connect by WIFI, and do what's needed.

Now the question: do I need to set up an access point, a wireless client, or a wireless router? I already have a device that will do each of these, as well as act as a repeater or WISP hotspot. The confusing part for me is in this scenario what would be the "Internet connection"? The user's laptop, the computer in the weatherproof box, or "other"?

I'm waiting for the vendor to supply a user manual, which may answer most questions, but I would like to have some feedback as to which type of device makes sense.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Brien
Professional Poster
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Southern California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2023, 11:49 PM
 
Can you configure the enclosed computer to allow ssh access locally?
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2023, 03:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I'm trying to set up a wireless device to allow a user to connect to a computer that's inside a weatherproof box. The users don't want to have to open the box to connect to the computer because the weatherproof gasket is fragile, and it's physically challenging to remove the cover then later reinstall it.
Good setup so far, a real-world Schrödinger's cat problem.

(reads more)

Dang, it's not about if the camera disappears, only to reappear in a local pawnshop. Quantum teleportation test.
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Now the question: do I need to set up an access point, a wireless client, or a wireless router?
Wireless router, with nothing connected to the WAN port. That gives you a wireless LAN, which local notebook users can connect to for access to the camera. You probably won't do any nameserver (DNS) stuff - just reach everything via LAN IP address.

ps - I've always wondered if the cat survives the experiment. You've already got a camera in the box. Any way you can check on the cat?
     
ghporter  (op)
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2023, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
Can you configure the enclosed computer to allow ssh access locally?
I don’t know. It’s part of a system the user bought, but I don’t have any info on what a user (versus a maintainer - and I don’t know yet if the user bought a maintenance contract) can or can’t do. Still waiting on the manual.

The system’s vendor seems to be open to providing information, but my request is probably a low priority.

Also the user(s) are expected to be “email and web browser” level computer users, so whatever I’d be doing would have to be transparent to them. Everything beyond “enter this set of numbers in the address bar” would have to be on the computer itself, not their laptop.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
ghporter  (op)
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2023, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Good setup so far, a real-world Schrödinger's cat problem.

(reads more)

Dang, it's not about if the camera disappears, only to reappear in a local pawnshop. Quantum teleportation test.

Wireless router, with nothing connected to the WAN port. That gives you a wireless LAN, which local notebook users can connect to for access to the camera. You probably won't do any nameserver (DNS) stuff - just reach everything via LAN IP address.

ps - I've always wondered if the cat survives the experiment. You've already got a camera in the box. Any way you can check on the cat?
I have this wireless router, which has one Ethernet port. It’s marketed as a “travel router”, and I can see it doing a decent job in that role.

I think users are expected to access the system through a web page interface. So I think the wireless device will either have to supply DHCP to the system or (and here’s where I get lost) the system will have a static IP. So I think that connecting through the wireless router’s SSID should automatically connect to whatever DHCP address the system has, or…again, I’m lost.

It’s almost like it needs a “gaming adapter”/wireless client device, but with an SSID of its own.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2023, 02:03 PM
 
A wireless router will provide DHCP on the LAN, so anything that connects gets a local IP address. ie - 192.168.1.43 or whatever. There's no upstream connection, but that's OK. It behaves like a home router where the ISP connection has gone down. Everything local still works, you just can't load anything from the wider internet.

So you connect the camera to the router via ethernet (assuming the one port can work as a LAN port) or via wireless if need be. Then a passing student near the box can log into the router's wireless network. They'll be issued a local IP address, and can access the router and any other connected device. Notably, the camera.

Use a good password for the WLAN, because once anyone is in, they'll have camera access. Might even use a non-broadcast network name, so authorized people have to know the network too. Probably a good idea to have a separate password for router access, so passers-by cannot change network settings.

On the camera, set an IP address manually. Preferably in part of the range that the router doesn't assign to. For example, in the 192.168.1.xx range, most routers begin DHCP assignments at 33 or 50. Leaving the lower numbers for local static IP addresses for local servers. Like a network printer, NAS, security camera, etc.

Camera: plug in the ethernet cord, or give it login credentials to the WLAN. But manually set an IP within the range the router avoids. The router will honor the camera's setting.

Cat: before locking it in the box, make sure there's enough airflow to breath. The experiment must depend on indeterminacy effects, not macroscopic events.
     
ghporter  (op)
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2023, 02:54 PM
 
Thanks, that’s what I thought the router setup would do.

I’m working on a network password that is both solid and something the users can be expected to handle. Too long and users won’t be able to enter it accurately, but too short and random strangers can guess it.

I can set the camera’s IP easily enough, and I can DHCP pool as small as I want, and start it wherever I want. I think a total of 5 DHCP addresses is more than adequate.

Airflow is OK, but not excessive. I would honestly have spec’d the enclosure to have a thermostat-controlled cooling fan (every SINGLE day of September so far has broken 100F, and that’s after super hot July and August). The equipment in the box gets hot to the touch, so the cat will definitely have something to snuggle against during the experiment.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2023, 04:02 PM
 
There are case fans with built-in temp control. Just provide 12V, and the fan will ramp itself up and down. Newegg doesn't provide an easy sort parameter to find them - it takes digging. Suggest starting with the 2-pin-connector fans, and check description/specs for each. But a self-controlled fan might also use 3-4 pins, to report the current speed.

Suggest leaving the DHCP pool size alone. When someone walks away, their assigned address will remain assigned in the router DHCP pool. It can take up to 24 hours before an unused IP gets released for reassignment. If you narrow the pool to 5, a bit of testing can easily lock up all 5 addresses for an uncertain number of hours.

Yes, you could give yourself a static LAN address to get back in, just like the camera has. But it's an extra step. Once someone logs into the LAN, a limited DHCP pool will only annoy you, not add any security.
     
ghporter  (op)
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2023, 04:46 PM
 
Good point about the DHCP pool. I’d forgotten how long the default lifespan of an assigned address is.

If I could convince the vendor that their enclosures need airflow, I would certainly recommend thermostatically controlled fans. I’m not sure they were open to this though.

And I’m still waiting for them to provide the info I requested - through the users’ offices.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Waragainstsleep
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2023, 05:33 PM
 
Not an expert but I think weatherproof boxes with airflow are likely to add to the cost a fair bit. Usually have to use Goretex linings or something to allow air but deny moisture.

Ubiquiti has a good range of outdoor networking bits but you'd need a controller so using their gear is always an investment. Its good stuff though, a joy to configure.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ghporter  (op)
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2023, 11:09 AM
 
Sadly I'm quite late to the physical installation party, so getting the enclosure changed isn't gonna happen unless/until it "needs" replacement.

I like the vendor rep for this system, but the installer they contracted with "fails to impress." Example: installed the enclosure? check. Installed the cameras? check. Connected cameras to computer in enclosure? check. Plugged it all in to do an operational check? FAIL. It seems that the location didn't have an available power outlet, so the installer just left things as they were. Didn't check for function because there was no power. Didn't tell the vendor there wasn't any power either.

Also, the installer wasn't neat. He drilled/hole-sawed penetrations in the enclosure and just left the disks he removed wherever they fell off of his tool. He dropped screws and left them, installed cable brackets that he didn't use, and so on. This former avionics tech simply abhors such poor housekeeping...and I was able to point this stuff out to the vendor, so maybe the installer guy has done his last install for this vendor. I hope.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2023, 12:03 PM
 
When there's no power, I use a small solar generator as a portable power source. It won't power everything, but it will run small devices or lights. Lets you confirm operation. If you're on a roof, lets you avoid a bunch of runs up/down the ladder to turn things on/off.
     
ghporter  (op)
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 16, 2023, 11:20 AM
 
They got the power issue handled; they had an electrician run a weatherproof outlet for the equipment, so it works fine now, and there are apparently enough extra outlets to run the wireless router too.

I’m simply amazed that a “professional” equipment installer could completely omit “hey boss, there’s no power for the equipment I just installed”.

Still waiting for info. I’ll be able to “nudge” the users’ admin people on Monday, so maybe I can get the data I need soon after that.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:58 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,