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Tiny cheapo ESP8266 "Open to WPA2" wifi extender

joval Page Icon Posted 2022-01-04 2:10 AM
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Greetings, greetings Comrads! And a Happy New Year therein included.

I am posting this via an ESP3266 microcontroller using Martin-ger github download: https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_wifi_repeater

Now, you can purchase AC powered wifi extenders for less than $15 online... and they are more versatile /configurable, true. I may purchase one and see if it can be converted to battery option and offer" WPA to WPA2" security.

However for $4 or so you can purchase an Esp3266 and run it for hours from a cell phone charger (along with, say, a RasPi Zero 2 on same charger) using the above firmware files.

Presently only Open or WPA2 connection options are available... I hope WPA becomes available. Nevertheless, this is one way to get online with older wifi cards.

It won't be secure as open, but you can turn it on in a second or two, download whatever, etc. You can restrict access to a certain (your)MAC address
and restrict logons to a single user, I believe.

On a Jornada720 it might fit under the keyboard in place of the modem module and could be powered from within (5v on that capacitor in that area per Stefan's USB hack).

I'll check it out.and see... If you DOS HPC users can get wifi card working... or serial link to the Esp8266
that uses it's wifi... well that's another thought. See this: http://fab.cba.mit.edu/classes/863.14/tutorials/Programming/serialw...

The Esp32 has a higher speed/ bandwith... the Esp8266 is slow max 4 or 5Mb... so it's sluggish at least connecting to a RasPi Zero2 right now, but it gets you online without using your home Router. So a StarBucks test is in the future.

regards,

joval ...on the amazing Ginzu J720/devuan/wifi_Esp8266/RasPiZero2/VNC Zombie HPC!


Edited by joval 2022-01-04 2:28 AM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2022-01-04 6:07 AM
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Update:

1.The Esp8266 only consumes .02-.03Amps at 5.2 volts==>less than 14mA, so if can be tucked inside the J720 by removing modem module, it's power use will be minimal off the Jornada battery. If powered from pcmcia slot, could be turned on and off with WiFi card.

2. Even in WinCE mode, the old PIE browser will display 68k.news ( thanks Jake ) and Google search will display (small) images and bing has featured photo with some text... this all viewed on J720 with 64Mb ROM board upgrade ($39 Ebay) and stock Aironet 340 "open -no encryption" WiFi card. No Wikipedia, no text.npr.org so far.

3. It's not secure WiFi, but can turn in on or off in a second when needed, limit logins to a single one, restrict MAC address on Esp8266 helps a bit.

Joval

Edited by joval 2022-01-04 6:12 AM
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-01-04 4:09 PM
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Hi Joval, this is a great finding! I was looking at a similar approach for my "new" hp200lx DOS palmtop. I found this firmware https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_slip_router that allows the esp8266 to behave like a SLIP router. SLIP is the predecessor of PPP, which means it can transmit TCP packets over serial, and theoretically it could allow our ancient HPCs and PDAs to talk to modern WPA2 Wi-Fis over the esp's serial port. Bandwidth is limited to a maximum of 115200, but hey, we are talking about early 1990's devices, they can't go any faster than that anyway. WinCE devices can also benefit from it as they support SLIP and PPP natively.

About current consumption, esp can be a little tricky as current fluctuates depending on WiFi usage. You can get peaks of up to 320mA @ 3.3V, so your battery circuit will have to be able to handle that or the esp will die and reboot. Check this quick analysis here: https://www.esp8266.com/viewtopic.php?p=22385
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joval Page Icon Posted 2022-01-04 6:36 PM
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ntware - 2022-01-04 8:09 AM

Hi Joval, this is a great finding! I was looking at a similar approach for my "new" hp200lx DOS palmtop. I found this firmware https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_slip_router that allows the esp8266 to behave like a SLIP router. SLIP is the predecessor of PPP, which means it can transmit TCP packets over serial, and theoretically it could allow our ancient HPCs and PDAs to talk to modern WPA2 Wi-Fis over the esp's serial port. Bandwidth is limited to a maximum of 115200, but hey, we are talking about early 1990's devices, they can't go any faster than that anyway. WinCE devices can also benefit from it as they support SLIP and PPP natively.

About current consumption, esp can be a little tricky as current fluctuates depending on WiFi usage. You can get peaks of up to 320mA @ 3.3V, so your battery circuit will have to be able to handle that or the esp will die and reboot. Check this quick analysis here: https://www.esp8266.com/viewtopic.php?p=22385


Hi ntware! Thanks for the feedback. The slip approach sounds fascinating... basically use the esp8266 as a slow wifi "card" using direct serial connection to esp8266 usb, right? Let me know if you get something working serial or wifi to esp.

Same fellow on github Martin ger doing the magic in each option.

I have a usb "Power Doctor" that measure volts and amps... assuming its correct (might not be on low mA detection) . It never shows more than 0.04 Amps even when connected... but its on a AC wall cell charger. As is, the esp is a bit thick to fit under keyboard in place of modem... so some downsizing is needed.

I'm amazed Google search renders images without https://.. they're small but cool to see on PIE4!

Also Landofcode.com is accessible as http:// and gives basic tutorials on html, css, javascript/ vscript/ php... worth browsing. I'll keep digging up PIE http:// sites and make a running list if I have any luck! Will post a few photos too.

Nkpop, is that the mail program for winCE ? Still working these days?

Although J720 Devuan/Linux has been my major focus this past year (and this post is made possible by that right now) I really want to keep WinCE as a big part of the picture... with "dual boot" always part of the mix and shared FAT32 drive between the two. Best of both worlds, one for high speed internet access the other for outstanding power efficiency.

I have a Zeos Dos handheld about the size of a MP900 with 2 early pcmcia slots... do wifi cards work on your hp200lx with dos drivers?? So whatever you discover and share will be of use to me as well. Thanks in advance!

joval ...via J720/devuan/WPA/RasPiZero2/firefox hybrid HPC
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-01-04 6:54 PM
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joval - 2022-01-04 1:36 PM
I have a usb "Power Doctor" that measure volts and amps... assuming its correct (might not be on low mA detection) . It never shows more than 0.04 Amps even when connected...

These devices usually measure just average consumption. For peak current you will need something like an oscilloscope with current probes. That's because these fluctuations happen very rapidly and are imperceptible to average current instruments.

Edited by ntware 2022-01-04 6:54 PM
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-01-05 9:31 PM
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I must report that I tested https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_wifi_repeater firmware and it works like a charm! It is quite easy to setup and can essentially allow old HPCs to connect to WPA2 networks. This is quite awesome. I configured in a way that only my device can connect to it, so even though it is an open (no password) network, no one can sniff in because it is closed to only accept my device. An even better approach would be to pair the esp8266 with an ENC28J60 connected to its SPI bus. This allows for a direct ethernet connection to the HPC, provided you have an ethernet card, which makes the setup even more convenient and secure. I wonder if it would be possible for us to design a PCMCIA card with a NE2000 compatible chipset for Ethernet, and then pair it with an ENC28J60 + ESP8266 right on the card itself. It would be a self-contained module that for the WinCE device looks like a regular NE2000 Ethernet card, but for the external side it can actually connect to WPA2 wireless networks...

Software-wise this is pretty much all we need, as the esp firmware also provides a telnet service for online configuration. In practical terms, I was able to scan for new networks and connect to the network I want just by typing commands on the telnet session straight from my Jornada 720. Once connected, everything worked perfectly, and I was able to browse the internet in no time. For an even better user experience, one could write a little program in eVB (or some other language) that just interfaces the telnet command line with a GUI.
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joval Page Icon Posted 2022-01-06 4:22 AM
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That is so cool! Congrats on your success! I have to read/catch up on all the great ideas you're tossing around, but yes, a new life for the little beasties. And so cheap and easy. Photos welcomed.

You're restricting logon to a single user with your MAC adress, I assume.

I like the ethernet idea... wired with no bulky RJ45 jacks and that mega dongle isolation transformer thing... fit into the pcmcia slot.

So you can send simple email and surf text based internet sites?

I love it when a plan comes together!

joval ...on his J720/Devuan/RasPiZero2/Firefox AKA Unleashed Zombie Hybrid HPC
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_dev-null Page Icon Posted 2022-02-09 9:00 AM
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I tried this with one of my ESP32 modules and this code https://github.com/martin-ger/esp32_nat_router.
Didnt look into the ESP8266 sourcecode - but with the ESP32 sourcecode we are able to change the encryption type for the access point in ./main/esp32_nat_router.c

In the wifi_config struct we can change ".authmode = WIFI_AUTH_WPA2_PSK" to ".authmode = WIFI_AUTH_WPA_PSK" or even ".authmode = WIFI_AUTH_WEP"
So the whole setup becomes a little bit more secure than a open network.

This is a nice setup for connecting to WPA2 networks with a decent speed. I did some tests and got around 10Mbit/s


Stefan


Edited by _dev-null 2022-02-09 9:02 AM
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2022-02-09 4:42 PM
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Re: powering esp's, etc:



This is the only power bank I've found that will prevent auto-shutoff of low-powered devices.

It's a bit overkill, in terms of sheer size, and I would love to find something physically smaller.

Jake
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joval Page Icon Posted 2022-02-10 12:03 AM
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_dev-null - 2022-02-09 1:00 AM

I tried this with one of my ESP32 modules and this code https://github.com/martin-ger/esp32_nat_router.
Didnt look into the ESP8266 sourcecode - but with the ESP32 sourcecode we are able to change the encryption type for the access point in ./main/esp32_nat_router.c

In the wifi_config struct we can change ".authmode = WIFI_AUTH_WPA2_PSK" to ".authmode = WIFI_AUTH_WPA_PSK" or even ".authmode = WIFI_AUTH_WEP"
So the whole setup becomes a little bit more secure than a open network.

This is a nice setup for connecting to WPA2 networks with a decent speed. I did some tests and got around 10Mbit/s


Stefan


Hi Stefan!

Fantastic! The Wizard congers up more Magic... good for you! (and us). That is Super... just what I was hoping for when I started the thread:

Quote
Joval ... Presently, only Open or WPA2 connection options are available... I hope WPA becomes available.


Since the ESP32 is the big brother of the ESP8266, hopefully this will work for the ESP8266. Cool.

Also, I accomplished the following using a Node mcu ESP8266 with the wifi-repeater firmware:

Quote
Joval... On a Jornada720 it might fit under the keyboard in place of the modem module and could be powered from within (5v on that capacitor in that area per Stefan's USB hack).


Works great, turn on or off with the Jornada power button, draws very little current. I get at least 2hours use with Aironet wifi open mode surfing net with Frogfind.com (text only) + ESP8266 wifi-repeater alone or full Webpages with images when combined with RasPi Zero2 auto-running WRP proxy (page refreshes much faster with RasPi 4 or Windows speedy laptop as proxy "engine". See photos below.

So... l hope you can take a look at the ESP8266 sourcecode. Using a WPC11 prism card can use wep in WinCE mode, WPA in Devuan mode. Also, Pocket Putty (requires Redgear) allows telnet to ESP8266 and set max-clients, connect/disconnect SSID , sleep, etc ...and also allows J720 to SSH to RasPi to start WRP, etc.

Thanks again, Stefan, for the Devuan J720 port, the Connman wifi fix, the Bx Kernal patch, and the ZRAM memory compression...and now this ESP32 (hopefully ESP8266) WIFI security fix.

Very much appreciate all you do, have done. What's more... This Esp32 wifi fix will help many HPC owners... not just J720.

Best rregards,

Joval


Edited by joval 2022-02-10 12:34 AM




(Before_phone_modem.JPG)



(Trimmed_and_wired.JPG)



(After_ESP8266-Wifi.JPG)



(Frogfind.com-Ant.JPG)



(WRP=HoneyPots-for-Rich.JPG)



Attachments
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Attachments Before_phone_modem.JPG (185KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments Trimmed_and_wired.JPG (179KB - 2 downloads)
Attachments After_ESP8266-Wifi.JPG (186KB - 2 downloads)
Attachments Frogfind.com-Ant.JPG (163KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments WRP=HoneyPots-for-Rich.JPG (130KB - 0 downloads)
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