"Wireless" Cables

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"Wireless" Cables

Postby Stryker » November 15th, 2012, 8:26 pm

I have seen some gizmos on the internet that are basically the two ends of a USB extender cable, but without the cable. The male end, say, plugs into your laptop, and you plug your device into the female end and hook up an external power supply.

This is an idea I've had ever since I've been using floppy discs and mostly the products online have horrible ratings. They seem to all suck horribly, and I was finding it difficult to find a good one with a built-in power supply.

Now, it seems it should not be too hard (coming from one who has very little experience with microcontrollers) to get, say, to XBees and make this yourself, right? I mean, if I have a device with lots of empty space in it, and I can cram a battery pack, XBee (or some similar device), and some wires/cables in there, I could just make a wireless USB cable, right?

If not, then oh well but if so, well, I will start working on that probably.
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby Quin » November 16th, 2012, 9:09 pm

Xbee data rate 250 kbps
USB 2.0 signaling rate 480 Mbps

You've got a wide gap there to have something based off of a Xbee module. There are some higher speed radios out there, but they aren't generally mesh network type devices.
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby Stryker » November 16th, 2012, 10:03 pm

Quin wrote:Xbee data rate 250 kbps
USB 2.0 signaling rate 480 Mbps

You've got a wide gap there to have something based off of a Xbee module. There are some higher speed radios out there, but they aren't generally mesh network type devices.

Hmm. That's a bummer.
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby asheets » November 19th, 2012, 10:42 am

This might be WAY out there, and probably overkill besides... but how about rolling up a USB-over-IP platform using a RasPi?
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby GaspingSpark » November 19th, 2012, 12:04 pm

As an extension of what asheets said:

http://usbip.sourceforge.net/

Requires a Linux server like the RasPi to share USB devices and a Linux or Windows client to use them. The only problem is you might have to build the kernel modules yourself if nobody has done it for the RasPi.
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby asheets » November 19th, 2012, 12:41 pm

Somebody figured out how to run usbip on a RasPi: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... p?p=121691

Throw in a wireless network, and it would look like the OP would be set.
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby Stryker » November 20th, 2012, 1:37 pm

Ok so with my very limited knowledge of this stuff, this would be attaching an rPi to each device, forming an an-hoc network on my computer, and having them all send USB data over the wifi network? Do I understand that correctly?
(If so: Yes very overkill but still wonderful.)
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby asheets » November 20th, 2012, 1:54 pm

Stryker wrote:Ok so with my very limited knowledge of this stuff, this would be attaching an rPi to each device, forming an an-hoc network on my computer, and having them all send USB data over the wifi network? Do I understand that correctly?
(If so: Yes very overkill but still wonderful.)


Not quite -- You could hook all of your usb devices to the RasPi and configure the RasPi as both a USBIP sender and as a wireless node to some AP. You would then install the USBIP receiver on your computer, which also is on a network (either wired or wireless) that can see the AP and the RasPi on it.

EDIT: Here's a crude diagram. Excuse the ascii art, please.


USB devices --> RasPi --> wireless NIC --> Network cloud <-- NIC or wireless NIC <-- computer
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby Stryker » November 20th, 2012, 1:57 pm

asheets wrote:Not quite -- You could hook all of your usb devices to the RasPi and configure the RasPi as both a USBIP sender and as a wireless node to some AP. You would then install the USBIP receiver on your computer, which also is on a network (either wired or wireless) that can see the AP and the RasPi on it.

Ok. I'm not sure what AP is here and I'm assuming the USBIP receiver which I would install is software, not hardware? I think this might turn out to be a useful and affordable solution.
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Re: "Wireless" Cables

Postby asheets » November 20th, 2012, 2:19 pm

Stryker wrote:Ok. I'm not sure what AP is here and I'm assuming the USBIP receiver which I would install is software, not hardware? I think this might turn out to be a useful and affordable solution.


Sorry. AP == wireless access point. USBIP reciever == software you install on your computer.

As an example, I once had a requirement for running several USB JTAG devices remotely (over the company network). The JTAGs were in a secure room that didn't have a network or serial wiring, but there was wireless internet nearby. So, I hook the JTAGs up to a wireless laptop (which would be the RasPi, in your case), load up the USBIP server software, and send the USB connection over the wireless network.

On the other end (the next building over), I had a desktop computer wired into the company network that I loaded the USBIP receiver software on. I do a network query and detect the JTAGs on the network, and configure them for local use. With just a little bit of latency, the JTAGs worked just like they were hooked up to directly to the desktop.

Potentially, your could configure USBIP to work over the Internet (WWW), though I really wouldn't try it with anything more than a printer or a webcam, due to the latency induced by such a long connection.
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