The Thermal Tweeter needs a wired ethernet internet connection to get tweets. At the Open Hardware Summit and Maker Faire we’ll be lucky to have wifi. Likely we’ll need to use a 3G wireless connection. We need a way to bridge the wireless data services to a wired connection.
Today we picked up a cheap router and tested the setup:
- A smartphone relays 3G or wifi internet to a netbook over USB
- A netbook connected to a router via ethernet shares the internet connection
- The web platform connects to the router and pulls tweets from Twitter
More about our setup and prep below the fold.
If we’re lucky wifi will be usable, but a Google Nexus S smartphone is the backup plan. It can share a 3G data connection as a wifi access point, or as a standard USB network adapter. The USB mode relays a wifi connection if available, bonus.
Actually getting a bulk data plan that will work in New York has been a nightmare. The cheapest option is to buy an AT&T prepaid GoPhone ($10) and use the SIM card. 500MB of internet is $25. We can’t get them here, so we tried to order it to the Maker Faire conference hotel. Neither AT&T’s webshop, nor Walmart’s, seem to agree with that idea. We’ve mapped a few shops to try near the hotel instead.
Internet connection sharing
An old netbook running Windows XP is has internet connection sharing enabled. A couple words on ICS:
- The local connection network adapter becomes a gateway with a fixed 192.168.0.1 address. DHCP is enabled.
- Our router has a “cable modem hole”. Even though the router got an IP from the sharing PC when connected to this socket, the internet wasn’t available to anything attached to the router.
- Windows XP will re-enable its silly firewall at the drop of a hat, and never let you know. If things don’t work, always check this first.
We disabled the router’s DHCP server and connected the netbook to a regular socket on the router. That was the magic combination, the Thermal Tweeter prints from wifi and 3G perfectly.