Internet in a Box Status

December 25, 2018

The past two years’ Anime Weekends Atlanta made use of the updated Internet in a Box hinted at in a previous post with good success.

The only gotcha we encountered in 2017 was having to reboot the GrooveA once a day: I’ve yet to actually do a similar test with my home network to see if it’s an oddity of the device or was an oddity of the network.

Notably this year we were in an entirely new hotel due to the convention’s housekeeping service being confusing: the Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria. This hotel had a mixture of convention attendees, Braves games attendees, and a couple of other events attendees. All things considered, it was good enough if requiring a couple of Lyft trips each day due to its distance from the Waverly.

The gotcha we encountered at the Marriott was the hotel’s Ruckus-based WiFi lost its controller, so there was only one AP with the correct SSID: enter the LTE connection, which we managed to use responsibly for once. The hotel’s network worked nicely when it was working.

Anyway, the current configuration of Internet in a Box is as follows, living in a Pelican 1400 case:

  • Mikrotik hAP ac Lite – the core of the system: this supplies WiFi and 4 wired ports for clients, and one port (with PoE out) for wired networks, as well as a USB port to power stuff.
  • Mikrotik GrooveA 52 ac – the wireless client solution: powered by PoE off the hAP ac lite.
  • Huawei E3276s-505 aircard – emergency connection, works great in a pinch! (this generally lives in my work laptop backpack)
  • Huawei AF23 Sharing Dock – dock for the E3276s-505, again works great in a pinch!
  • Chromecast (qty. 2) – even though we’ve moved to using HDMI direct off a laptop or using a Fire Stick or Roku, this still has merit.
  • 7′ black Cat-5e cable – to connect the GrooveA or AF23 to the hAP.
  • Weiting WT3110A tripod – lightweight tripod: this doesn’t fit in the Pelican case, which is making me think it’s time to get a larger Pelican case.

As of right now, the system is stable and works nicely with the only question being the following: is it time to get a larger Pelican case to add the tripod in and upgrade to the hAP ac to give gigabit Ethernet ports, a SFP case for fibre silliness, and faster WiFi speeds? The answer is “probably not” as the fastest speed I’ve ever seen in a hotel is 70 Mbit. For what we use hotel networks for, this is generally a nonissue.

All in all I’m quite happy to have the solution at a very usable state finally after many years and much equipment: bonus is when the occasional extended power outages occur here I can dig the aircard out of my backpack, pull the hAP ac and the AF23 out of the case, and I’m online from generator power as their collective current draw is very very low.

It’s been a fun few years, but we might finally be at the “final” form of this project.

Until next time!

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