Next Steps and 2020 Preview

December 12, 2019

We are back, and things are proceeding nicely with the internet in a Box rebuild: the new apu2d0 arrived and is running pfSense with an IPsec tunnel back to the datacenter firewall. Also new is the LTE modem in use: ZTE’s MF861 “Velocity USB Stick”. However, this will ultimately be replaced with the Inseego Global Modem USB800 if I can ever find one. Initial tests are passable, and there’s a field trip to Galleria and Environs with one of these USB modems and my GPD MicroPC in my near future.

The reasoning for going with a USB modem instead of the M1 hotspot is because it is truly plug-and-play and not needing any sort of dock, unlike the previous Huawei card. Outside of convention trips and the few overnight business trips I have these days, I really only need access for a single device when away from home: sure, I could use my iPhone’s hotspot, but that’s only 15GB. Both the MF861 and presumably the USB800 use RNDIS, so pfSense, Arch Linux, and Windows 10 all automatically pick it up as a USB Ethernet device. This covers the operating systems it’ll be plugged into, though I’m sure macOS will have the same result if I pull my MacBook Air back out.

2020 will be here in 3 weeks, and my convention schedule is a bit more full. I’m planning to go to either Seishun Con here in Atlanta or (more likely) drive over to Birmingham, AL, for KamiCon, end of January. After that’s the long wait until MomoCon over Memorial Day weekend, then the long summer wait until DragonCon over Labor Day weekend, then the long wait until Anime Weekend Atlanta over Halloween weekend. And to wrap it all up is Atlanta Anime Day, assuming I decide to go, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

I’m not planning to tote the full Internet in a Box to any con except AWA. If I get floor space in a room for the other 3 cons, yes, I’ll bring the aircard in my personal laptop backpack so I’d have (hopefully) better connectivity for my laptop. As I’m unsure of what the potential roommates’ opinions of portable networking are, I’ll err on the side of caution. Plus there’s a definite “do stuff outside of room” push at those cons. That exists too for AWA but this year was kind of a cluster planning-wise. I hope to alleviate that with a Wednesday check-in for this next year.

I’m sure there will be other fan events to attend, but there’s no telling when or where. And naturally, I’m sure I’ll have at least one overnight work trip that the case will get put in my checked luggage for use as usual.

Things are definitely coming together: let’s hope our connectivity solution holds true for a while. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll figure it out. Somehow.

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