WiFi on the Ben NanoNote

Recently I have had opportunity to use my Spectec WiFi card with my Ben to connect on several places. So there is my personal experience.

I always have used unencrypted connection: in public places like pubs or restaurants, at my university we also have an unecrypted WiFi with VPN (vpnc works well here). I ever experienced any noticeable packet loss as it was reported by some other users.

I have used these commands to connect:

iwlist scan |less #(to find the hotspot)
iwconfig eth0 mode Managed
iwconfig eth0 essid ABC #(to connect to hotspot - "ABC" for example)
udhpc eth0 #(DHCP client)

There is one problem: it is necessary to insert the WiFi card into the slot only AFTER device boot. It is not recognized if it is inserted before boot.

Ben with WiFi Card inserted running Links

Ben with WiFi Card inserted running Links

I have used the Mutt for e-mails, the Links browser (and Surfraw to start it) and a Czech transport finder spoje.py. Of course, WWW experience is limited by text mode and (mainly) by screen size but for most cases it is acceptable (googling, reading wikipedia, online dictionaries and so on). I don’t use IM too much so I only tried to start MCabber to see who is online on Google Talk and it works (anyway the Climm seems to be a more suitable IM client for so small screen. There is only one type of application that I miss – a RSS reader.

A battery usage seems to be about 0.5-1% per minute (no power management is available in device driver). It may be too much for prolonged usage but if one needs to connect for short periods (to check emails, to send or to dowload something) it is acceptable. I’s still good for an option which is oficially unsupported by manufacturer.

I’m thinking about making a simple dialog-based configuration utility for the Ben. But the rest of things seem to be functional enough.

Anyway, I use my Ben mostly offline (for notetaking, like a dictionary, as a calendar, todo list, music player,…) and a possibility of a WiFi connection is usefull only for some cases (during traveling and so).

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16 Responses to WiFi on the Ben NanoNote

  1. I’d love to have one, but as the price stands (and will probably stand until stock runs out) it is out of the question: it is almost as expensive as the Ben. I have not been using my little thingie a lot lately.. I prefer my iPod touch for note taking (it saves notes to my gmail account… This is cool as then I can use them in my computer without connecting it), it also has mind mapping applications and thus beats the competition :/

    Ruben

  2. jirkasnotes says:

    What mindmapping application you use?

    Maybe the Hierarchical Notebook ( http://hnb.sf.net ) would be usefull for you, too (for notes and maybe for some mindmapping)? It is already ported to the Ben.

    Well, this WiFi card is expensive. But Ben+Spectec is still cheaper (and smaller) than single iPod touch, isn’t it?

  3. I use Buzan’s iMindMap Pro (2.39€, but the free version it is also OK, I used it before). My iPod Touch was around 180€, and if I remember correctly, Ben+Spectec would be almost that price.

    hnb looks pretty interesting! But I guess that (as I finally got around buying a microSD and install debian on it), I prefer emacs’ org mode (which does exactly the same thing as hnb, plus calendars).

    Ruben

  4. jirkasnotes says:

    Ben is 99 EUR and WiFi Card is about 80-90 EUR. So yes, it similar.

    From my point of view the Ben is much more open: if I will want to put some custom applications on the device (and I actually need them) on the Ben in can be easily done. For GUI applications, web browsing, games and so on I already have a Nokia N800 (which is still a great device) but I use it only infrequently. I simply have learned that I often don’t need these things and the Ben fits my needs better.

    How does Emacs work on Ben’s screen?

    • It works pretty well, emacs 23 with visual line mode (a virtual line break mode) works like a charm, with very nice coloring. But as I love emacs, emacs is always nice for me ;)

      Ruben

  5. John says:

    Do you happen to know or able to test if it can connect to WPA networks?

  6. ao2 says:

    @jirkasnotes: can you please post the kernel messages you got when you keep the card inserted from the start? So I can compare with the one I am getting, and search engine can index the messages too.

    I am getting these, but on a pxa27x machine:

    [   21.177526] mmc0: bad CISTPL_FUNCE tuple 0x01 (28 bytes)
    [   21.181121] mmc0: bad CIS tuple 0x22 (28 bytes)
    [   21.186458] mmc0: error -22 whilst initialising SDIO card
    

    And what are the messages you get when you insert the card after boot?

    Thanks,
    Antonio

    • jirkasnotes says:

      Hello,

      There is a completed output of the “dmesg” command. I hope it helps.


      [ 0.000000] Linux version 2.6.32.10 (mvogt@buildhost) (gcc version 4.3.3 (GCC) ) #1 PREEMPT Fri May 7 23:57:23 CEST 2010
      [ 0.000000] bootconsole [early0] enabled
      [ 0.000000] CPU revision is: 0ad0024f (Ingenic JZRISC)
      [ 0.000000] Determined physical RAM map:
      [ 0.000000] memory: 04000000 @ 00000000 (usable)
      [ 0.000000] User-defined physical RAM map:
      [ 0.000000] memory: 02000000 @ 00000000 (usable)
      [ 0.000000] Zone PFN ranges:
      [ 0.000000] Normal 0x00000000 -> 0x00002000
      [ 0.000000] Movable zone start PFN for each node
      [ 0.000000] early_node_map[1] active PFN ranges
      [ 0.000000] 0: 0x00000000 -> 0x00002000
      [ 0.000000] On node 0 totalpages: 8192
      [ 0.000000] free_area_init_node: node 0, pgdat 803b4ba0, node_mem_map 81000000
      [ 0.000000] Normal zone: 64 pages used for memmap
      [ 0.000000] Normal zone: 0 pages reserved
      [ 0.000000] Normal zone: 8128 pages, LIFO batch:0
      [ 0.000000] Built 1 zonelists in Zone order, mobility grouping on. Total pages: 8128
      [ 0.000000] Kernel command line: mem=32M console=ttyS0,57600n8 ubi.mtd=2 rootfstype=ubifs root=ubi0:rootfs rw rootwait
      [ 0.000000] PID hash table entries: 128 (order: -3, 512 bytes)
      [ 0.000000] Dentry cache hash table entries: 4096 (order: 2, 16384 bytes)
      [ 0.000000] Inode-cache hash table entries: 2048 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
      [ 0.000000] Primary instruction cache 16kB, VIPT, 4-way, linesize 32 bytes.
      [ 0.000000] Primary data cache 16kB, 4-way, VIPT, no aliases, linesize 32 bytes
      [ 0.000000] Memory: 28316k/32768k available (2777k kernel code, 4452k reserved, 954k data, 204k init, 0k highmem)
      [ 0.000000] Hierarchical RCU implementation.
      [ 0.000000] NR_IRQS:184
      [ 0.000000] Console: colour dummy device 80x25
      [ 0.000000] console [ttyS0] enabled, bootconsole disabled
      [ 0.000000] Calibrating delay loop... 335.05 BogoMIPS (lpj=1675264)
      [ 0.230000] Mount-cache hash table entries: 512
      [ 0.250000] NET: Registered protocol family 16
      [ 0.270000] Qi Hardware JZ4740 QI_LB60 setup
      [ 0.280000] JZ GPIO initalized
      [ 0.340000] bio: create slab at 0
      [ 0.360000] Switching to clocksource jz4740-timer
      [ 0.390000] NET: Registered protocol family 2
      [ 0.400000] IP route cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
      [ 0.410000] TCP established hash table entries: 1024 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
      [ 0.420000] TCP bind hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
      [ 0.430000] TCP: Hash tables configured (established 1024 bind 1024)
      [ 0.440000] TCP reno registered
      [ 0.450000] NET: Registered protocol family 1
      [ 0.470000] JFFS2 version 2.2. (NAND) (SUMMARY) Š 2001-2006 Red Hat, Inc.
      [ 0.480000] msgmni has been set to 55
      [ 0.490000] io scheduler noop registered
      [ 0.500000] io scheduler anticipatory registered (default)
      [ 0.510000] io scheduler deadline registered
      [ 0.520000] io scheduler cfq registered
      [ 0.550000] Console: switching to colour frame buffer device 40x15
      [ 0.670000] Serial: 8250/16550 driver, 2 ports, IRQ sharing disabled
      [ 0.680000] serial8250: ttyS0 at MMIO 0x0 (irq = 17) is a 16550A
      [ 0.700000] NAND device: Manufacturer ID: 0xec, Chip ID: 0xd5 (Samsung NAND 2GiB 3,3V 8-bit)
      [ 0.710000] Scanning device for bad blocks
      [ 0.960000] Creating 4 MTD partitions on "jz4740-nand":
      [ 0.970000] 0x000000000000-0x000000400000 : "NAND BOOT partition"
      [ 0.980000] 0x000000400000-0x000000800000 : "NAND KERNEL partition"
      [ 1.000000] 0x000000800000-0x000010800000 : "NAND ROOTFS partition"
      [ 1.020000] 0x000010800000-0x000080000000 : "NAND DATA partition"
      [ 1.030000] jz4740-nand jz4740-nand.0: Successfully registered JZ4740 NAND driver
      [ 1.040000] UBI: attaching mtd2 to ubi0
      [ 1.050000] UBI: physical eraseblock size: 524288 bytes (512 KiB)
      [ 1.060000] UBI: logical eraseblock size: 516096 bytes
      [ 1.070000] UBI: smallest flash I/O unit: 4096
      [ 1.080000] UBI: VID header offset: 4096 (aligned 4096)
      [ 1.090000] UBI: data offset: 8192
      [ 2.140000] UBI: attached mtd2 to ubi0
      [ 2.150000] UBI: MTD device name: "NAND ROOTFS partition"
      [ 2.160000] UBI: MTD device size: 256 MiB
      [ 2.170000] UBI: number of good PEBs: 512
      [ 2.180000] UBI: number of bad PEBs: 0
      [ 2.190000] UBI: max. allowed volumes: 128
      [ 2.200000] UBI: wear-leveling threshold: 4096
      [ 2.210000] UBI: number of internal volumes: 1
      [ 2.220000] UBI: number of user volumes: 1
      [ 2.220000] UBI: available PEBs: 0
      [ 2.230000] UBI: total number of reserved PEBs: 512
      [ 2.240000] UBI: number of PEBs reserved for bad PEB handling: 5
      [ 2.250000] UBI: max/mean erase counter: 34/4
      [ 2.250000] UBI: image sequence number: 0
      [ 2.260000] UBI: background thread "ubi_bgt0d" started, PID 205
      [ 2.280000] g_ether gadget: using random self ethernet address
      [ 2.300000] g_ether gadget: using random host ethernet address
      [ 2.310000] usb0: MAC be:8e:2b:77:dc:1e
      [ 2.320000] usb0: HOST MAC 3a:25:67:a1:18:9a
      [ 2.330000] g_ether gadget: controller 'jz-udc' not recognized; trying CDC Ethernet (ECM)
      [ 2.340000] g_ether gadget: Ethernet Gadget, version: Memorial Day 2008
      [ 2.350000] g_ether gadget: g_ether ready
      [ 2.360000] input: gpio-keys as /devices/platform/gpio-keys/input/input0
      [ 2.380000] input: matrix-keypad as /devices/platform/matrix-keypad/input/input1
      [ 2.400000] jz4740-rtc jz4740-rtc: rtc core: registered jz4740-rtc as rtc0
      [ 2.430000] JZ SD/MMC card driver registered
      [ 2.440000] TCP cubic registered
      [ 2.450000] NET: Registered protocol family 17
      [ 2.470000] jz4740-rtc jz4740-rtc: setting system clock to 2010-07-27 18:41:54 UTC (1280256114)
      [ 3.130000] UBIFS: mounted UBI device 0, volume 0, name "rootfs"
      [ 3.140000] UBIFS: file system size: 254435328 bytes (248472 KiB, 242 MiB, 493 LEBs)
      [ 3.150000] UBIFS: journal size: 10452992 bytes (10208 KiB, 9 MiB, 21 LEBs)
      [ 3.160000] UBIFS: media format: w4/r0 (latest is w4/r0)
      [ 3.170000] UBIFS: default compressor: lzo
      [ 3.180000] UBIFS: reserved for root: 0 bytes (0 KiB)
      [ 3.190000] VFS: Mounted root (ubifs filesystem) on device 0:11.
      [ 3.200000] Freeing unused kernel memory: 204k freed
      [ 3.210000] Please be patient, while OpenWrt loads ...
      [ 11.910000] cbc: Unknown symbol blkcipher_walk_done
      [ 11.930000] cbc: Unknown symbol blkcipher_walk_virt
      [ 11.950000] cbc: Unknown symbol crypto_blkcipher_type
      [ 12.020000] ecb: Unknown symbol blkcipher_walk_done
      [ 12.040000] ecb: Unknown symbol blkcipher_walk_virt
      [ 12.060000] ecb: Unknown symbol crypto_blkcipher_type
      [ 12.440000] ks7010_sdio : May 7 2010 23:40:11
      [ 12.500000] Generic kernel compatibility enabled based on linux-next next-20100113
      [ 12.920000] cfg80211: Calling CRDA to update world regulatory domain
      [ 13.280000] mac80211: Unknown symbol ieee80211_led_radio
      [ 13.340000] mac80211: Unknown symbol ieee80211_led_rx
      [ 13.360000] mac80211: Unknown symbol ieee80211_led_exit
      [ 13.400000] mac80211: Unknown symbol ieee80211_led_init
      [ 13.410000] cfg80211: World regulatory domain updated:
      [ 13.440000] (start_freq - end_freq @ bandwidth), (max_antenna_gain, max_eirp)
      [ 13.460000] (2402000 KHz - 2472000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
      [ 13.470000] mac80211: Unknown symbol ieee80211_led_assoc
      [ 13.480000] (2457000 KHz - 2482000 KHz @ 20000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
      [ 13.500000] (2474000 KHz - 2494000 KHz @ 20000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
      [ 13.520000] (5170000 KHz - 5250000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
      [ 13.540000] (5735000 KHz - 5835000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
      [ 13.550000] mac80211: Unknown symbol ieee80211_led_tx
      [ 14.440000] tun: Universal TUN/TAP device driver, 1.6
      [ 14.450000] tun: (C) 1999-2004 Max Krasnyansky
      [ 14.710000] No device for DAI jz4740-i2s
      [ 14.900000] asoc: jz-codec jz4740-i2s mapping ok
      [ 16.980000] UBI: attaching mtd3 to ubi1
      [ 16.980000] UBI: physical eraseblock size: 524288 bytes (512 KiB)
      [ 16.990000] UBI: logical eraseblock size: 516096 bytes
      [ 17.000000] UBI: smallest flash I/O unit: 4096
      [ 17.010000] UBI: VID header offset: 4096 (aligned 4096)
      [ 17.020000] UBI: data offset: 8192
      [ 24.550000] UBI: attached mtd3 to ubi1
      [ 24.560000] UBI: MTD device name: "NAND DATA partition"
      [ 24.570000] UBI: MTD device size: 1784 MiB
      [ 24.580000] UBI: number of good PEBs: 3568
      [ 24.590000] UBI: number of bad PEBs: 0
      [ 24.600000] UBI: max. allowed volumes: 128
      [ 24.610000] UBI: wear-leveling threshold: 4096
      [ 24.620000] UBI: number of internal volumes: 1
      [ 24.630000] UBI: number of user volumes: 1
      [ 24.640000] UBI: available PEBs: 14
      [ 24.650000] UBI: total number of reserved PEBs: 3554
      [ 24.660000] UBI: number of PEBs reserved for bad PEB handling: 35
      [ 24.670000] UBI: max/mean erase counter: 645/0
      [ 24.680000] UBI: image sequence number: 975363145
      [ 24.690000] UBI: background thread "ubi_bgt1d" started, PID 660
      [ 25.330000] UBIFS: mounted UBI device 1, volume 0, name "data"
      [ 25.340000] UBIFS: file system size: 1808916480 bytes (1766520 KiB, 1725 MiB, 3505 LEBs)
      [ 25.350000] UBIFS: journal size: 33546240 bytes (32760 KiB, 31 MiB, 65 LEBs)
      [ 25.360000] UBIFS: media format: w4/r0 (latest is w4/r0)
      [ 25.370000] UBIFS: default compressor: lzo
      [ 25.380000] UBIFS: reserved for root: 4952683 bytes (4836 KiB)

  7. kev says:

    does it have a web browser with the wifi card if so can you send me a pic of it because i want to buy one

  8. Jorg Conradt says:

    Hi everyone!

    For a research project I am considering a Ben NanoNode with WiFi; but I need “reasonable” data rates. The official web pages (http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Wi-Fi_in_Nanonote) state super high rates, so I have trouble believing that:

    * Throughput
    TCP Tx 15.3Mbps
    TCP Rx 19.2Mbps
    UDP Tx 12.6Mbps
    UDP Rx 14.9Mbps

    Can anyone confirm these rates or has anyone other experiences? What is a typical data rate on Spectec SDW823 + Ben NanoNode?

    Thanks for any comments!!

    Jorg

    • jirkasnotes says:

      Hi Jorg,

      If you can tell me how to measure these data (what command I have to use) I can do it for you.

      jirka

      • Jorg Conradt says:

        Hi jirka,

        thanks for your offer!

        I don’t know of a program to test throughput; however, what you can easily do is copy a large file from/to your local network. So e.g. use “scp” to copy a large file (several 100 Mbytes, such as a CD image) from the NanoNote to your local PC over wireless. Most implementations of “scp” show the data rate during transfer; otherwise simply measure the time required for upload and download and divide the size of your file (in BITS) by the time required (in seconds).

        Make sure you “scp” from/to your local network; otherwise the bottleneck in communication might be your internet service provider ;)

        If you can’t scp for a first test you can also download a large file through your web-browser’s build-in download manager, etc…

        Thanks lot!

        Jorg

      • jirkasnotes says:

        Hello Jorg,

        I have tried to copy some data with scp. But I wasn’t able to make local Wifi network so I have used local EDUROAM network.

        SCP (Dropbear client on NanoNote) says:
        ~16 KB/s (average, max abou 19) from desktop to NanoNote
        ~18 KB/s (average, max about 30) from from NanoNote to desktop

        It’s not that much, a guess? It seems to me that wifi is faster but internal flash speed is the bottleneck.

        jirka

  9. Jorg Conradt says:

    Hi jirka,

    thanks for your efforts. That indeed are very low numbers. Oh well, EDUROAM (at least here) uses WPA2 encryption, which might require some CPU overhead. I do not think that flash is a bottleneck, as flash should be orders of magnitudes faster than 20KBytes/sec.
    I’ll see what I can do…

    Thanks again,

    Jorg

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