What About WiFi?

I wanted to take a moment to explain a couple changes that you no doubt will notice. One, the image of the BUGbase on the homepage and product pages is about to change (here’s a preview). We are starting our shipments with a special, limited production, version of the BUGbase. We’re calling it
the “Hiro P Edition”. This version is slightly different from the final production version we will ship later this year. What makes it special? Two things (otherwise they are functionally equivalent).
First, the Hiro P user interface is based on a joystick navigation system while on the full production version it is replaced with a panel-based button system. Second, the Hiro P BUGbases do not have
built-in wifi capability. This is the main reason we have two different BUGbase versions. Let me explain.

In a pure, GPL, open source world, getting Wifi working is tricky. In fact, it’s almost impossible. Not because the hardware isn’t available, though getting a vendor to even talk to you as a small company is difficult, it’s the software drivers. Until recently, they simply haven’t existed in a form we could use. I won’t go into all the
technical reasons why (I’ll leave that to the forums) but suffice to say, we couldn’t get it ready in time for our first committed ship date while remaining true to our commitment to stay 100% open source.

To help address the need for Wifi in the short term we are currently designing a BUGmodule that will provide 802.11g support for the Hiro P. We expect to have it available in the next few months and we’ll be offering it to you at our production cost (plus shipping and handling). Hopefully this will be a good way to provide wireless connectivity to your BUGbase without having to waiting for the next version. The full
production version of the BUGbase is also in development and we’ll be announcing its availability in the coming weeks. We completely understand the value of wireless connectivity and are committed to providing it and not only Wifi but many other flavors as well!

We can’t wait to begin this next phase of our growth – actually getting hardware into the hands of our users and seeing what develops. We will be active participants ourselves and look forward to discussing
everything we’re up to here at Bug Labs both in our forums and on this blog. Stay tuned and please let us know what you think! Thanks.

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16 Responses to “What About WiFi?”

  1. turn_self_off Says:

    heh, hiro p.

    someone been reading the “cyberpunk” ;)

  2. turn_self_off Says:

    ah, forgot to make a comment on the wifi issue.

    i think the reason for it being so troublesome is that a lot of nations put a limit on the broadcast power of consumer devices, and different nations have different limits.

    so to keep cost down, they produce a single chip that can be limited in software/firmware.

    problem is that this means no go for open source, as the same nations have stiff penalties in place if the limits gets broken, even if its the consumer thats doing the breaking.

    all in all its a mess of epic proportions…

  3. Cliff Brake Says:

    It seems like there is good progress being made with supporting the Marvell SDIO wifi chips in mainstream:

    http://bec-systems.com/web/content/view/89/9/

  4. turn_self_off Says:

    ah yes, i think i read something about someone trying to get that working in the developer series of openmoko phones, so that those could get wifi (at the expense of memory i guess).

  5. huli Says:

    What chipset would you use?

  6. Harold Says:

    How about building an interface to a USB WiFi like the TiVo Wireless G USB Network Adapter? Work has been done on Linux driver? Device is in productin.

  7. MikeZZ Says:

    I gotten stuck many times looking for a cheep wireless solution. I found the Asus 330G works great. Once setup on a PC it connects to the 10/1000 port of any computer and acts line a wireless bridge.

    http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=12&l2=41&l3=0&model=59&modelmenu=1

    it cost about $70.00

  8. Jason Says:

    Even better than the Asus 330G is the D-Link DWL-G730AP — it can be powered via the included USB power cable.

  9. Kaiser Says:

    What ? Madwifi drivers for atheros chips have been out for YEARS and working successfully for a long time now. You should contact ubnt.com folks as they make a plethora of wireless, wifi and otherwise which many use the madwifi drivers!

    I disagree with the post about the power output, with a unit this small you probably wouldn’t be wanting to push a full 600mw that many modern wifi mpci cards can do these days. A common EIRP for 2.4 in most countries is 36db which is above that 600mw. Remember, 1000mw (1 Watt) is about 30db. You could totally do a wifi module

  10. John Rudd Says:

    Will the final production version be able to use its Wifi interface in access point mode, and not just in a client or ad-hoc network mode?

    I’d like to think I could use the bug as a mobile network gateway for other devices (comparable to the cradepoint mobile routers).

  11. ersin Says:

    i think i read something about someone trying to get that working in the developer series of openmoko phones, so that those could get wifi.

  12. güvenlik Says:

    h yes, i think i read something about someone trying to get that working in the developer series of openmoko phones, so that those could get wifi (at the expense of memory i guess).

  13. Ünlü Özel Güvenlik Şirketleri Grubu Says:

    wifi and otherwise which many use the madwifi drivers!

  14. James Says:

    Will the Hiro P module be prone to snowcrashing?

  15. Chris Says:

    It’s been almost a year since this post. Is the new base shipping?

  16. osfalpha Says:

    bump.. Any news on when the wifi enabled version will be available?
    I’ve got a handful of niche projects I would love to suggest the bug for (just needs the wifi availability).

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