Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wireless Video Over Mesh Network

Hello my Ham Friends:

Yes! I did it. And I'm excited to share with you all; how to setup a cell phone converted to wireless video camera. Transmitting both Audio and Video through a mesh network.

To fully understand how I got this far with mesh networking. I suggest reading my previous blogs for detailed how to step by step directions. It also provides a wealth of highly detailed information I have found during my research.

What is a Mesh Network

Getting Started with Mesh Networking

Mesh Networking for Ham Radio

If you are going to follow what I did here. You're going to need a cell phone you can use as a camera. In my case I used my old cell phone, as well as my new and current cell phone. They both worked equally with no trouble at all.

Next I would suggest using cell phone software similar to IP Webcam Pro or Third Eye - Wireless Monitoring. One works with Android the other with Apple IoS. You may or may not have to pay a small fee for use.

Now for some ground rules to get your network working.

1. You'll need a minimum of three routers. 1 for Access Point, 2 for Mesh routing. (explained later)
2. Each router will need to be the same model and able to take the same version of Firmware.

Follow these two simple rules, and you will save yourself a lot of trouble shooting when your system is not working. You might have to do some trouble shooting, but those rules will knock out most of the issues off the bat.

Why same model?

Some models of the same brand of router, will not have the same WiFi-Transceiver chip. If there are different Transceiver chips you may run into some incompatibility problems between two routers. You can often determine the chips by looking for a router version number. Most likely placed near the sticker with the serial number. Or close to the Mac address.

In my mesh system, I'm actually using versions 1, 2, and 3 of the same model. but since they all have the same transceiver. I run into no issues.

There may also be memory space issues. Also determined by version number. Needless to say, when you choose a router. try to get 3 - 5 of the same model and version if you can. If you're cheap like me, you might end up getting used routers from a used store somewhere. some of which might not be working. so on the side of error, I chose to get 5. If they all work, then you have the ability to expand your network without the hassle of looking for more.

To do what I did, you will need to sacrifice one of your mesh routers and make it an Access Point. In general, an Access Point will allow for you to have the ability to use WiFi over your mesh network.

Example: Internet ---> Mesh Gateway --> Mesh Router --> Access Point --> Wireless Device.

For you to make your mesh router into an Access Point, you'll need to first upload new firmware to the router. The firmware will first turn the router into a Mesh Router. Within the setup feature of your router, you'll need to define that the router is to be used as an Access Point. How to upload new firmware; can be found ( Here ).

Once the new firmware is uploaded, you'll need to test the router and see if it is working.

If you get the screen above by typing LOCALNODE:8080 in your url address bar, then your router is in working condition after you upload the firmware update. now click on the SETUP button.

Type in ROOT for username and the default password hsmm.

Next to Node Type, select Mesh Access Point. Change your SSID for your access point. Example: KD6VZQ-AP.

Save Changes and then Reboot router.

Once you reboot this router it becomes and access point. you will no longer be able to configure it by going to LOCALNODE:8080 because there is no configuration needed. It just becomes a passive device that help you connect wireless devices to your mesh network.

If you were to try and get a wireless device connected at this point it will not work. It will not assign an IP to your device at this time. The access point is basically a bridge between the wireless device and mesh network.

To get things working you would need to connect your Access Point to a Mesh Router that is already configured to be part of a Mesh Network. This would be an actual physical connection through the LAN Ports on the back of the Access Point and Mesh Router.

Using the picture above as an example. The Access Point acts as a wireless bridge between the Cell Phone and Mesh Router. The Cell Phone will get connected to Access Point, but receives its assign IP address from the Mesh Router. You can test this by removing the Ethernet cable or Power from the Mesh Router.

At this point you can also test to see if your Cell Phone camera is working with the assigned IP from the Mesh Router.

Your phone should tell you what IP to type into your URL address bar.

Cell phone gives Port 8080 (port number separated by colon)

Now we have an IP to look for.. We need to connect a computer to the Mesh Router directly via a cable. No need to login to Mesh Router, just connect a cable.

We would then make sure that our wifi on computer or laptop is off. This is to be absolutely sure that you are communicating through the Mesh Router.

Computer is booted, Mesh Router connected to computer. Open a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc. . .) and type in the IP address you got from the camera.

Nice.. we're about 90% done. We now know that everything right up to the first Mesh Router is working. And Mesh Router should be relaying your signal through out the mesh network.

But for the moment it is not. You would actually need to get Mesh Router M1 to announce the link of the Cell Phone Camera to other parts of the mesh network.

Login to your Mesh Router M1 and go to SETUP button at top.

Once in the SETUP area, select Port Forwarding, DHCP, and Services.

To the left under DHCP Address Reservations, you will want to select the IP your Cell Phone Camera was given. Then you will give it a HOSTNAME. the Mac address should come up automatically.. if it does not, look to see if it isn't already listed under DHCP Leases. Click on ADD button when done.

To the right under Advertised Services You want to type in a name for a visible link. Please a check mark in the Link box. Define the protocol (IP Cams use HTTP for protocol) Look for the Hostname under URL. If you don't know the port number the camera is using, it will be defined in the URL the camera gives you.  (Example: Http:// Most IP cameras use port 8080. click on Save Changes and then Reboot.

All configuration is complete. Next thing to do is to see if the other Mesh Routers see an additional link being advertised.

Login to the Mesh Router M2 using a Ethernet cable to laptop. Go to the Mesh Status page by clicking button at top.

Click on the link and your IP Camera should come up.

And there you have it, and Audio / Video signal over a mesh network.

I hope that my Mesh Network series on my blogspot here helps you and future hams understand how to get a network in working order.

 Thanks much for reading all this wonderful information. Please feel free to share it with friends.