Android Lollipop Embedded Software Release

lollipop

Gateworks has just released Android Lollipop support for the Ventana family of Single Board Computers!

Notable updates include:

  • Update to the Android Open Source Project’s 5.1.1 code base
  • Freescale i.MX6 performance and stability improvements
  • New 3.14 based Linux kernel with many improvements
  • Vivante graphics libraries v5.0.11 p7
Gateworks recommends Lollipop for all future Android support.

To get started with Android Lollipop, Click the Link Below:

 

Customizing Android & Yocto Splash Screens

lcd_gateworks_logo

Customizing Android & Yocto Splash Screens

Have you ever wanted to replace that ugly default logo or animation that is shown when your system boots up? Now you can with custom splash screens!

What is a Splash Screen?

  • The logo or image displayed on screen during the boot process of an embedded system

3 Splash Screens can be Customized:

  • Bootloader
  • Linux Kernel
  • Operating System

Why are Splash Screens Important?

  • Splash screen are displayed immediately conveying proper operation and responsiveness to the user
  • Replacing the splash screen logo with a company logo will effectively brand a product for customer deployment

Read more on the Gateworks Software Wiki:
Customizing the Splash Screen

New Software Release: OpenWrt 16.02

openwrt_logo

Gateworks would like to announce the release & support of OpenWrt 16.02 on the Ventana and Laguna family of Single Board Computers. This OpenWrt release falls under the Designated Driver release of OpenWrt. OpenWrt is a Linux operating system that Gateworks uses for networking centric tasks, wireless access points, router functions, IoT and more. Please review the below updates and highlights and update to OpenWrt 16.02.

OpenWrt 16.02 Updates and Highlights:

  • General:
    • Moved to git for SCM of choice
    • Gateworks System Controller drivers
    • Feeds bumped to 2016-02-17
    • Updated to latest wireless drivers (backports-20151218)
    • IEEE802.11 adhoc throughput increased for HT rates (iw 4.3)
    • Bump to Linux 4.4.0 Kernel
    • busybox-1.24.1
    • gcc-5.2.0
    • binutils-2.25.1
    • Moved from uclibc to musl-1.1.12
  • Ventana:
    • Bump to Linux 4.4.0 Kernel from 3.14.16
    • ~50% increased FEC driver performance
    • l2cache enabled
    • Hardware crypto support
    • squashfs+ubifs overlay for recovery
    • dsa/swconfig support for GW16083
    • HDMI out, no VPU/GPU
    • LVDS out, no VPU/GPU
    • Low-Latency RS485 support
  • Laguna:
    • Bump to Linux 4.4.0 Kernel from 3.10.49
    • GW2393 Support

To get started, Gateworks has posted Pre-Built images on the Wiki page. The wiki page also documents building from source.

Please try OpenWrt 16.02 and contact Gateworks with any questions. Their support team is happy and available to work with you!

Linux Wireless AP Configuration

gw5100wireless

Configuring wireless in Linux can be complex. A very common question is how does one configure an IEEE802.11 radio as an Access Point (AP) from the command line interface (CLI). This question is difficult to answer due to evolving wireless technologies. Several tools have been created to aid in configuring these devices, but are generally not user friendly or portable across operating systems (OS).

For example, in the OpenWrt OS, the UCI System allows users to configure their wireless devices easily through the CLI. But because this tool is tightly integrated into OpenWrt, it is not easily portable to other OS’s such as Yocto or Ubuntu. Other OS’s attempt to solve wireless configuration in their own way, but fail to provide an easy solution from the serial console (e.g. using NetworkManager in Ubuntu).

Gateworks has created an open-source script called hostapd-conf that creates configuration files for the Host Access Point Daemon (hostapd), a standard Linux user space daemon that is capable of creating and managing wireless APs. Both tools are provided by default on our Yocto 1.8 BSP. The inspiration came from the simplicity of the tool wpa_passphrase, a simple CLI tool that allows for an easy way to connect to wireless APs.

The hostapd-conf script is written for users wanting to create an AP out of a radio with optional WPA2 encryption. It gathers information on a specified wireless interface through iw and uses the data to generate a proper hostapd.conf file. It has only a few dependencies to run: iw, sed, grep, and cut. It should be noted that the ‘full’ version of these tools are required as opposed to the ‘busybox’ version.

The hostapd-conf script usage is shown below:

root@ventana:~# hostapd-conf --help
hostapd-conf [OPTIONS] <iface> <ssid> <channel> [<htmode>] [<passphrase>]

Options:
 --help           - This help
 --br-name <name> - Name of bridge
 --wds <0|1>      - Enable WDS
 --version        - Print this version: v1.0

hostapd-conf also has the ability to list supported MCS Rates (e.g. HT20, VHT80 etc) per channel that the radio is allowed to emit radiation on. For example, the WLE350NX radio, an 802.11a/b/g/n radio, has the following channels that it may emit on:

root@ventana:~# hostapd-conf wlan0
ERROR: SSID is empty

Available Channel Information on phy2
=====================================
Band 1:
Channel  Freq  Allowed HT Modes
0        0000  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
1        2412  HT20 HT40 HT40+
2        2417  HT20 HT40 HT40+
3        2422  HT20 HT40 HT40+
4        2427  HT20 HT40 HT40+
5        2432  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
6        2437  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
7        2442  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
8        2447  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
9        2452  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
10       2457  HT20 HT40 HT40-
11       2462  HT20 HT40 HT40-

Band 2:
Channel  Freq  Allowed HT Modes
0        0000  HT20 HT40 HT40+ HT40-
36       5180  HT20 HT40 HT40+
40       5200  HT20 HT40 HT40-
44       5220  HT20 HT40 HT40+
48       5240  HT20 HT40 HT40-
149      5745  HT20 HT40 HT40+
153      5765  HT20 HT40 HT40-
157      5785  HT20 HT40 HT40+
161      5805  HT20 HT40 HT40-
165      5825  HT20 HT40 HT40+

From the above output, it is shown that the WLE350NX radio has two bands to select from, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Each band offers a specific range of channels it can output on with their allowed MCS Rates, which hostapd-conf details out. Please note that the ‘0’ channel is special to hostapd. It enables Automatic Channel Selection (ACS) in order to allow the radio to pick the best channel to emit radiation on.

The following invocation of hostapd-conf will create a configuration file to output at 5.18GHz with 40MHz bandwidth, with an SSID of “wlan0-ssid” and WPA2 passphrase of “nowayinside”:

root@ventana:~# hostapd-conf wlan0 "wlan0-ssid" 36 HT40 "nowayinside"
Settings:
 IFACE:      wlan0
 PHY:        phy2
 SSID:       wlan0-ssid
 CHANNEL:    36
 FREQ:       5180
 BANDS:      1 2
 HWMODE:     a
 HTMODE:     HT40
 PASSPHRASE: nowayinside

Written to hostapd-phy2.conf

The output of the script, hostapd-phy2.conf, now holds the proper configuration required by hostapd to configure the radio to these specifications. Please take care to edit this newly created file manually if your country requires Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) for the channel you are emitting on. The following lines may need to be uncommented / edited:

country_code=US
ieee80211d=1
ieee80211h=1

In an example system, four wireless radio’s were connected to a Gateworks GW5400 Single Board Computer: 1x using ath5k, 2x using ath9k, and 1x using ath10k. After following the above steps for each of the radio’s in the system, hostapd was invoked and all four radio’s were configured with different channels and technologies.

By default, hostapd will use the configuration file located at /etc/hostapd.conf. Because of this, first stop any hostapd instance that is running. Then, simply start it as a background process, for example:

root@ventana:~# /etc/init.d/hostapd stop
Stopping HOSTAP Daemon: stopped /usr/sbin/hostapd (pid 14876)
hostapd.
root@ventana:~# hostapd -B hostapd-phy0.conf hostapd-phy1.conf hostapd-phy2.conf hostapd-phy3.conf
Configuration file: hostapd-phy0.conf
Configuration file: hostapd-phy1.conf
Configuration file: hostapd-phy2.conf
Configuration file: hostapd-phy3.conf
[   34.390709] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan3: link is not ready
wlan3: interface state UNINITIALIZED->HT_SCAN
[   34.409563] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan2: link is not ready
Using interface wlan2 with hwaddr 00:24:2b:38:be:db and ssid "wlan2-ssid"
[   34.473223] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlan2: link becomes ready
wlan2: interface state UNINITIALIZED->ENABLED
wlan2: AP-ENABLED
[   34.514817] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan0: link is not ready
wlan0: interface state UNINITIALIZED->HT_SCAN
[   34.542100] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan1: link is not ready
wlan1: interface state UNINITIALIZED->HT_SCAN
root@ventana:~# [   34.614847] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlan3: link becomes ready
[   34.798881] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlan0: link becomes ready
[   35.620978] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlan1: link becomes ready

Other examples may also be found here on our Wireless wiki page. There are examples on how to create a routed AP, bridged AP, and includes other valuable information

References:

Yocto 1.8 Linux BSP – Gateworks i.MX6 SBCs

yoctoproject_logo_cmyk

Gateworks would like to announce the release & support of Yocto 1.8 on the Ventana Family of Single Board Computers that feature the Freescale i.MX6 processor. Yocto 1.8 is under the code name Fido. Yocto is a Linux operating system that Gateworks uses for video input and output, networking, GUI, IoT and more. Gateworks recommends all customers and engineers update from Yocto 1.7 to Yocto 1.8.

Yocto 1.8 Updates and Highlights:

  • Updated Linux Kernel. The kernel has been updated to the Gateworks downstream 3.14 vendor kernel.
  • Updated the gstreamer video framework to gstreamer-imx and gstreamer-1.0
    • Updated to the gstreamer-imx community based plugins for utilizing i.MX6 hardware acceleration to provide increased flexibility over what is provided from Freescale in gst-fsl-plugins
    • Included RTSP server application, gst-variable-rtsp-server
    • More gstreamer-imx information is available here
  • AVC8000nano Video Capture Mini-PCIe card for up to 8x D1 inputs
    • The driver is now loaded by default in Yocto 1.8 and tested with gstreamer-imx
    • This is very useful for surveillance and compositing many video sources into one screen
    • Find more information here
  • Updated uboot-envtools
  • Updated gsc-update tool
  • Support for the GW16113 IO Expansion module via the gwsoc software tool. More information available here.

To get started, Gateworks has posted Pre-Built images on the Yocto Wiki page. This includes tarballs and ubis for multimedia and gui images. The wiki page also documents building Yocto 1.8 from source.

Yocto Software Wiki Page

Please update to Yocto 1.8 and contact Gateworks with any questions. Their support team is happy and available to work with you!

Android KitKat Software Release for Ventana SBCs

androidkitkat

Gateworks is proud to announce the release of Android KitKat for it’s family of Ventana SBCs.  The source and pre-built images for Android 4.4.3 (KitKat) have been released.

To find out what is new in KitKat 4.4 compared to the prior Android JellyBean release, please see the Android documentation: http://www.android.com/versions/kit-kat-4-4/

Notable changes include:

  • Update to the Android Open Source Project’s 4.4.3 code base
  • Added NAND flash support (for Ventana boards that have 2GB NAND)
  • Added support for new products such as the GW551x and GW552x
  • Freescale has added many IMX6 performance and stability improvements.
  • Newer 3.10.53 based Linux kernel which has many improvements.

Freescale has verified that their Kitkat 4.4.3 BSP (which Gateworks BSP is sourced from), passes Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS 4.4_r3).

We recommend everyone switch to this new branch for all future Android support.

To get started, follow the building instructions on Gateworks Software Wiki site here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Android/Building#BuildingAndroidforVentanafromsource

Yocto 1.6 BSP Released for Gateworks Ventana Family

Gateworks is proud to announce the release of Open Embedded Yocto Daisy Version 1.6 for its Ventana Family of Single Board Computers.  The Yocto BSP is primarily used by customers utilizing the video features on the Ventana family. This release is a major improvement over the previous 3.0.35 kernel.

Key Features of this release:

  • 3.10.17 Freescale Vendor Kernel
    • Featuring Device Tree
    • Full VPU & GPU Support
    • Latest and Improved Wireless Tools
      • hostapd 2.2
      • wpa_supplicant 2.2
      • iw 3.15
      • compat-wireless 20140516
  • Updated Packages in Yocto 1.6 Daisy ( Reference: https://www.yoctoproject.org/download/yocto-project-16 )
  • Hard Float support for i.MX6

Please find our prebuilt UBI on our Software Wiki here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/OpenEmbedded/Building#Pre-CompiledBinary

To build from source: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/OpenEmbedded/Building

Please find our main OpenEmbedded Software Wiki page here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/OpenEmbedded

For more information, the main Software Wiki Link is here: http://trac.gateworks.com/