Intelligent Wireless Access Points

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Wireless access is everywhere and has become an essential convenience that customers expect businesses to provide. Wireless connections can become unreliable and suffer in high density use areas like trains, buses, cafes and stadiums. Users can face slow bandwidth, dropped connections and interruption when streaming video.

To improve wireless reliability, quality, and performance in high density areas, AOIFES has created a software solution called “Cognitive Hotspot Technology (CHT)” that runs on Gateworks Single Board Computers. CHT software is intelligent and designed to efficiently handle a large number of concurrent connections. Wireless access points with CHT software installed throughout a train or building can communicate with each other in real time allowing them to make intelligent decisions based on the current load and demand by the users. CHT increases throughput performance by over 400% thereby increasing the capacity of both number of simultaneous clients and the bandwidth availability for high QoS applications such as video streaming.

CHT on Gateworks SBCs provides the following advantages: 

  • Eliminates Bottlenecks
  • Provides Advanced Load Balancing
  • Increases network capacity and reliability
  • Increases network speed and performance
  • Reduces RF emissions, interference, and electricity consumption
  • Reduces the number of needed Wireless Access Points
To learn more about CHT and Wireless Access Points using Gateworks SBCs:

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!

Ventana JTAG Software Release

Gateworks is proud to announce JTAG programming support for the Ventana family of Single Board Computers. This support allows precompiled binaries that include the kernel, bootloader, and root filesystem to be flashed via Gateworks JTAG software onto any Ventana board. This is valuable as it is the most simple way to load new software and updates onto the board. The same JTAG software is also backwards compatible with all previous Gateworks boards. This release is limited to Linux and provides programming support and does not include upload or verify support. Ventana is unique in that it is the first family to use NAND flash which requires additional routines to handle bad blocks.

The new JTAG Linux executables, can be found on the Gateworks Software Wiki:

http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/jtag_instructions#JTAGExecutables

To find the most current and up to date prebuild binary images of OpenWrt for Ventana:

http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/ventana/openwrt#Step2.InstallingFirmware

Gateworks Support Team

Ventana Fiber-Optic and Ethernet Expansion Module

Gateworks proudly announces the official release of the Ventana GW16083 Ethernet and Fiber-Optic expansion module. The product is shipping now with support on OpenWrt Linux. The expansion module can connect to any of the Ventana SBCs with an optional expansion connector (see website for specific models). The expansion module provides 6 copper GbE Ethernet ports of which two can be steered to SFP cages for Fiber-Optic module support. Four of the ports can additionally be configured with an optional PSE PoE module to allow the board to power PoE devices such as IP cameras.

Over the last few years, fiber has become more prevalent as the data backbone for many industrial and home installations. In the past, separate equipment was needed to handle the fiber interface, now, with the GW16083 customers can create powerful standalone solutions combining wireless, copper and fiber interfaces into one system.

The Ventana Family has an entire suite of expansion modules that can be viewed here: Ventana Expansion Modules

gw16083_real

 

OpenWrt Laguna Ethernet Latency Bug Fix

Under certain high load conditions in OpenWrt, using dual-core Laguna products, Ethernet ping latencies could grow to an unacceptable value. After investigation, Gateworks found an SMP race condition as the cause in the CNS3xxx Ethernet driver in Gateworks’ 13-06 and trunk OpenWrt BSPs. Note that the 12-10 OpenWrt BSP is not affected. Gateworks has resolved the issue with upstream patches to OpenWrt:
https://dev.openwrt.org/changeset/39761/trunk/target/linux/cns3xxx
https://dev.openwrt.org/changeset/39762/trunk/target/linux/cns3xxx

These fixes have been committed in both the Gateworks 13-06 branch and trunk. Additionally, the prebuilt 13-06 binary firmware images have been updated and they are located here: Laguna Binary Images.

Gateworks recommends all customers using dual-core Laguna products update their firmware.

Floating Point Math on ARM CPUs

From time to time we get questions about floating point math on ARM
CPU’s.  As it turns out this is a rather advanced topic that deserves
some discussion, so we recently put all of our notes and experiences into
a Wiki article that we felt was worth blogging about.

To make a long story short, many users get confused about the various
GNU Compiler (gcc) options for floating point.  The most common
misconception is that ‘-mfloat-abi=softfp’ means that you are using
software floatingpoint math when in fact that produces binaries that
use hard float acceleration (as specified by the -mfp) agument but
with a function calling convention compatible with software floating
point.  This allows the mixing of binaries and libraries that were
built for soft float vs hard float and is very useful if you are
trying to build a OS distribution that runs on a wide variety of
CPU’s.  However, if you really want to squeeze the most out of your
ARM CPU that has hardware floating point support you can
achieve performance boosts (under most circumstances) by compiling
with -‘mfloat-abi=hard’ (which also means you will not be compatible
with binaries built with soft float).  Also, keep in mind that your
Linux kernel must have VFP support if using hard float.

To see all the intricate details please visit our floating point wiki page
here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/floatingpoint