Customizing PirateBox configuration

After installing the piratebox, it’s nice to customize it a little bit… There are many reason for this, the first one, in my point of view is to have a more understandable SSID name depend on your country… Here are the list of the step of the customizations I made on myne.

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TP-Link MR3040, autonomy test

As promise, I’m looking for MR-3040 information about autonomy. This device is really interesting as it provides an internal battery to power the device on. The question was, how many time can we use it, is the autonomy good enough to have a real mobile device you don’t have to care about autonomy when bring out to public !

The first thing is to reload the battery, from 0 to 100% it takes 3:10 using the given equipment.  The next thing is to empty the battery by just doing nothing else than switch it on, as a result, the MR-3040 ran during 7hours. This is a really good result as it means that we can bring it out most of one day (or night).

The last step is to empty the battery transferring file from & to to mr3040, in this scenario, the battery autonomy should be smaller but the result is an autonomy of 5 full hours with a transfer rate about 1.5MB/s. I was expecting a shorter time so it is a good news.

The main issue I can raised after this test is the coverage area of these kind of devices (MR3040 or MR3020) really limited to a some meters and really blocked by rock walls. This is limiting the share with the neighborhood capability. It makes it more recommended to have a share into a room.

Installation of a piratebox on T-Link MR3040

I just received the TL-MR3040 wifi portable access by T-link. This little box is really like the mr3020 i had for my piratebox with the main advantage of having and internal battery making the piratebox mobile for a small price ! For actually 38€ (but you may found it at lower price) it is an interesting and compact solution to bring you piratebox out.

I’ll try in the next part of this article to detail the installation process as friendly as possible. Never forget that this kind of operations are not always easy and may damage your device. Do it at your own risk.

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Network performance measurement script

I regularly have to test some network products like routers or homeplug devices and most of the time, I like to test the performance of that product. I’m doing it generally a couple of time and the result can vary test after test and I did not had a good, simple and basic tool to use to measure this variation.

So, after having think to it for long months, I finally started to write some bash lines to get this tool and start to get measures…

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PirateBox creation based on TP-Link MR3020

Some days ago I bought a TpLink MR3020 with the objective to create a pirate box and experience this kind of solution. I already tried to do a stuff like this some month ago based on a netgear wifi router having the capability of sharing usb storage. But the system was not easily portable and not extensible.

The proposed solution, based on this low cost router is an interesting opportunity to made the solution mobile.

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FreeNas and OpenFiler experimentation


/!\ Article in progress, not yet finish /!\

As I needed to create a iSCSI share for some VM on a private subnetwork, instead of using a simple NFS server configuration, I was looking to test a NAS distribution. I saw on Internet two different distributions, one based on OpenBSD named FreeNas (here in version 8), the other based on Linux OpenFiler (here in version 2.99). I will test both for creating this share.

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Activate Masquerading (NAT) on Linux router

To activate NAT on a Linux Box used as a router, just use the following line :

iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE

eth0 is the network interface able to access Internet directly

Then you can list the NAT entry in iptables with the following command

# iptables -t nat -L

You can get more details with:

# iptables -t nat -L -v

The conntrack tool also help to see what happen in the NAT

# conntrack -L --src-nat / --dst-nat

Latency impact on NFS link

Interesting document about NFS and iSCSI performance over latency, even if it is new a new document, the study made is really complete and interesting. As I was mostly interested on the performance of NFS over a WAN access with a high latency, I would summarize it by concluding that the maximum performance of file transfer over NFS is not so far the following list:

Time to read 128MB / latency (read is the worst case)

  • 10 ms latency requires 200s, max bandwidth is about 640KB/s – 5.12Mbits/s
  • 20 ms latency requires 300s, max bandwidth is about 427KB/s – 3.41Mbits/s
  • 30 ms latency requires 500s, max bandwidth is about 256KB/s – 2.05Mbits/s
  • 50 ms latency requires 800s, max bandwisth is about 160KB/s – 1.28Mbits/s
  • 90 ms latency requires 1600s, max bandwidth is about 80KB/s – 640Kbits/s

For details and much more information, take a look to the source document :