Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to do some rearranging of things around the house recently. Apart from a computer that runs without a monitor, keyboard or mouse connected to it, I was planning on moving all my machines to another room. The only system that put a spanner in the works was my Raspberry Pi running RISC OS 5 – which of course doesn’t support wireless.
I initially tried out powerline adapters to allow my electric cabling in the home to pass connectivity around the house and into the spare room, where I could then plug it up to my Pi. For most people, this solution would probably work but I found that there was something about the cabling in my property that was causing traffic on my LAN to loop – this resulted in about 25% of all my traffic dropping out.
Running an Ethernet cable from my router through to the other room wasn’t a suitable option either as
the ball and chain my significant other would hang me out to dry.
So I looked at getting my hands on a Wireless-to-Ethernet bridge. I wasn’t sure on what compatibility issues with RISC OS I was going to run into, so I thought I’d start out cheap with something that has reasonably good reviews on Amazon.
I went for the Vonets VAP11G-300, which is an all-in-one wireless extender and wireless-to-ethernet bridge. It’s coined as being compatible with games consoles and printers so I figured as the device wouldn’t require drivers to work, it was likely to work on RISC OS.
The device can be powered by an external power adaptor or you can plug its built-in USB cable into a computer. The back of the device has a sticker with its MAC address and configuration panel details for you to log in with.
After being plugged into the power and connected up to my Raspberry Pi via ethernet, it was just a case of opening up the adapter’s local IP address (192.168.254.254) in a web browser and selecting my router’s Wi-fi network name from a dropdown list then entering the network password. (Edit: It looks like accessing the configuration page on RISC OS doesn’t work for everyone, your mileage may vary. Use a non-RISC OS computer to setup the network before switching the device back onto RISC OS if needed.)
Then I ran !Boot and went into the Network configuration section to set the Pi’s IP address to 192.168.254.100 and set the gateway and DNS server to 192.168.254.254. Setting the network configuration as Manual works best as selecting DHCP will most likely give a Gateway error.
Once that was done, RISC OS on my Pi was running on my Internet connection without a hitch, and I found it to be pretty reliable considering how inexpensive the device was (£15 on Amazon). I’ve had no issues with it located upstairs and my router being downstairs, although the signal strength does show at about 50% in the configuration webpage, which leads me to believe that if the distance was any larger between it and the router then I might have encountered problems.
All in all, if you’re looking to connect your RISC OS system to a Wi-fi network, this is a decent, cost-effective option.