Wifi For The pcDuino Using A WR703N Router
One of the first things I bought for my pcDuino was a wifi stick for networking and one of the first things I lamented was the loss of a USB port. It seemed like a waste to have to use USB when there was a perfectly functional Ethernet port right on the board.
I then remembered a WR703N router I had bought for a previous project. For those not familiar with it, this is a router primarily intended for the Chinese market that is very popular for hacking because of its small size, low power consumption, and the fact that you can intstall OpenWrt on it. In fact, with OpenWrt installed one of the standard configurations available is to provide a bridge between wired and wireless networks. This is precisely what’s needed to provide wireless access through the pcDuino’s Ethernet port and as an added benefit, the pcDuino can be powered from the WR703N’s USB port.
There are plenty of places you can get instructions for installing OpenWrt on the WR703N. I used the ones from the OpenWrt wiki without any problem but please read the instructions carefully and pay attention to notes about the V1.7 firmware. If you use the wrong image with the wrong firmware you run the chance of bricking your router.
Once you have OpenWrt installed, instructions for configuring it to act as a client bridge can be found here. I recommend using the instructions that describe how to perform the configuration using the Luci web interface. In my case the screens were slightly different but not so much I couldn’t figure it out. Once I had the client bridge configured I was able to plug the pcDuino in and immediately see it on my wireless network.
Configuring the WR703N in this way to provide wifi for my pcDuino does satisfy my desire to free up the USB port but having the two connected does make me wonder what else is possible. After all, OpenWrt is a full Linux distribution, albeit with limited resources on the WR703N. It makes me wonder what the two serving as co-processors could accomplish.