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NUC / Mini Computer with lots of positives, not sure about wifi

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#1 Between17

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 11:40 PM

OK I feel like I have been chasing my tail trying to spec out a mini computer that I can use to control one of my rigs via Windows Remote Desktop on an iPad at locations away from home where there is no internet or wifi. I'm doing DSO astrophotography with NINA and PHD2.

 

I think I have found something that will almost work for me: runs on 12V, 6(!) USB ports, fanless, win 10 pro, 8/64 memory config.(Ok 128 would be better I think)

 

The main problem with it for me is wifi. My understanding of networking is a bit shaky to say the least, but I think what I need is for the mini to be able to create a hosted network, so I can connect to it with the iPad via Windows Remote Desktop on the iPad to control the mini computer. Ideally on the 5 GHz band.

 

But it does not seem that this unit can create a hosted network. Yes? No?

 

I guess I can get a cheap USB wireless travel router that will allow the mini to create a hosted network, but that will burn one of the USB ports on the mini.


Edited by Between17, 28 September 2020 - 08:29 AM.


#2 Jim Waters

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 12:40 AM

The link doesn't work.  Need more info on the computer.



#3 Between17

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:13 AM

Sorry Jim, fixed the link should be working now.

 

Dan



#4 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:37 AM

First, there are ways to configure a hosted network for free, but it takes some knowledge of networks and can be a bit intimidating.  I use a product called Connectify that I've been using for several years and it has worked perfectly with my Win10 Intel NUC computers (I have two and use one as a backup).   It looks like they are running a special price right now for a lifetime license ($18) and it is well worth the cost in my opinion.

 

Now about the miniPC you linked to.  Honestly I'd keep looking.  That must be a somewhat older unit.  The wireless standard is "bgn".  You want "a" for 5ghz.  

 

The other issue is the Celeron processor.  Yes, this is probably just for image acquisition and not for processing images, but things like plate solving will still be significantly faster with an i3 or i5 processor.  I hate Celerons LOL.  



#5 astrohamp

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 10:45 AM

Looks like a pretty nice unit and quad core.  It does seem a bit under powered and compares to about 1/3 the speed of my J5005 NUC.  Using a removable wireless card a new one with better specs and software update could be traded up to.  And having removable wireless antennas allows those to be traded up as well, even going high gain directional. BUT...at the price you are in NUC PC territory and should look at alternatives.

The wireless travel router I use does a good job of local networking although with fixed antennas I cannot upgrade them.  Thing is, going with this router I can connect via ethernet to the NUC and turn off the NUC wireless.  This combination idles at less then 1amp of power even using a 12-19v DC boost converter to the NUC, (which specs say can run at 12v DC as well).

 

Also check out NUC discussions on these forums for some real confusion...ah...information that might help.



#6 Eyeheartmono

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 01:03 PM

I run an older version of this, 

 

https://www.amazon.c...1315950&sr=8-13

 

I did host my own network on it but the speeds are extremly slow when attempting that. I installed a cheap wireless router sitting at the bottom of my scope with its own LAN, works great. Runs of 12VDC which is great as well.



#7 Between17

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 01:13 PM

 

 

Also check out NUC discussions on these forums for some real confusion...ah...information that might help.

Lol I have about 30 windows open right now on various discussions on this topic! Confusion is the right word. Plus the available devices are changing so quickly that advice from a couple years ago may no longer apply. It sounds like your wireless router uses less power than the NUC's own wireless circuit?

 

Joel, Thank you for the tip on bgn versus a for the wifi.I did not know that so will look out for it. I have read about Connectify but don't know much about it. I guess if I can find a NUC or mini that supports 5GHz, even if the NUC/mini cannot create a hosted network, running Connectify on it would do so? In that case I don't really need to have a unit that can create a hosted network, if I just run Connectify on it.

 

I was sure liking a lot of things about this unit! Close but not quite it seems.

 

Dan



#8 Linwood

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 01:48 PM

 I guess if I can find a NUC or mini that supports 5GHz

That it doesn't support 5ghz is probably a sign of age and thus may have other implications, but be aware that the higher the bandwidth the less distance it usually travels and the less it will go through walls, etc.  So for example if you are trying to connect to a house network and are just on the edge, you may find you can only do 2ghz band channels.  It's slower then, perhaps much slower if at the edge of the possible range, but 2.4ghz does provide more reach than 5ghz.



#9 Between17

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 04:03 PM

I run an older version of this, 

 

https://www.amazon.c...1315950&sr=8-13

 

I did host my own network on it but the speeds are extremly slow when attempting that. I installed a cheap wireless router sitting at the bottom of my scope with its own LAN, works great. Runs of 12VDC which is great as well.

That Beelink is definitely a contender. Better memory and an i3 processor. Downsides are a fan, doesn't run off 12V, and only 4 USB ports. I'd really like to do better than 4 ports, which seems to be a pretty standard size these days. But with the camera, mount, and guide camera that's three right there. USB router and it is done. Plus Polemaster (granted that can be plugged in and out as needed), dewheater, focusser, etc.



#10 glancey

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 05:15 PM

OK I feel like I have been chasing my tail trying to spec out a mini computer that I can use to control one of my rigs via Windows Remote Desktop on an iPad at locations away from home where there is no internet or wifi. I'm doing DSO astrophotography with NINA and PHD2.

 

I think I have found something that will almost work for me: runs on 12V, 6(!) USB ports, fanless, win 10 pro, 8/64 memory config.(Ok 128 would be better I think)

 

The main problem with it for me is wifi. My understanding of networking is a bit shaky to say the least, but I think what I need is for the mini to be able to create a hosted network, so I can connect to it with the iPad via Windows Remote Desktop on the iPad to control the mini computer. Ideally on the 5 GHz band.

 

But it does not seem that this unit can create a hosted network. Yes? No?

 

I guess I can get a cheap USB wireless travel router that will allow the mini to create a hosted network, but that will burn one of the USB ports on the mini.

If wifi is the concern, most cell phones can be used as a wifi hotspot in the field. Even my car can be a hotspot.



#11 decep

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 05:26 PM

You should google "hosted network support" for the options to turn a Windows machine into an access point.

 

If it is not supported by the driver, you can always setup an adhoc wireless connection.



#12 Between17

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 10:55 AM

Thank you everyone for the suggestions and ideas.

 

If wifi is the concern, most cell phones can be used as a wifi hotspot in the field. Even my car can be a hotspot.

True, but I think setting up a wifi hot spot on a cell phone requires the cell phone have a connection to a data network already? I'm looking for a solution that I can use where there is no network access available.

 

 

You should google "hosted network support" for the options to turn a Windows machine into an access point.

 

If it is not supported by the driver, you can always setup an adhoc wireless connection.

Yes, I am looking for a device that will be able to set up a hosted network. It seems that whether or not this is possible in a given windows computer depends on the network adapter installed in it. Most of the mini computers I have seen for sale don't provide this level of detail about the network card unfortunately.

 

It looks setting up an adhoc network would work. Are there any special requirements on the network adapter to support this? It also looks like in windows 10 setting up an adhoc network is a multistep process. To me it appears a bit daunting, especially if most or all of these steps have to be repeated each time. Perhaps a fallback if I can't find a mini computer that will support a hosted network.



#13 Pauls72

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 12:32 PM

My Mini-PC is very similar to that. Same processor, same memory, etc... one USB3 and 4 USB2 ports and it runs off 12V too. I've have had it for 4 years now. I did upgrade the SSD from 64GB to 256GB.

 

Problem with adhock network is every so often they don't work and you are left wondering why??? So then you need a monitor, keyboard and mouse to use your NUC//Mini-PC and investigate it.

You are better off finding a router that works off of 12V and then you can connect by WiFi or cable. This is much more dependable.

 

Unless you are trying to process images on the NUC/Mini-PC, it's speed and performance isn't that critical.

Same thing with network speed, unless you are doing remote EAA or having lots of short large sub's that you are storing else ware on the network speed isn't that critical.

 

My laptop will plate solve most images in 3-4 seconds. My Mini-PC will take 20-30 to do the same subs. For me this is no big thing to wait for.

The NUC/Mini-PC will be able to do everything else besides image processing with out a problem and at reasonable speed.

You should be able to find something equivalent at a slightly lower cost or with more performance.

 

Mini_PC.jpg

 

 

 



#14 WadeH237

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 02:34 PM

Setting up and maintaining a hosted network can be problematic (even with Connectify).  There is special support in the wireless card driver that needs to be implemented.  Many newer network cards don't implement it, and if you have one of those, you are not going to get a hosted network.  Some network card drivers have hosted network support, but are unstable.

 

My solution to this was to buy a normal wifi router that runs on 12 volts.  In the field, I let it create a wifi network (with or without internet support).  At home, I connect it to my home wifi as a wireless bridge.  In both cases, my mini computer uses a wired connection to the router.  I can then connect another computer via that router and everything works great.

 

The wifi router only consumes a fraction of an amp, so it does not impact battery life in the field in any meaningful way, and it is quite stable and robust.



#15 glancey

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 07:16 PM

OK I feel like I have been chasing my tail trying to spec out a mini computer that I can use to control one of my rigs via Windows Remote Desktop on an iPad at locations away from home where there is no internet or wifi. I'm doing DSO astrophotography with NINA and PHD2.

 

I think I have found something that will almost work for me: runs on 12V, 6(!) USB ports, fanless, win 10 pro, 8/64 memory config.(Ok 128 would be better I think)

 

The main problem with it for me is wifi. My understanding of networking is a bit shaky to say the least, but I think what I need is for the mini to be able to create a hosted network, so I can connect to it with the iPad via Windows Remote Desktop on the iPad to control the mini computer. Ideally on the 5 GHz band.

 

But it does not seem that this unit can create a hosted network. Yes? No?

 

I guess I can get a cheap USB wireless travel router that will allow the mini to create a hosted network, but that will burn one of the USB ports on the mini.

If you are away from home with no internet or wifi, it seems to me that an iPad is useless. Since you have a computer at the scope, get a decent laptop and an ethernet cable. Sure, you can create a hosted network to hook up everything, but the reality is it doesn't pass the smell test. In other words, it ain't simple. There's always a problem when using the wrong tools for a job.



#16 Pauls72

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 10:47 AM

Here is a router that runs off of 12V.

 

https://www.microcen...reless-n-router




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