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USB ethernet driver in development

Published: 24th Jun 2006, 22:37:34 | Permalink | Printable

Could offer support for USB cable modems [Updated]

USB ethernet deviceUsing an ethernet network over USB on RISC OS will be possible thanks to a new driver in development. Programmer James Peacock has produced a USB Ethernet driver module, and says he will open source it. USB Ethernet devices basically allow computers to turn a USB port into a network socket.

The Avalanche VNC client author said: "I have my USB ethernet driver functioning at last - I can browse drobe.co.uk and so on."

James, an Iyonix owner, has written his software for the Castle USB stack, and it should support a chipset found in most USB ethernet products. His work paves the way for support for USB-only cable and ADSL modems, used for high speed Internet access.

He said: "The driver will currently talk to a AX88172 chip which supports 10Mb or 100Mb, although the best I've managed is about 20Mb so far and this was intermittent.

"It has been written to allow different 'backends' to be added to support other hardware - most of the Network DCI and USB ickyness is done now, so adding support for other chips should be relatively easy; CDC ethernet (as specified by the USB people and used by some cable modems) would seem high one the list."

The driver module still requires some tidying up and a few USB issues need resolving, according to James, who believes a public release 'make take a while'.

He added: "This chip is used in loads of devices apparently, though I've only tested it with a SiteCom part. It currently works fairly reliably - I used it for a couple of days instead of my on-board ethernet."

Update at 14:47 1/7/2006
The software driver is now available with source code from the website link below.

Links

James's website

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Discussion

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A version supporting he Simtec stack woud be nice :)

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 25/6/06 12:10AM
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Nice to see another development and added functionality.

Well done to James.

What would be nice is the ability to use a USB Wireless LAN device so I could network my Iyonix through it.

I know other things exist like the Wireless Access points and the Wireless Over power devices but in my opinion it would be better to have a USB device.

Also if there was a Simtec stack version the addition of a USB Wireless device would make it even more portable.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 25/6/06 10:01AM
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A very useful development indeed, well done James.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/6/06 3:50PM
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bluenose> STD have a USB wi-fi device: [link] (Simtec stack only though, it appears)

After their second talk at Wakefield 06 Matt (I think) explained that the experience of developing the USB wi-fi devices for RISC OS had made them wary about doing the same for USB Bluetooth - the core chips are proprietory and can get changed without warning, so months of developent is suddenly wiped out and required once more for devices which have the same appearence and part number.

Hence the apparently expensive USB wi-fi dongles currently available. Bought in bulk to reduce the per-unit price, now taking up shelf space but too expensive from initial costs and developent time to cut the price and clear out (once STD's stock is gone they're unlikely to get more).

 is a RISC OS Usercleminan2 on 27/6/06 12:39AM
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A shame to hear about the troubles experienced by STD. I was hoping we would see more development along those lines perhaps adding WPA support and faster speeds. A wireless dongle is certainly an appealing option when considering how to network your A9!

 is a RISC OS UserJohnB on 27/6/06 5:45PM
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It's been tricky enough getting this working with one API, let alone another one, and performance is still lacking.

Maybe someone with more experience of both APIs could comment on the feesibility.

In EtherUSB, the pipes are fairly well abstracted, but opening them isn't, neither are enumeration of devices/device descriptors and device addition or removal.

 is a RISC OS Userjamesp on 28/6/06 12:45AM
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