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Verizon Hotspot Remote Control 2021-11-16

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Had a problem where I need low cost Network, internet access, at a remote site.
Choose to work with Verizon 8800L as it got good reviews for normal attended
usage. Motivation was Cell internet only added < $ 20 to the monthly bill.

Problems :

1) Hotspot, if it lost power and ran batteries completely down would not boot all the way
into Cell tower connection. It would charge on power return (its permanently tethered
to a USB charger). It would put up a message screen to remove charging but not time out
on message and proceed to finish boot.

2) Once booted if still tethered to charger (installation had it this way out of necessity) that
activity would compromise connection drop activity, mostly stay disconnected from tower.

3) No "hooks" to show that Network was not up and take some action.

Initially I tried out a solar cell on display thinking that when screen powered up this could be used
as an indication it booted. But multiple message screens, when charged, but not connected to
tower, nixed that as a fool proof solution.

So I opted to use a ESP8266 running as client to detect if network was not up, and if not press
the hotspot button for 15 sec to get it to boot all the way. Done with el cheapo RC servo.

I also wanted, in continuing investigation of various block programming methods, use a GUI
based prog rather than write in C/C++ which is my normal path. So used Tuniot -

1637510483336.png



So above is the solution. Quite easy to use, no manuals needed on how to build a client.

One additional system need, solving the charging/tower signal drop problem, was to
put charger on a timer. That allowed periods of time running on battery where
Cell connection quite consistent. I may mod project to use internet time to control
charger power source at a later time to get rid of the timer.

Verizon hotspot is 8800L: Makes for cheap internet, even after data plan is exhausted
(defaults to 100 KB/s). Cheap if you already have a plan for a couple of phones and
just add this. < $ 20/month if my memory serves. Solution could have been a router
but their upfront costs pretty steep for that.

Still not 100% bulletproof non stop computing design, I cannot predict all the screens
"hang" problem, where I would have to recognize screen and have ESP8266 respond
to specific screens, but so far seems to be working. One could contemplate using image
recognition but that would substantially complicate design. In short this is a reflection of
firmware SW design by Inseego, manufacturer of 8800L.

Regards, Dana.
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danadak
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