[Cerowrt-devel] [bufferbloat-fcc-discuss] [Make-wifi-fast] arstechnica confirms tp-link router lockdown

David Lang david at lang.hm
Sun Mar 13 19:22:05 EDT 2016

On Sun, 13 Mar 2016, Wayne Workman wrote:

> I actually like the idea of having a small display on a consumer router.
> Obviously this would not be cost effective for enterprise grade, though,
> when a network administrator is overseeing 2,000 access points remotely, he
> does not care about a display on the device, he cares about functionality
> and cost.
> But back to having a small screen. Newer high-end business HP network
> printers have had a small display for a really long time. I really like it,
> and it allows me to very quickly have the printer print out (on paper) it's
> configuration. I can also quickly get to some common areas that way. But,
> all these printers with small displays... they have a full-on Web interface
> as well.
> So I'd ask for what you do to be able to tie into a web interface at a
> later time.
> But maybe we could go with cheaper hardware if we didn't need to run a full
> Web server?

no, a webserver is really cheap to run. I expect that you would not be able to 
tell the difference in CPU load between running a webserver and driving a 
built-in display.

David Lang

> On Mar 13, 2016 10:19 AM, "Jonathan Morton" <chromatix99 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On 13 Mar, 2016, at 02:15, David Lang <david at lang.hm> wrote:
>>> my point is that you can use a browser interface to mock-up what you
>> would do on your local display without having to build custom hardware.
>> Yes, it would mean you have to work with javascript/etc to build this
>> mockup, but it would let you create a bitmap image with buttons/etc that
>> will work the same way that your physical device would, but be able to
>> tinker with things that would require hardware changes if it was a physical
>> device (different screen sizes, button placements, etc)
>> And my point is that if I can do that *without* involving a browser, so
>> much the better.  Given my existing experience, I can probably do it
>> *easier* in something like C and Xlib (yes, really) than in a browser.
>> Yes, it would be a pure software mockup, and thus still easy to change.
>>> a 6x8 font on a 2.7" screen is unreadable for many people, this is about
>> an 11pt font on something that is not at your optimum reading distance.
>> The display I linked has basically the same pixel density as a 1980s/1990s
>> Macintosh display, a 9-pin dot-matrix printer, and a basic Nokia phone -
>> the standard 72dpi.  Anyone with standard visual acuity should be able to
>> read 8-pixel-high text on it.  Your concern would be limited to that
>> segment of the population who already needs to buy large-print books and
>> newspapers.
>> The most important text wouldn’t be 6x8 - I included that stat only to
>> contrast it with the 16x2 cell text-only display.  Since it’s a graphical
>> display, we can use larger fonts where desired.
>> Incidentally, the classic Nokia phones seem to use a proportional font
>> which is 5x7 on average.  They sold many millions, probably because they
>> designed a UI that even my mother could be coached into learning (believe
>> me, that’s a feat).  Up, down, select, cancel, and a numeric keypad.  The
>> size of the text on the screen doesn’t seem to have been a factor.
>>> OLEDs do color as well.
>> The ones that do colour are even more expensive than the mono ones.
>> Increasing the size of an OLED display also seems to be incredibly
>> expensive - I couldn’t even find one at 2.7” or larger on the “maker kit”
>> sites, only as raw components.
>>> don't forget that you also have to have buttons/switches to go along
>> with the display. don't assume that people are going to have a spare USB
>> keyboard around to plug in.
>>> There is a substantial population who's only computers are tablets,
>> phones, TVs, and other non-traditional devices, but who need wifi to use
>> them.
>> Keyboard, mouse, xbox/ps4/wii controller - don’t care.  They’ll either
>> have at least one of those (basic models are cheap), or we can
>> auto-generate a basic working configuration and display the resulting wifi
>> SSID/password on the screen.  The only button needed is a factory-reset.
>> If they don’t have anything with an Ethernet connection, they would have
>> difficulty configuring most existing routers from the factory-reset state
>> anyway.  I just made a brief search for WPS on my Android phone - no dice.
>> Apparently there *is* a WPS function, but it’s buried four layers deep in
>> the UI, behind an “advanced” option^W^W “beware of the leopard” sign - and
>> it’s potentially in a different place on each device, making it hard to
>> give directions remotely.
>> But with the wifi SSID and password visible on-screen, we wouldn’t need
>> WPS.  That’s something an ordinary router can’t do.
>>  - Jonathan Morton
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