EVDO StompBox Project

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Ever wanted to have online access anywhere you go? I currently do with my pda/phone, but the connection is so slow that it’s often discouraging. I simply don’t want to do certain things online with it because it’s so slow.

This guy, however, has created a dream:

EVDO StompBox Project

So what’s a Stompbox, anyway?

These web pages are about a project I’ve been working on. Put briefly, it’s a WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network) router. In more human terms, it’s a compact little box that gets data from cellular towers and re-shares it for multiple computers to use.

This project is SOOOOO cool I can’t wait for him to improve it so it becomes more accessable to the masses. I’ll almost guarantee that someone will commercialize this solution so that it becomes cheaper and more functional.

The basics of the project are this:
Get online using the verizon network ($80/month for unlimited access).
The network functions between 100-600Kbps (between ISDN and DSL speeds)
Add a custom wireless router to the system so you can get multiple computers onto the network
Powered off the cigarette lighter of your car
Add a webcam and have it post to a remote server every so often (live webcam in his car)
Add a gps unit so he can track his car from anywhere (or…anyone can track his car from anywhere)
Hack google maps so the tracking is cool

The system runs a about 100kbps down / 30 up when in 1xRTT areas. This jumps to about 600kbps down / 120 up in EVDO. The price for this kind of service from Verizon is only about $30/mo for limited use or $80/mo, flat rate, all you can eat. This opens up a lot of possibilities:

* Live vehicle tracking
* Theft recovery
* Remote site monitoring
* Truck-fleet tracking
* Asset management
* Covert ops

The system’s total cost is surprisingly low:

* Soekris net4211: $180
* Verizon 5220 card: Anywhere from $50-$150
* CDMA antenna: $35
* Pigtails/cables/adapters: $30
* 802.11b card (optional): $80
* 802.11b antenna (optional): $30
* GPS (optional): $50-$200
* Software: Open source! ($0)
* Webcam: $50-$200

Many of these prices are artificially high as I bought them retail and at single-quantity. Were you making a number of them (for, say, a fleet-tracking application) you could get the price down quite a bit. I’m working on such a solution for my truck-company-owning uncle right now.

Currently I’m working on ways to get into the standard vehicle diagnostics port to give realtime tracking of car data to go with the position data. Other project ideas are things like simple serial-line terminals (or tapping into a consumer car-stereo to use it as a text display) to display things like traffic alerts or instant messages to a driver. Text-to-speech would be handy here as well. One could also use this system as a data backhaul for other existing car electronics projects such as an MP3 player (netradio in motion, anybody?) or live-update to an existing navigation product.

Other upgrades in progress:

* Bluetooth support (to give data to PDAs within the car)
* Video router support (multiple cameras
* VoIP car-to-car communications
* Car-to-car auto update meshing:
o Cars going the other way sending traffic reports as they pass you
o Other cars sharing police/radar activity logs from radar detectors
o Multi-car gaming for passengers
* Auto-wardriving, storing/uploading wardriving data constantly while you drive without any user intervention, possibly adding into one of the global-wardrive databases

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