Multi device talking - possible?

I want 3 photons to be able to talk to one another. They are to be moved into a remote location with no networks. Is this possible?

I noticed during setup, that my photon creates it’s own wifi network, which my phone connected to. Is it possible, in the field, for one of my photons to create a network, and for the others to talk to it?

Is there any other way where remote photons can talk to each other ? They are in relatively close vicinity, but other wise have no other kind of network access.

3 Likes

@cnd

Do you mean to say there will not be any access to Wi-Fi network where the three photons will be located? Photon comes with Wi-Fi access by default, but there must be a network available to connect to the cloud.

Your phone was used to connect the photon to the an existing Wi-FI network by providing the SSID and the password. It did not create a network.

I believe you are talking about one of the photons being an Access Point (AP) and the photons talking to each other using this access point. As per the discussion in the comunioty form, this feature is being added. @mdma can provide an update on this.

Do you want to consider wireless protocols such as Zigbee or Bluetooth for the photons to communicate with each other? These can be used for short distance communication.

Actually - what happened was this: the app DISCONNECTS your phone from all wifi networks (when pairing a photon, you’ll notice your phone cannot access the network - which is especially annoying if you need to use the network to get the password to paste in to the app…). It then connects to the new wifi network AP that the photon itself has created, and it uses this temporary network to tell the photon the details of the other wifi network that it will later want to connect to, after the setup is over.

So yes - the photon does create that temporary network.

But yes - you’re right - bluetooth is probably easier for my needs - I guess I can connect an antenna if I want better distance.

The popular NRF24L01 radio works well for two way communications between devices, and is very well supported within the Arduino community. I would go as far as to say that if you are just collecting simple data on the nodes, just use simple Arduinos, and use a Photon for the final IP connectivity.

You can also look at XBee interface which can be used for communication over ranges higher than what is supported by Bluetooth and Zigbee.

In a future release (0.4.5 - in around month’s time) it will be possible to create a SoftAP under application control. So you’ll be able to have one photon as the “master” publishing an AP and have the other units function as slaves, connecting to the master as a a wifi client. Exciting stuff! :smiley:

While the low-level implementation details are clear, we’re planning the high-level features, such as how devices learn about each other (hard-coded in the app? dynamic lookup?) and how credentials are managed. Very happy to have input from our fine community here - your thoughts and wishes received with grattitude! :open_hands:

2 Likes

This is very cool!!! Thanks MDMA

Hi @mdma,
How many photons will be able to connect simultaneously to the AP?

Actually I don’t know, probably limited by the WiFi spec?

There is a limit on the number of clients that can be connected to a server socket - I believe it’s 5 but this is independent of using AP or STA mode.

Feedback and use cases welcomed!

Okay,
First of all, I admire the energy and effort you put in to the development. Don’t stress yourself too much! There’s life to be lived as well.

I read the thread about multiple photons chatting with each other. If possible why not implement an ad-hoc or connection less protocol that uses WiFi so that we can make unlimited numbers of photons chat with each other?

1 Like

Thanks for your good words. :smile:

Sure. UDP is still available so you can create connectionless solutions on top of the ad-hoc or infrastructure WiFi network. WICED supports WiFi Direct so we will be looking to incorporate that too.

That’s interresting. I believe this means that the photons are running without access to the cloud. So we have to manage the data exchange manually, like UDP, or will there be firmware functions for that?

Also I am thinking of a structure where there is one photon connected to internet WIFI, and then another photon is installed every 10m. Is there a way to configure the photons as repeaters so that they are all connected to the cloud, or at least they can bring back data to the cloud?

I wonder if the access point functionality is all ready available. With this I mean that a Photon functions as an access point while running the user app and that clients can connect to this access point and communicate through a TCP socket with the user app ( in the same photon).
If this is possible, where is the documentation :smile:

Hi.
What is the current status for this?

My thought is to let each Photon be an access point. Each Photon would only ever have 4 connections. 2 outgoing to the next Photon up/down the chain, and 2 incoming from the Photon up/down in the chain. Thus, the limited number of open sockets does not apply here?
As I have understood it, the Broadcom chip on the Photon allows for this type of connections, Accepting incoming WiFi connections while at the same time connecting to another network? Then it is a matter of software to ensure that this is possible. Is this possible with current firmware?

For clarification, would this be the same as letting all Photons connect using AdHoc connections in the chain?
Example:
Photon 1 <-> Photon 2 <-> Photon 3 <-> Photon 4
<-> symbolises a bidirectional connection.

@Ludste, absolutely correct! It will all ride on the SoftAP/WiFi Direct implementation. @mdma is the right guy for this job (huge brain, no sleep) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks for all the quick and good responses :slightly_smiling_face:

@mdma, if I wanted to create the Photon to Photon communication, is your recommendation here WiFi Direct with Photon still the best available option? If so, where could one find more detailed information about the steps outlined?

Or will the functionality be available in new firmware at the end of Q1?

Yep, current plans are to build this Q1 this year.

2 Likes

@mdma Hi! Can the photons talk to each other? Distance between my router and the new photons keep increasing. So if one of my photon talks to another and that photon can talk to my router…

Is there a way for this to happen automatically, like where I don’t have to send packets between them consciously?

Example:-
I could take the photon near my router and connect to it, but then I’ll take it far away where the Photon cannot reach the router directly but through other nearby photons… It would be cool, if this is possible…

Not yet

@ScruffR Can we expect this to happen anytime soon?