Trying to help a friend..."supplicant file"

Help setting up WiFi
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KK4VOB
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 am

Trying to help a friend..."supplicant file"

Post by KK4VOB »

Hello Ladies & Gents.
I have a friend that is building his first HotSpot, it's a duplex hat on a Pi Zero W. To make things hard we're doing it over the phone due to distance between us. Here is my question:

His particular flavor of mmdvm hat requires the supplicant. I directed him to the website (https://www.pistar.uk/wifi_builder.php) and he created the file no problem and we dropped it onto the microSD card and off we went. Well, I think he has a corrupted install of Pi-star (pre-loaded by seller) because when he logged in, half the config page is not there and what is there has fields blacked out in sections. Very weird. I know it has nothing to do with the supplicant file but, because his directions that came with it specified having to use the supplicant setup for wi-fi I was unsure if there was a special reason for having to do it that way (use supplicant) or, can I have him blank out the pre-installed version of pi-star and install the most updated version and hopefully get a clean un-corrupted install that I can walk him through.

In other words; I guess what I'm asking is why did his require the supplicant while my HotSpots don't? Is it a hardware issue that requires it or is it just the much older versions of pi-star that use the supplicant and I can go ahead and blank the card out and install newest version with no problems for him?

I don't want to blank out the current Factory installed pi-star OS and find out that it was a "proprietary version" of some kind and the hardware prevents loading Pi-Star_RPi_V4.1.4_08-Feb-2021.zip. I'm not aware of a proprietary version or if there is such a thing but I wanted to check before I went any further.

I hope this all makes sense and I have explained my question correctly. Any advice is appreciated.

Edit to add this is what he has bought:
https://www.amazon.com/Duplex-Hotspot-S ... 707&sr=8-1
KE7FNS
Pi-Star Team
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Re: Trying to help a friend..."supplicant file"

Post by KE7FNS »

KK4VOB wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:28 pm In other words; I guess what I'm asking is why did his require the supplicant while my HotSpots don't?
If yours are using wifi to connect to your router then they need a wpa_supplicant.conf file too. That file is a requirement of all wifi connections that use WPA on Linux.

Maybe you used the wifi access point feature to configure your wireless settings using the dashboard, but in reality it actually wrote a wpa_supplicant.conf file to the OS for the wifi to function. You can create that file in different ways.

Or you plugged in an ethernet cable which doesn't require such a file because there is no encryption on a cabled connection.
KK4VOB wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:28 pm Is it a hardware issue that requires it or is it just the much older versions of pi-star that use the supplicant and I can go ahead and blank the card out and install newest version with no problems for him?
All versions of Pi-star need it if they are going to connect over wifi. That file contains the information needed to associate with a router/access point for internet access.

You could probably wipe the SD card and write the latest Pi-star image with no issues, but there might be the possibility that the seller made custom modifications so you are going to lose those in the process.
If someones previous actions are any indication of their future actions, then I predict the deletion and removal of access will happen at any moment. 7-11-2020.

"07/13/20 This Website Has Been Taken Down" ... again :lol:
AF6VN
Posts: 573
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Trying to help a friend..."supplicant file"

Post by AF6VN »

The wpa_supplicant file that one drops into the FAT partition is only a means to get a WiFi configuration into a system before first boot. On boot it moves the information to the EXT4 partition (which Windows can not access, hence use of FAT partition -- if Windows could access EXT4, one could edit the wpa_supplicant file in-place)

If it isn't there, the Pi-Star software will go into Access Point mode -- where one connects to the Pi-Star access point INSTEAD of their normal Wi-Fi router -- and then uses the dashboard to fill in Wi-Fi information. Saving that creates the run-time wpa_supplicant file which will be used on next boot to connect to the specified Wi-Fi router/node.

One can, as I recall, define multiple access point nodes using the dashboard.

--
AF6VN
Dennis L Bieber
KE7FNS
Pi-Star Team
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Re: Trying to help a friend..."supplicant file"

Post by KE7FNS »

AF6VN wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:25 pm The wpa_supplicant file that one drops into the FAT partition is only a means to get a WiFi configuration into a system before first boot.
It actually can be done before any boot, it doesn't have to be just the first. Say you went over to a friends house and wanted to show them how your hotspot works, you can simply create a wpa_supplicant.conf file and boot it, and it will replace what is currently on the system. You will have to do that again when you get home though.

To me it is just faster and easier than trying to use a tiny phone screen to enter the information.
AF6VN wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:25 pm (which Windows can not access, hence use of FAT partition -- if Windows could access EXT4, one could edit the wpa_supplicant file in-place)
Windows 10 can access Linux partitions if you install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. Windows 10 preview build 20211 comes with WSL 2 already installed. It will probably become a normal feature in a future update.
If someones previous actions are any indication of their future actions, then I predict the deletion and removal of access will happen at any moment. 7-11-2020.

"07/13/20 This Website Has Been Taken Down" ... again :lol:
AF6VN
Posts: 573
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Trying to help a friend..."supplicant file"

Post by AF6VN »

KE7FNS wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:29 pm Windows 10 can access Linux partitions if you install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. Windows 10 preview build 20211 comes with WSL 2 already installed. It will probably become a normal feature in a future update.
I think I tried that once, but it impacted the use of Oracle VirtualBox. Took some time to revert back to the original WSL.

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AF6VN
Dennis L Bieber
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