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Local access points

For some use cases, you may want to create a local WiFi network just for your Pioreactors (this is called a local access point). Why might you want to do this?

  • If you want to get started right away, without dealing with WiFi credentials.
  • If your usual WiFi network is restrictive (doesn't allow Raspberry Pis, or requires IT support to host them).
  • If you want to take the Pioreactor, or cluster of Pioreactors, out into the field where there is no network.

The Pioreactor comes with the ability to create its own local access point, which other Pioreactors can connect to. This new network is not connected to any other broader network (including the internet). See image below:

Using the leader Pioreactor to create a local access point

Starting a local access point

The leader Pioreactor has the necessary software to create the local access point. To start the access point:

  • If starting with a new Pioreactor, during software set up:
    1. Leave the "Configure wireless LAN" unchecked. Continue with the instructions at Setting up your Raspberry Pi.
    2. After the SD card has been written to, remove the SD card from your computer, and immediately insert it back in. A new boot device should appear.
    3. Select your country: and download the specific local_acccess_point file:
    4. Drag/move the downloaded local_access_point file to your SD card (now called boot).
    5. Eject the SD card safely, and continue with instructions at Setting up your Raspberry Pi.
  • If starting from an existing Pioreactor leader:
    1. with the power off remove the SD card from the leader and insert it into a computer.
    2. Select your country: and download the specific local_acccess_point file:
    3. Drag/move the downloaded local_access_point file to your SD card (now called boot).
    4. Eject the SD card safely, and put back into the Pioreactor.

Access the local access point

After plugging in the Pioreactor, the local access point will start and you should see a new network called pioreactor, with password raspberry. You should be able to connect to this new access point with any computer, phone, tablet, etc.

Once connected, the usual urls should work: http://pioreactor.local will bring up the Pioreactor interface (having trouble? Try http://your_leaders_name.local).

Connecting workers to your local access point

Worker Pioreactors will need to be reconfigured to connect to this new access point:

  1. During worker set up in the Raspberry Pi Imager, using the credentials ssid: pioreactor and password raspberry in the wireless LAN section.
  2. Or, by editing the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf with the correct credentials.
note

Since this network is not connected to the internet, you won't be able to upgrade any software on the Pioreactors.

Turning off a local access point

Simply delete the local_access_point file in the /boot/ directory.

Changing SSID name or password for your local access point

In the config.ini, the SSID and password are editable under the section local_access_point. This requires a power-cycle to take effect.

Hidden site: raspap.pioreactor.local

The software we use, RaspAP, exposes it's own website to view statistics and configuration for the local access point. You can view this website at http://raspap.pioreactor.local.