Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Take Your TYT MD-390 Portable with the SharkRF Openspot and TP-Link Router

How to Link your SharkRF Openspot and TP-Link Router for Portable Operation

I recently purchased a TYT MD-390 DMR radio and soon found that I was on the fringes of coverage for the only 3 DMR repeaters in our area.  Unless I was within range of the repeaters, I couldn't fully enjoy the fast growing DMR experience....Enter the SharkRF Openspot.  

The SharkRF Openspot is a standalone digital radio IP Gateway / Hotspot  and is a great little device that will connect you to the various networks by using an internet connection.  

The SharkRF Openspot has one limitation in that it currently does not have wireless capability to connect to the internet and it only works with an actual ethernet connection....enter the TP-Link N300 (TL-WR802N) Wireless Travel Router.

Both the SharkRF Openspot and the TP-Link N300 travel router are powered by USB connections and power consumption for both of these devices are very minimal, using about 380mAh.  

I chose to go with the Rav-Power 26800 mAh portable Power Bank.  Depending on what online battery calculator you use, this Power Bank would give between 49.3 to 70.5 hours using both the Openspot and TP-Link before requiring a recharge.  Mine gets between 45-50 hours before a charge is necessary.

Here's how I set up everything to work together for portable operation. This method assumes you already have your SharkRF Openspot properly configured and that your TYT MD-390 has a working operational codeplug installed.

You can also download these instructions in my PDF file....Link Your SharkRF Openspot and TP-Link Router for Portable Operation.

Configure your Android Device Hotspot
  1. On your Android device, go into Settings
  • Click on the Mobile Hotspot option
  • Select Configure
  • Set a Network ID....NOTE..keep it simple.  NO special characters or spaces or the TP-Link may not recognize it.
  • Channel = Auto
  • Security = WPA2 PSK
  • Password = minimum 8 digit password
  • Show Password=checked
  • Broadcast network name=checked
  • Click Save
2.  Turn your Mobile Hotspot ON

There are 2 setup options to choose from:  Hotspot Router mode (WISP) or Client Mode.  Either mode will work.

Hotspot Router: In this mode, the device enables multiple users to share Internet connection from WISP. The LAN port devices share the same IP from WISP through Wireless port. While connecting to WISP, the Wireless port works as a WAN port at WISP Client Router mode. The Ethernet port acts as a LAN port.

Client: In this mode, this device can be connected to another device via Ethernet port and act as an adaptor to grant your wired devices access to a wireless network, especially for a Smart TV, Media Player, or game console only with an Ethernet port.

Option 1 - Hotspot Router Mode (WISP)

1. Power up your TP-Link router by plugging it into the Rav-Power portable power bank USB Port
2. On your PC, search wireless connections and connect to TP-Link.  Once it connects you'll be able to log into the TP-Link web interface

3.  To access the configuration utility, open a web-browser and type in the default address  http://tplinkwifi.net in the address field of the browser.

After a moment, a login window will appear. Enter admin for the User Name and Password, both in lower case letters. Then click the Login button or press the Enter key.

If the above screen does not pop-up, it means that your Web-browser has been set to a proxy. Go to Tools menu>Internet Options>Connections>LAN Settings, in the screen that appears, cancel the Using Proxy checkbox, and click OK to finish it.

4. After a successful login, you can click the Quick Setup menu to quickly configure your Router.

5. Click Next and then Working Mode page will appear.  Select Hotspot Router.  When you choose Hotspot Router Mode on Working Mode page, take the following steps:
Click Next, and then WAN Connection Type page will appear.

In most case, select Dynamic IP.
  • Dynamic IP - Your ISP uses a DHCP service to assign your Router an IP address for connecting to the Internet. When the Router connects to a DHCP server, or the ISP supplies you with DHCP connection, please choose this type.

6. The router will scan for the wireless network automatically, and then AP List page will appear.
Find the SSID of the Access Point you want to access, and click Next.

7. You can configure the basic settings for the wireless network on this page.

  • SSID - The SSID of the AP your router is going to connect to as a client.
  • BSSID - The BSSID of the AP your router is going to connect to as a client.
  • Key type – The Key type is the same as your AP's security type.
  • WEP Index - This option should be chosen if the key type is WEP (ASCII) or WEP (HEX).It indicates the index of the WEP key.
  • Auth type - It indicates the authorization type of the Root AP.
  • Password - If the AP your router is going to connect needs password, you need to fill thepassword in this blank.
  • Local SSID - Enter a value of up to 32 characters. The same Name (SSID) must beassigned to all wireless devices in your network.
  • Wireless Security Mode - You can configure the security settings of your wirelessnetwork.
  • Wireless Password - Input the password of your Local SSID.
8. The Review Setting page is shown as below. Click the Reboot button to make your wireless  configuration take effect and finish the Quick Setup.
  • NOTE:  You'll have the option to save the configuration as a text file on your computer for later reference if needed.

9. Your TP-Link is completed after reboot.

Option 2 - Client Mode

  • With Client Mode option, it can connect to a wired device(e.g. SharkRF Openspot, etc.) and works as a wireless adapter to receive a wireless signal from your wireless network (e.g. Android and iPhone Hotspots, Mobile Hotspots, Home routers, etc.).

1. Power up your TP-Link router by plugging it into the Rav-Power portable power bank USB Port
2. On your PC, search wireless connections and connect to TP-Link.  Once it connects you'll be able to log into the TP-Link web interface

3. Open your browser and type in http://tplinkwifi.net in the address bar
4. At the Login screen enter: Username: Admin   Password: Admin

5. Once logged in, Choose the Quick Setup option...click next

6. When you choose Client on Working Mode page, take the following steps:

7. AP List page will appear as shown below. Find the SSID of the Access Point you want to access, and select the choose checkbox in the corresponding row. For example, the 7th item is selected. The target network’s SSID will be automatically filled into the corresponding box.

Click Next and then Wireless Setting page will appear.

8. The Wireless Security Mode should auto-detect WPA/WPA2-PSK
9. Enter in your password that you put in your Android Hotspot...click next

10. Click the Next button. You can configure the IP parameters of LAN on this page.  If you are not familiar with the setting items in this page, it's strongly recommended to keep the provided default values, otherwise may result in low wireless network performance.

11. Click the Next button. You will then see the Review Setting page. Click the Reboot button to make your wireless configuration take effect and finish the Quick Setup. 

12. Once the TP-Link reboots, it will be in Client mode and automatically connect to your Android device Hotspot.  Once connected, the blinking green light will turn SOLID GREEN.  

  • NOTE:  If your Android device doesn't connect, the TP-Link light will stay flashing.  You can start over by connecting to the TP-Link again from your PC and relog again from the step 3 above
  • ....if all else fails, you can insert a pin into the reset hole to reset the TP-Link.

Connect the SharkRF Openspot
  1. Turn on your TYT MD-390 and go to TG9 to hear when your Openspot connects to the network
  2. Plug in an ethernet cable from the SharkRF Openspot to the TP-Link router
  3. Plug in the USB Power cable to the RAV-Power portable Power Bank
  4. The SharkRF Openspot will power up and attempt to connect to your selected network and server through the TP-Link router and to the internet now supplied by your Android Device Hotspot.
  5. Have Fun going portable DMR with your SharkRF Openspot