Multifunction IP-Plug mini-server
- Project Overview
We developed a commercial plug-computer — IP-Plug. It is a multifunction mini-server for solving a wide range of tasks in IP networks, functioning as a computer or a server. Operates off 220V supply line, differs in low energy consumption and small sizes (related to battery charger sizes for a mobile phone).
Key characteristics of IP-Plug mini-server
- Configuration and control of the device via web-interface
- Built-in USB interfaces, WiFi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth are available. The device can be used as a network gateway
- Network protocol support is implemented:
- DLNA — for video stream screening
- NAT — for package routing
- FTP and SMB — for data access arrangement
- QoS mechanisms — for traffic quality assurance
- IP-Plug can replace bulkier and pricier devices. The scope of the mini-server can be expanded by software adaptation. The device can be used as:
- Hardware and software complex for measuring and monitoring through quality parameters of an IP network
- Small server of a hardware and software complex for access isolation and information protection in Intranet/Extranet-networks at network and transport levels
- IPTV-accelerator for continuous reproduction of streaming HD video from big media portals (NBC, Fox, YouTube, etc.) and for increase in carrying capacity of streaming video devices
Hardware Microprocessor 1 GHz Marvell Kirkwood 88F6283,
RAM Up to 1024 МБ 16 bit DDR2@800 MHz
Up to 4 Gb NAND Flash
Interfaces Ethernet 2x Gigabit Ethernet USB 2xUSB 2.0 Wi-Fi/BT Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n + BT 2.1 EDR (optional) Software Operating system Linux Debian 6.0 General characteristics Supply input voltage: 100–240 В, 50/60 Hz;
power consumption: 15 Вт, 5В@3,0A max
Sizes 118 mm x 76 mm x 43 mm Project results
IP-Plug plug-computer has been developed as a ready-to-operate device. Promwad experts accomplished the following tasks:
— Hardware platform development
— Software development
— Case design and construction
— Production of prototypes
- How It's Made
A European developer, manufacturer and integrator of high-tech electronic devices.
Develop a multifunctional network device (IP-Plug mini server) used for operation in SOHO networks and designed to solve a wide range of tasks, such as:
- Creating a Wi-Fi access point, as well as connecting to an existing WiFi network
- Creating an Internet access gateway, including the possibility of setting up a priority channel
- Creating a network printer and/or scanner
- Creating a backup server
- Implementing a file server with the possibility of access from both a local and a global network
The device should operate on a 220 V/50 Hz power supply in the 24x7 operation mode. It should be a small-sized low-power device.
The IP-Plug Mini Server is based on the Marvell Kirkwood 88F6283 processor (1 GHz). We also installed two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and two USB 2.0 interfaces on its compact board. An 802.11 b/g/n + BT 2.1 EDR Wi-Fi/BT module is optionally available in a ½ mini PCIe form factor. The processor board can be fitted with RAM and flash memory of varying capacities, from 512 MB to 4 GB.
The following program components were adapted for the operation of the device:
- U-Boot loader
- Linux kernel
- A Debian 6.0-based root file system
The boot loader performs basic initialization of the system (RAM, ROM, a network interface) and loads the operating system. It is also used for initial flashing and diagnosis of the device and its major components.
The Linux kernel contains drivers for all peripherals included in the mini server and provides program interfaces for applications and services. Support for major network protocols is implemented through Linux.
A FreeNAS-based graphic user interface was adapted to configure and manage the device.
Also, the specialized OpenWRT Service Asterisk distribution was installed on the mini server. This helps use the device as an IP telephony server.
One of the main tasks was studying the temperature modes of the IP-Plug mini server. Thermal modelling was performed, considering all components' heat consumption and dissipation. Based on the modelling results, the best option for arranging modules inside the enclosure was selected, and a board radiator was designed.
Several enclosure design options were considered while developing the product’s design. A 3D enclosure model was developed in accordance with the selected design option.
While launching the production of the device, the company’s experts developed assembly design documentation for a number of the product’s versions. In particular, documentation for manufacturing the enclosure allowed for different options for mounting interface connector holes. The experts also created a stand and specialized software for flashing and testing devices during the mass production of large batches.
- Use of a fully functional Linux distribution, the possibility of installing a large set of standard packages that help use the device in various applications
- Modern design
- Small size: 118 mm (long) x 76 mm (wide) x 43 mm (high)
- Low power consumption (average consumption in a typical application is less than 5 W, maximum power consumption during the operation of all peripherals is 15 W)
- Low production cost
Technologies Linux Kernel, Plug-Computer, Debian, OpenWRT Programming languages C, Linux shell Development tools gcc, CAD tools Project management tools Redmine