Lets create the PineCom
#81
(10-16-2020, 08:29 AM)pinellama Wrote: I'd like to throw in my two cents. I'm a Wi-Fi engineer for my day job. One of the most interesting projects that's been developed in the last couple years in my field is the WLAN Pi project. Some very smart people in the Wi-Fi community have taken a mini SBC and turned it into a very flexible tool for analyzing Wi-Fi networks. That being said, I could see something like this providing a better platform in the IT world for Wi-Fi and security professionals to make some very useful tools. The key to this would be using a dual-band Wi-Fi chip that is capable of AP mode, STA mode, monitor mode, and packet injection. With that one change I could easily see this being a go-to device for penetration testing and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

An SMA connector for an external antenna as suggested by another user would be nice, but not necessary.

  1. Do we need both a front and back camera on the PineCom? At least a back camera would be nice on any mobile platform.
  2. Should we bring over all sensors present on the PinePhone? I don't see a whole lot of value in the proximity sensor. Ambient light sensor is nice, but not necessary if there's an easy way to change screen brightness. If you leave GPS in then a barometer wouldn't really be necessary for altitude.
  3. Should we use the same single band/11n/BT4 WiFi module in the PinePhone (for compatibility sake) or change it out for a dual band/11ac/BT5? As already mentioned, this is a big one. A dual band AC Wi-Fi module that supports AP mode, STA mode, monitor mode, and packet injection would be amazing.
  4. Should the device feature a GPS (and compass) or are those features redundant in this type of device? GPS is always nice in a mobile device, especially people expect to use it outdoors. I'd say a compass should remain at a bare minimum if GPS is removed.
  5. Should we include SPI flash? This device could easily run off of micro SD cards. They're inexpensive and easy to swap out. Also keeps the total device cost down.
  6. We’re currently thinking of using a 5” LCD panel for the PineCom; what do you think about this - is there a reason to go bigger or smaller? 5" sounds perfect.

Please advise a suitable Wifi/BT chip part number, currently select AP6256 which is the same chip use in Pinebook Pro.
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#82
Perhaps they need two versions ?

One that has every option available, that you leave plugged into a power brick. on your desk... (Tech Toy)

A second version that has real field use in mind instead, so it could be actually used all day. (Tech Tool)
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#83
(10-17-2020, 08:33 PM)bcnaz Wrote: Perhaps they need two versions ?

One that has every option available, that you leave plugged into a power brick. on your desk... (Tech Toy)

A second version that has real field use in mind instead, so it could be actually used all day.  (Tech Tool)
A third version that wavers horizontally. (Tech Tech)
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#84
I will buy at least 2 possibly more if this is functional tool I can use for outtings and around the ranch...

a tone operated squelch would be ideal, great for stretching the battery, and for reaching a specific user at the other end.
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#85
(10-19-2020, 02:16 PM)bcnaz Wrote: I will buy at least 2 possibly more if this is functional tool I can use for outtings and around the ranch...

a tone operated squelch would be ideal, great for stretching the battery, and for reaching a specific user at the other end.
Wouldn't it be digital?  In which case you don't need squelch, and could use DPL, or something like it.
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#86
(10-19-2020, 02:16 PM)bcnaz Wrote: I will buy at least 2 possibly more if this is functional tool I can use for outtings and around the ranch...

Was also wondering for some such use:
And you get a great fun tool for outdoor (hikes, ski, bike, etc.) that could work in region with low coverage / no infrastructure.

(Or in situation where the infrastructure is saturated in the usual bands: giant crowds pre-5G like in a music festival that doesn't deploy extra antennas.
Though we'll probably need to wait 1 extra year until we can safely go in huge crowded gatherings)
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#87
Tone operated squelch as in, you receive notification when a call is directed to you, not just every conversation on the air.
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#88
Is this packet radio? If so, why not discreet "channels"?
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#89
(10-17-2020, 01:09 AM)tllim Wrote:
(10-16-2020, 08:29 AM)pinellama Wrote:
  • Should we use the same single band/11n/BT4 WiFi module in the PinePhone (for compatibility sake) or change it out for a dual band/11ac/BT5? As already mentioned, this is a big one. A dual band AC Wi-Fi module that supports AP mode, STA mode, monitor mode, and packet injection would be amazing.

Please advise a suitable Wifi/BT chip part number, currently select AP6256 which is the same chip use in Pinebook Pro.
While the AP6256 is a nice general-purpose part, I wonder how useful it's going to be for something like this. AFAICT (from spec sheets since I don't have one on hand...) it only does BDR/SDR, not BLE, and it doesn't look like it's designed for extremely low power consumption (though it also doesn't look to draw as much as many comparable parts).

If I was personally designing this for myself, I'd probably consider two chips to try to base a design around:

1) If robustness, performance, and versatility was the decided focus: Something like the u-blox JODY-W2 (the JODY-W3 supporting WiFi 6 is nice, but doesn't seem worthwhile for this) would be my choice. I've used various u-blox chips over the years and they *always* manage to just work, no matter how suboptimal the conditions. The JODY-W2 is rated for operation up to 105C (so leaving it in the sun shouldn't affect communications as much as with some other chips). The chipset also is designed for parallel high-performance use of WiFi (including WPA3, AP mode, STA mode, WiDi...), as opposed to mere "coexistence". Their Linux drivers have also always treated me well. Sadly, they don't have any combination communication + positioning modules in their lineup right now, I don't think. The drawback is the BOM cost. Sad https://www.u-blox.com/en/product/jody-w2-series

2) At the other end of the spectrum, favoring low power consumption and cost above all else, I'd choose the Jorjin WQ3132-00. It's an integrated Qualcomm-based solution and appears to be slightly more functional than the AP6256. I'd choose this even over the ultra-low-power Cypress parts, just because of past experiences and Cypress costing more. https://www.jorjin.com/products/wireless...wq3132-00/

That said, if the AP6256 is serving well in the Pinebook Pro, and economy of scale makes it the most sensible choice, it should definitely be considered. I just worry that without BLE, people will find the PineCom hobbled down the road as BLE opens lots of opportunity for a low power personal area network. I think the combination of LPWAN, AP mode, and BLE would make this a very compelling long-term product, especially at the targeted price point.

I'm quite sure @pinellama has feedback on these as well as many others, but I thought I'd toss my thoughts in the ring. Cool
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#90
Hi @Luke,

We have read all the reviews and we aren't sure we fully understand the purpose of PineCom.
We read a lot of posts that talked about a house phone, toy phone, IoT relay.
If it's the customer aim of this PineCom, we are not interested.

If you want to make a affordable privacy-oriented phone , we think thousands of people would be interested.

Who we are


We work in a safety trainer network for NGOs in Western Europe.

We follow your work since the begining, think about how we can spread a FOSS OS phone in our network.
Price and usability of the Pinephone limit us. We are targeting computer security beginners.

Ten thousand activists fight for human right / civil liberty and against climate change .

Right now we have 3 option about communication
.
  1. People don't carry a phone and have no option to communicate with other, juste before, during and just after an action. Old school annoying way.
  2. People carry their personal phone, even if everybody say is not a good option. They don't feel confortable with opt 1, especially when you are alone in middle of nowhere in foreing country by night.
  3. Some rare people buy an extra phone and disposable sim card, both paid with cash. Cheap option with burner phone 40$ at least, 0 encryption, or expensive option with crypted app, chinese cheap smartphone, 100$ at least
Any of this option are really good for us, and your project can fix this problem

What we need
  • An security oriented 2nd smartphone, with basic function
  • Protect our life and rights
  • Pretty user friendly software tutorial / ready to use hardware phone.
  • Security phone OS support like Graphene OS or /e in exemple. Any live system like Tails / Qubes /Whonix with persistance will be the better (really better) option.
  • Killswichs like Pinephone
  • Stability than performances
  • Easy removable battery
  • Trust about the management of payment data & user shipping data
  • Consider to WAT + shipping is 60$ in Europe at least, so ~ 100$ is a limit if you would be affordable for main part of people
We absolutly need a modem option, even a WCDMA one.
  • Wifi is not easy to find everywhere. In fact we can just chat before and after, so will be not usefull for us.
  • BT is too short range.
  • Modem use battery, but with a HW swich, you can cut it when you don't need. And 3000 mAh is engought for a day use.
  • Basic emergency battery cost 10$, can full reload your phone and is less than 150g.
  • LoRaWan looks not very secure, regardless the study of SeungJae Na on Bit-flipping_attack or on this study Exploring the Security Vulnerabilities of LoRa
  • LoRaWan don't provide enought speed for send E2E encrypted message fastly, but give same info about position than modem (triangulation)
  • For 7$ you can find a basic sim card 1 week lifespan. With a app like Silence on a AOSP based Rom is fine for send encrypted SMS/MMSFor 14$ you have engought data for use an app like signal or telegram for small call / long text messages / picture
We don't need
  • Expensive hardware for good perf. Pinephone exist for that
  • High res screen. 720p is enought
  • USB C is not universal for now. Micro Usb B is more common and everyone have a charger/cable
  • uSD up to 2TB. 256/512 Go is engought



  1. Do we need both a front and back camera on the PineCom? In fact, do we need any cameras at all?
    We need at least a back camera, for many uses. Pinephone back camera is ok.

  2. Should we bring over all sensors present on the PinePhone? If so, which do you think we can do without?
    Low price is aimed, so just basic ones like accelerator + compass for GPS experience
  3. Should we use the same single band/11n/BT4 WiFi module in the PinePhone (for compatibility sake) or change it out for a dual band/11ac/BT5?
    We need compatibility, so WIFIn/BT4 is fine

  4. Should the device feature a GPS (and compass) or are those features redundant in this type of device? 
    We need it for many reason, in city side and country side

  5. Should we include SPI flash?
    No needed. uSD card is easy to install, spead and easy to destroy.

  6. We are currently considering following the PinePhone’s general design and aesthetic for the PineCom, but if there is some sort of physical (within reason - also financially) that you think would fit this type of device well then make sure to let us know. 
    Cheaper design is good, but keep swich. No need a camera swich, people use black tape.Hardened case or silicone case can be a plus
  7. We’re currently thinking of using a 5” LCD panel for the PineCom; what do you think about this - is there a reason to go bigger or smaller?
    If it's cheaper, is a good option.

Bonus

E. Snowden view of a secure phone

[*]Market analysis
  • Many common NGO have a tech budget line for their action worker. Right now they buy some cheap android phone. Prupose an secure and open alternative with switch (and modem) and you can find the solid basis of your mark
  • Basic activist can find 150$ for a really secure phone (if there is easy to install tutorial for software).
  • People interrested by basic privacy but want more features, can buy a Pinephone. This Pinecom can be your market spearhead's product.
  • If all journalist is not the main target of this phone, bc some of them can have expensive secure phone solution provided by their boss, the freelance one can be interested by this kind of product.
[*]
Our 2 cents
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