Adding a Bluetooth terminal to your router

bluetooth-router-terminal

This image shows an Android tablet monitoring the terminal of a router via Bluetooth. It makes it a snap to tweak your router from a multitude of devices as long as you’re within range (usually BT works up to about 30 feet or so). The only part that [Yohanes] needed to pull off the hack was a Bluetooth module which he picked up for a few dollars.

All routers will have serial connections somewhere on the board. His model (Asus RT-N16) even had the GND, RX, TX, and VCC pads labeled. He soldered a SIL pin socket to the port which accepts the pin header from the Bluetooth module. Before plugging that in he had to issue a few commands to the device to get it using the same baud rate and settings as the router’s serial port. With that taken care of he can now wirelessly monitor and control the device via the serial terminal.

The one issue which he did encounter is that the module is slower to boot than the router. This means that at power-up you will not see anything on the terminal until the router has already started to load the Linux kernel. If you don’t plan on doing any bootloader hacks this shouldn’t make any difference.

Comments

  1. Alex Rossie says:

    Thats awesome

  2. vince says:

    I think it would be simple enough to add a reset switch which cuts power to the router and not the bluetooth module. I think I may spend some time hacking my router this weekend :)

  3. AS says:

    Adding a cheap supercapacitor and diode to the bluetooth module power supply should allow it to remain active during a reboot.

    • Greenaum says:

      I thought something like that. Or just a delay circuit that cuts the power to the router, to give the Bluetooth module time to start up. Maybe the Bluetooth module itself could help, use an 8-pin microcontroller to interrogate it, then when it reports as ready, have the microcontroller switch the power to the router.

      It would add a couple of seconds to startup time, but your PC is going to take much longer than that to boot anyway. And as it is, it’s just a bit messy. I wouldn’t like not having terminal access from the beginning. And boot-mods are a popular thing people do with routers like this, AFAIK.

  4. MrX says:

    This is a really bad idea, everybody knows bluetooth is broken in all ways. Giving shell access to your router to someone nearby is a Bad Idea (TM).

  5. strider_mt2k says:

    Still pretty clever…

  6. If you need a more secure way, you can use an Xbee with data encription. Its far better and it boots really fast. as most routers run on 3.3v logic, the attachment is in the same way: just wiring the pins directly to the sil connector.

  7. Bradley says:

    Forgive me, but why can’t he just be happy with connecting to the router over the network? Why the unneeded complexities?

  8. Johny007 says:

    Nice! I have few of there BT modules laying around, I’m looking forward to connect them to my NAS!

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