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Wireless connection to mini PC with no router or internet access


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Hi, 

I hope this is the right place to post this. I want to connect my Windows laptop ( or preferably my old iPad Mini) wirelessly to a headless mini PC for controlling my mount and cameras etc so that I can use it in a dark sky location with no WiFi or wired network or internet.  I am familiar with Team Viewer and VNC but they both work through being connected to a local area network (LAN.)  I think what I want is a wireless AdHoc network between just two computers but I've not had any success with setting one up.  Both computers run Windows 10 but the mini PC network adapter doesn't support hosted networks although the laptop does.  Windows 10 no longer supports setting up AdHoc networks by default.

So I do have some idea about what I'm doing, and I've had success using Team Viewer and VNC connecting through my home network, but this won't work out in the field. Does anyone have a wireless solution for this problem or even one where I connect the mini PC to my laptop with an Ethernet cable, perhaps a crossover cable.  

If not, does anybody use a headless mini PC for control out in the field and how do you operate it please? Please understand that there will be no WiFi network available unless one is setup between the two Windows 10 computers.

Any helpful solutions, suggestions or comments will be very welcome.

Thanks, Martyn

P.S. If it can be done with an ASIair, it should be possible with Windows 10 computers.

 

 

 

Edited by GeekTeacher
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16 minutes ago, fozzybear said:

I don't use team viewer  but do use VNC  but on a RPi and that works via a hostspot if needed. Maybe your version of VNC is also dependant on an active internet connection if running windows on your mini PC

Is your RPi connected to your home network or the internet?

 

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you're really just causing problems for yourself. lots of stuff doesn't like adhoc networks.

I assume that this is an area where you don't have your own wifi AP ?

In which case, just get a 15 quid AP.

plug it into the mini PC via ethernet, and have the AP set as as standard AP (not extender, etc).

then all you need to do is connect your windows PC or ipad etc to that AP to then connect to the mini PC.

It will also have far better range than adhoc.

If there is not 240v where the mini PC is, get one of these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01NAYG15H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

its powered by standard 12v socket same as mounts, etc.

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13 minutes ago, powerlord said:

you're really just causing problems for yourself. lots of stuff doesn't like adhoc networks.

I assume that this is an area where you don't have your own wifi AP ?

In which case, just get a 15 quid AP.

plug it into the mini PC via ethernet, and have the AP set as as standard AP (not extender, etc).

then all you need to do is connect your windows PC or ipad etc to that AP to then connect to the mini PC.

It will also have far better range than adhoc.

If there is not 240v where the mini PC is, get one of these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01NAYG15H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

its powered by standard 12v socket same as mounts, etc.

I think the OP want's to work at a remote site so no Internet connectivity so TV and VNC won't work as require an active Internet connection as far as I am aware

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My win10 mini-pc has never been connected to the internet and i control it with a tablet via remote desktop. Should work with a laptop too, as long as you have some way to remote desktop to the mini-pc. I am not familiar with team viewer or VNC but i think you'll figure this one out, there are many ways to remote desktop to a win10 client.

What i use is a mini router like this: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/GL-iNet-GL-MT300N-V2-300Mbit-repeater-extender/dp/B073TSK26W/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=mini+router&qid=1631214262&sr=8-5

This thing creates its own wifi that you can connect to anywhere you are, regardless of internet availability in either the mini-pc or the device used to connect to the mini-pc. It needs a USB connection for power and an ethernet port on the mini-pc to create the network. Range is not great with these but in a dark site trip i doubt you'll be taking the laptop on a hike away from the telescope, as long as youre within rock throwing range it will work.

Edited by ONIKKINEN
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1 minute ago, fozzybear said:

I think the OP want's to work at a remote site so no Internet connectivity so TV and VNC won't work as require an active Internet connection as far as I am aware

Exact;y,

How do people connect to a mini PC for mount and camera control when out in the middle of nowhere? No phone signal, no internet, no network? Just a laptop in a nice warm place such as car or house and a headless mini PC. out in the cold. Can the Window 10 mini PC be set up as a WiFi hotspot or Access Point and share its desktop with a laptop via Team Viewer or something similar (I believe VNC needs an internet connection)?

The portable router mentioned above seems the best option up to now, but I was hoping not to spend any more money. Will it allow me to share the mini PC desktop with my laptop or iPad mini through Team Viewer.  I presume the portable router has DHCP to generate IP address on a private network.  If it does, it will work.

Thanks

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6 minutes ago, ONIKKINEN said:

My win10 mini-pc has never been connected to the internet and i control it with a tablet via remote desktop. Should work with a laptop too, as long as you have some way to remote desktop to the mini-pc. I am not familiar with team viewer or VNC but i think you'll figure this one out, there are many ways to remote desktop to a win10 client.

What i use is a mini router like this: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/GL-iNet-GL-MT300N-V2-300Mbit-repeater-extender/dp/B073TSK26W/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=mini+router&qid=1631214262&sr=8-5

This thing creates its own wifi that you can connect to anywhere you are, regardless of internet availability in either the mini-pc or the device used to connect to the mini-pc. It needs a USB connection for power and an ethernet port on the mini-pc to create the network. Range is not great with these but in a dark site trip i doubt you'll be taking the laptop on a hike away from the telescope, as long as youre within rock throwing range it will work.

Thanks, yes I'm starting to think that the portable travel router is best solution. Unfortunately Remote Desktop is not enabled on my version of Windows 10 Home, but Team Viewer should work.

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Remote Desktop

11 minutes ago, powerlord said:

vnc does not require an internet connection. works fine isolated. however, if its a windows mini PC I'd use RDP anyway - much quicker.

How do the two computers see each other if they're not on a network? I'm in a dark site in the middle of nowhere remember. No connectivity of any sort, except the possibility of connecting the two Windows computer together.

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they are on a network. the AP is the network. think of the AP as like a wired router.

This is exaclty what I do when I am out in the motorhome.

The AP gives the connected devices their IPs. and then everything connected can talk to each other. Obviously they can't talk to the internet, but all works fine.

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3 minutes ago, powerlord said:

they are on a network. the AP is the network. think of the AP as like a wired router.

This is exaclty what I do when I am out in the motorhome.

The AP gives the connected devices their IPs. and then everything connected can talk to each other. Obviously they can't talk to the internet, but all works fine.

Sorry,  I misunderstood. Buying a travel router seems to be the best option and yes, I understand how it generates IP addresses for a private network so that two or more computers can connect to each other. But are you using a variant of VNC, as the version of RealVNC I've downloaded seems to connect to VNC Services on the web.  If there's no internet connection I don't think it works.

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'Tight VNC server'  (free alternative to real VNC) running on the mount PC and a VNC viewer of your choice on the LapTop with a crossed ethernet cable between them. Google crossed ethernet cable gives you lots of examples on how to sett that up.

The other and probably easier and more hassle free way would be to just buy a cheap wifi router and set up a local network when out in the field. Still run tight VNC on the mount PC and then you have a choice between using wifi  (and the tablet) or cable/wifi (regular ethernet cable, not crossed) to your LapTop to control the mount PC. And then you can reconfigure the same router to be an AccessPoint instead of a Router when using it connected to your home network.

 

Edited by Viktiste
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Sometimes 'old school' methods work.

Before the advent of wi-fi networks ruling the world I setup  a 'portable network kit' for our sales guys to use I found a small 5 port network hub did the trick and used standard ethernet cabling between the devices.  Network ports were not standard back then so had to use pcmcia network cards as well.

So doing a quick google today I found a more modern equivalent hub runs on 5v and should let you connect up to 5 ethernet devices in the field for less than £15

 

 

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Hi 

I have skipped through the post so may have missed something. 

But I've just setup a mini pc using win 10 which I remote desktop to. 

I found a piece of software that turns the mini pc into the access point and gives an IP to your controlling laptop so no need for additional kit. 

Seems to work OK if you want to try it I'll fire up mini pc and find name of software for you. 

 

Dave

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  • 5 months later...
On 12/09/2021 at 14:48, dnl said:

Hi 

I have skipped through the post so may have missed something. 

But I've just setup a mini pc using win 10 which I remote desktop to. 

I found a piece of software that turns the mini pc into the access point and gives an IP to your controlling laptop so no need for additional kit. 

Seems to work OK if you want to try it I'll fire up mini pc and find name of software for you. 

 

Dave

Please can you let me know the name of the software. I'm in the process of sorting out my mini pc to use at starparties.

Thanks

 

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