anelok: new and enhanced Y-Box (draft)

Werner Almesberger werner at almesberger.net
Thu Jan 16 11:38:37 EST 2014


Felix wrote:
> Wow, I feel lost at some point. I though that the Y-Box will be used to
> connect anelok to pc, but now it's like an independent wireless proxy, no?

The main role of the Y-Box was originally to connect USB devices to
Anelok. Since Anelok cannot provide USB power to the device, we take
that from a PC (or any other USB power source).

To talk to Anelok via RF, the PC needs a transceiver. That was
originally (802.15.4) ATUSB but with the upcoming switch to BTLE,
we'll need something new.

The BTLE standard is not mature enough to offer acceptable security.
We therefore can't rely on an off the self product for the time
being. For a simple USB HID interface we also can't count on a
software solution on the PC. So also with BTLE, we'll want to have
our own RF dongle and implement decent security there, be it some
non-standard solution for now or whatever the future will bring.

Considering that we're already occupying one USB port to power the
Y-Box, it makes sense to also use the data lines on that port and
thus not waste another port the the RF dongle.

I already mentioned this idea almost two months ago (how time
flies ;-), along with some more background:
http://lists.en.qi-hardware.com/pipermail/discussion/2013-November/010396.html

The Y-Box could therefore be used in the following roles:

- USB host adapter for Anelok, RF not used.

- "enhanced" BTLE dongle on the PC, Anelok not connected by cable.

- both USB host adapter for Anelok and RF communication (with
  Anelok or with whatever)

If and when the BTLE folks get their act together and specify proper
security, it may make sense to switch to using some mass-market BTLE
dongle. But for now we're better off having a bit of extra
flexibility.

- Werner



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