Aircraft tracking – VPN

First up, you can all just be grateful that I have not been blogging about all the fun and cool things I have been learning and doing on the subject of plane tracking….. we would be up to part 49 by now otherwise.
(Heh, BA, if you’re sick of IoT, mate, you would be REALLY sick of hearing about my plane tracking adventures!).

Anyway, just the one comment here…..

Had the chance to put a receiver in Las Vegas at short notice. Managed to get it all together pretty quick and off it went.
One of the software guys from work was visiting his brother and installing it there.
They got it installed (just propped in a window for now) Ok, but the ‘fun’ started when they went to open up his cable modem to allow my system to get to the plane data from the Raspberry Pi computer at his house.

The brother forgot the admin password, so they had to reset the router, this caused issues with the whole family’s wifi and such.
I felt really bad… I mean, the guy is hosting my setup out the goodness of his heart. Yes, he’s interested in planes and radio and computers, but it is not nice to tick off the family and cause some stress for my co-worker.

There has to be a better way.

My new router has a VPN setup. Its a Virtual Private Network server. In other words, I can set up a private network of plane trackers based around this new router at my house.
This is the key to my experiments at the moment. The plan is to get each Raspberry Pi to connect from wherever they are, back to my router and thus my network.
The big deal is that you do not need to access the cable modem at all. Each Pi will truly be a plug and play (or in my case, track) installation.
It also means I do not need to put a fixed IP address in the Pi that matches the host network in order for the port forward rule to work!

We are thus trying to configure the VPN (PPTP – yeah yeah, I know, It is weak security, but it is secure enough for what I need) on the Pi and get it to auto connect at boot and after any network glitches.

This should mean that it is a LOT quicker, simpler and hopefully more reliable to deploy tracking setups.
Hope to test it at another co-workers house that lives near a local airport (French Valley)…. I don’t want the first test install to be very far away!

Lastly, the older Pi has had a price drop from 35 down to 20 bucks. At the moment, that price drop has not trickled down to the likes of Amazon, but hopefully in a month or three it will. This should bring the cost of a tracking setup down to around 40 bucks total.
Still expensive, but the price drop is about the same cost as the plane radio, so that really helps.
I am still working on the antenna side of things, and that’s another for blog another day.