Provisioning a Raspberry Pi as a ‘Self-Contained Local Access Point for Workshops’ | #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi
If you conduct hands-on technical training classes or workshops, you may have experienced some delay at the start of the session in getting all the participants configured and connected so they can start working. In my experience, it’s common to burn half a day and sometimes more dealing with setup and connection issues on everyone’s workstation or laptop.
Strangely, even when participants are using similar equipment the gremlins of software and networking find ways to give each person a unique problem. Often, we have to call in a local expert to diagnose network issues.
Trainers and consultants address the issue in various ways.
This is a really smart and clever idea for using a Raspberry Pi as a WAP for local deployment, basically an Internet-less server for workshop integration. Dave Nicolette for Medium asks (and we’ve all seen or even produced variations of these workshop questions):
We might ask the host to provide Internet access to all participants.
We might ask the host to configure internal servers with the resources needed for the workshop.
We might prepare thumb drives with the workshop code and handouts so that participants can load the material on their machines.
We might prepare virtual machines that are preconfigured for the workshop or training class, so that participants need not spend any time at all setting up their machines other than having a hypervisor installed.
We might live with the situation by limiting the workshop activities to tasks that can be performed locally on each machine.
Is there a way to provide participants with an artifact repository, a continuous integration server, and a version control system in a way that doesn’t require us to carry a lot of equipment with us, doesn’t eat into the resources of our laptops, and doesn’t introduce a threat surface on our laptops?
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One thing that you probably want for a self-contained Pi WAP is a real-time clock add-on. Otherwise timestamps and logs on the site will be wrong, and many devices will set their time from the WAP, throwing them off too, until they resync with the correct time.