Configure TL-WR703N with OpenWRT for Wireless printing

Recently I wanted to configure a wireless printer in a university’s dorms room, which only have wired network. In order to do this change “stealthy”, I needed to use the smallest possible router with USB connection.

TP-Link WR703N is a small router being sold in China, and is capable of OpenWRT firmware. Beware: TL-WR702N is the version being sold globally, but isn’t OpenWRT capable. WR703N specs are:

  • Atheros AR7240 CPU (400Mhz)
  • Atheros AR9331 Chipset (integrated wireless)
  • 802.11 b/g/n 150Mbps
  • 4 MB flash memory, 32 MB RAM
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Powered via micro-USB socket
  • Tiny form factor: 5.7cm x 5.7cm x 1.8cm

wr703n

Specifications and size makes it a great solution for travels also. This router can be found in eBay at sub-$30 price range, shipped. There are some hardware versions, and you should hope to get a compatible version with OpenWRT, since the default firmware is in Chinese. Hardware version is written at the bottom of the router, and I got v1.6. Connecting to the web interface, I could see more details regarding it – FW build 130321, original FW rel. 37153n. According this model’s OpenWRT page, version is supported for AA, which is the stable version of the firmware.

Starting the process is simple, connect to the router using Ethernet cable, go to 192.168.1.1 in your browser (username: admin, password: admin). Click on last +, and then 3rd bulletin. You should see something similar to this screen:

Router-firmware

Download and use the firmware in this page: http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr703n

Continue configure the router to match your environment needs (Static IP / DHCP / PPPoE, Wifi). There are many good guides, including:
https://stuff.purdon.ca/?page_id=370
http://wiki.xinchejian.com/wiki/Install_OpenWRT_on_TPlink_WR703N

For the printer server part, you’ll need to connect using putty (SSH client) to the router’s address, installing a lightweight USB package –

If printer is already connected, you could monitor the connection status using command dmesg.

This command will direct you to the right device path, which should be either /dev/usb/lp0 or /dev/lp0. In my case it was /dev/usb/lp0. You could see it if you’ll cd to the /dev folder.

Once file is saved, you can start the service and enable service to start at boot time:

We’ll have to open printer ports in the firewall as well.

and restart firewall service:

Enjoy your new Router / Wireless Printer server!

ESXi 5.x – VM reset stuck at 95%

Few weeks ago we had an issue with freezing VM, and the only way of getting out of it was to perform hard reset to the VM. The procedure is well known – right click on the VM > Power > Reset.

tasks

The command took quite a while to actually initiate the reset. I really wondered what happened there, so I started investigating it.

vmkernel log didn’t show anything. The VM’s vmware.log log on the other hand, was quite interesting:


2014-09-25T03:44:35.209Z| vmx| VMMon_VSCSIStopVports: Invalid handle
2014-09-25T03:44:35.209Z| vmx| VMMon_VSCSIDestroyDev: Not found
2014-09-25T04:13:15.305Z| vmx| ide1:0: Command TEST UNIT READY took 2264.916 seconds (ok)
2014-09-25T04:13:15.305Z| vmx| SOCKET 9 (98) disconnecting VNC backend by request of remote manager
2014-09-25T04:13:15.307Z| vmx| MKS local poweroff

It looked like TEST UNIT READY took 37min to complete! Only after this command finished, the VM reset preparation continued. So what is this mysterious command, and what took it so long to complete?
TEST UNIT READY is a SCSI command sent to the target in order to get a response, and a status of the device. In the log file, ide1:0 is referred, but CD-ROM drive in this VM isn’t mounted according to vSphere client –

Edit-Settings

Just to make sure, I checked out the vmx file, which showed me something I didn’t see from the vSphere client side –

vmx-editor

vmx file indicates of an iso mounted to this VM. Not just an iso, but the VMware tools iso. Checking again from the guest OS side – and the disk isn’t mounted. So what just happened here?

A bug.

http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2076512

This KB has a low rating of 2 stars right now, probably since the solution didn’t include PowerCLI, right? Here it is.

Mapping of the VMs with ghosted CD-ROM:

The actual removal of the CD-ROM from all VMs:

Works best on 64Bit PowerShell console.

Enjoy.

iLO inventory in Multi-Domain ESXi environment

On enterprise companies, you might find a vCenter managing few DNS zones (a.serv.corp, b.serv.corp etc.). There might be a situation where there are few vCenters, each manages a different domain. Keeping track on HP iLO* IPs is easier when you register the iLO IP in the DNS, and use “ilo” as a prefix to each server – for example, esx01 iLO address will be ilo-esx01 and so on. It all works until it doesn’t, since host name changes, and maintaining it for more than just a few ESXi hosts can be demanding. Enters PowerShell.

I’ll assume you have some PowerShell / PowerCLI experience, and you know how to add the right snapin, and connect to the relevant vCenter(s).

First, add the Get-VMHostWSManInstance function, with prerequisites described here:

http://blogs.vmware.com/PowerCLI/2009/03/monitoring-esx-hardware-with-powershell.html

 

Using System.Net.DNS .Net class isn’t enough for us, since we want to query few domain DNS servers.

You’ll need the DNSShell module installed in order to reverse lookup in each of the domains:

http://dnsshell.codeplex.com

Please note that this module might not work well on 32Bit PowerShell version, so use 64Bit PowerShell console.

From this point, the script itself is straight forward, gathers all the data required including: vCenter Name, VMHost Name, Domain, iLO-IP, iLO-DNS.

 

Output will look like:

excel-output-ilo

 

* HP iLO is referenced here, script will work for any other IPMI technology such as Cisco CIMC, Dell DRAC, etc.