How You Hang Your Hardware

Question: What is the best way to secure Wi-Fi survey adapters and spectrum analysers to my laptop for survey?

Here are some of the professional solutions I have encountered:

HubHolster

HubHolster – 3D Printed Tools for WLAN Professionals

HubHolster is of a pair of 3D printed clips, that allow you to easily secure your USB Hub to the top of your laptop screen. Each HubHolster is designed to fit a specific model USB Hub.
Also available are dBx spectrum analyser holders.
Creator: Robert Boardman on Twitter @Robb_404


LEGO backed laptop case

Brik Book – LEGO® Compatible MacBook Case

Credit to Jerry Olla, @Jolla, by fixing a LEGO piece to the USB hub and dBx spectrum analyser with glue, this LEGO compatible case enables you to secure the survey gear to the back of your laptop screen.


ALFA Network Dongle Clip

Available on Amazon

Produced by ALFA Network, these inexpensive plastic clips allow you to easily clip USB type-A receptacles to your laptop screen.
This method lends itself toward using an “Octopus” Hub (USB Hub with pigtails). I have had great success with this particular CSL USB 2.0 Hub.
I have written about the Dongle Clips before USB Dongle Clips.


Octopus Hub Modifications

The CSL USB Hub is cheap and cheerful USB 2.0 Hub that has served me well. The plastic casing is very easy to pop open making this product perfect for DIY modifications.


Two-Port USB Hub – Wi-Fi Survey Adaptors

I found it to be a little awkward with four USB type-A receptacles clipped to the back of my laptop screen. The obvious thing to do was remove two of the pigtails! You could simply cut two of the pigtails off (this would be sufficient), but if you prefer to “do things properly”, keep it neat and tidy, I suggest you pop open the case, remove the glue from the solder joints and get in there with the soldering iron.

USB 2.0 only requires 4 wires (2 pairs), I find there is usually enough room on the PCBs to be effective with a soldering iron, however, this level of MacGyverism will probably not be possible in the future as we begin to deal primarily with USB type-C connecters.


Two-Port USB Mini-B connector Hub – Ekahau Spectrum Analyser / dBx

I really like the ALFA Network Dongle Clip method for securing survey adapters to my laptop, with a junior hacksaw and superglue I moved the slots from the ALFA Network receptacle holders onto my Ekahau spectrum analysers.

The next logical step would be to exchange 2x USB type-A receptacles for USB Mini-B connectors, specifically for the spectrum analysers.

The end result:


Right Angle USB type-C Connector

The final piece of the Dongle Adapter puzzle! The 2016 MacBook Pro with USB type-C ports, how to achieve the right angle?

After extensive Googling, this 90 degree USB type-C to USB type-A adapter appeared:

Right Angle USB-C Type-C to USB 2.0 Female OTG Adapter Converter For Macbook Smartphone Laptop PC

I ordered 3x of these from Banggood.com they were delivered in good time and they work!

Before the USB type-C connector I would have suggested replacing the straight USB type-A with a right or left-angled USB type-A.


Hopefully this article has been of interest, please share this article and let me know if you replicate any of these ideas, best way to contact me is on Twitter @nickjvturner

6 thoughts on “How You Hang Your Hardware

  1. Hi Nick,

    For thus who use a real Tablet like MS Surface Pro for Site Surveys this may be of interest:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/9xjbyk0mx10t7g2/WLANMASTER-SiteSurveyKitVideo.mov?dl=0

    There is a Whitepaper with BOM available (German only but the BOM may help):

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zhy7dpm2d6d8xbl/2NDW-WLANMASTER-BOM.pdf?dl=0

    Regards from 2NDWAVE

    Like

  2. Also don’t forget about velcro strips!
    If you don’t like the idea of sticking velcro to your laptop then a hardshell could protect the laptop and still allow you to use velcro.
    If you have a picture of a particularly professional looking velcro rig, please share it with me.

    Like

  3. And, there’s always a survey desk. I never do surveys without one anymore.

    Even my 11″ MacBook Air starts to feel like an anchor after a few hours. Your arms and back will THANK you!

    WLAN PROS CUSTOM SURVEY TRAY

    https://wlpstore.com/product/wlp-custom-survey-tray/

    Or,

    CONNECT-A-DESK SURVEY DESK

    http://connect-a-desk.com

    Like

  4. Here is a video recorded at the OpenReality offices, in which you see me, talking through some of the solutions mentioned in this blog post.

    Like

  5. […] I chose this case for 3 reasons: hand strap/shoulder strap for comfort and ease of holding the tablet on long surveys; it protects the tablet well; it provides a mounting surface for a USB hub (alternatively you can use other hub/adapter mounting options as outlined by Nick Turner in this great blog post). […]

    Like

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