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Connecting Real WiFi Devices to the Spaceify Virtual Machine

Assuming you have Spaceify running inside VirtualBox as documented in the tutorial Running Spaceify in VirtualBox, you can easily replace the virtual Spaceify network with a real WiFi network.

Required Hardware

In order to connect real wireless devices to the Spaceify virtual machine, you will need two additional pieces of hardware:

  • An USB ethernet interface
  • A Wifi Access point

The USB ethernet interfaces manufactured by Apple have been tested to work on Mac, Linux and Windows hosts. Other USB ethernet interfaces will probably also work, but have not been tested.

A dual-band access point is recommended as in most urban areas the 2 Ghz band is often crowded. When using using the less- trafficed 5 Ghz band, Spaceify can boast very low latencies towards the clients. The access point should be configured to access point mode, with router, NAT, DHCP an firewall functionality turned off. You can name the WLAN network the way you like, and you can either leave the WLAN open or configure some security mechanism such as WPA.

1. Disable Virtual Spaceify Network

First stop the Spaceify virtual machine if it is running. Click on the "Settings" icon in the main window of VirtualBox to edit "Settings/Network". Now disable the "Adapter 3" by removing the check in the checkbox "Enable Network Adapter". This is the virtual network adapter that we want to replace with a real one.

2. Enable USB Pass-Through in VirtualBox

First make sure that you have installed the VirtualBox extension pack, because it is required for the USB pass-through support. Now plug in your USB ethernet adapter and click on the "Settings" icon in the main window of VirtualBox to edit "Settings/Ports/USB". Check the checkboxes "Enable USB Controller" and "Enable USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller" and add a device filter for your USB ethernet adapter. Click "OK" and unplug your USB ethernet adapter .

3. Run Spaceify Virtual Machine with Real WiFi devices!

Power up your WiFi access point and connect it to your USB ethernet adapter with an ethernet cable, but do not plug the USB ethernet adapter to your computer yet. Click the "Start" in the main window of VirtualBox.

Now plug in your USB ethernet adapter. As the Ubuntu has booted to the "login" prompt, connect a mobile device to your WiFi access point. If the mobile device cannot connect to the network, it may be that you plugged in the USB ethernet interface too late, and the dhcp server started before the network interface got connected. If this is the case, log in to the Spaceify virtual machine using username "spaceify" and password "spaceify123". Now give the command "sudo service dnsmasq restart" and try connecting your mobile device to the WiFi network again.

Once your mobile device gets connected to the Spaceify WiFi network, browse to http://edge.spaceify.net with the browser of the device (Chrome or Safari recommended). The Spaceify main menu should now appear!

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