Soekris Net4801 Topview
My Soekris Experiments

I was introduced to these cool little devices by Jim Miller, one of the guys I work with at IBS. These are embeded x86 computers. This means they are basically a regular personal computer, just like the one you're using to view this page. The only difference is that these don't have a video card. You communicate with them either via the serial port or using the network. I have used these devices in several applications, both for personal and professional use. The Soekris right of this text is the machine running this website. It also acts as an email server, a wireless router, a firewall, and a file server. It's amazing to think that this is all housed in a machine that is only 266Mhz w/ 128mb RAM.






Lovett & Lovett

X10 Home automation / Internet appliance

Techologies: Soekris Net4801, OpenBSD 3.5, HTTP and Perl
Files:OpenBSD 3.5 Soekris Image (64mb)
   *Please not that this is not production quality.*


I was talking with a friend of mine, and the company he was working for had written an application that would control X10 devices using a serial port attachment and a Visual Basic application that would communicate with a server over the internet. The original programmer had written it so that port forwarding would have to be enabled. This could cause problems because not everyone will forward ports graciously and will usually block non-standard traffic.

I used a Soekris and trimmed down OpenBSD 3.5 to the bare bones, and was able to get it to around 64MB. I actually got it a lot smaller( <16mb ), but needed perl and some other applications that bloated the size of the install. Using this method, I was able to load the flash disk, boot the Soekris and communicate with an X10 "firecracker" serial device. I then used perl to communicate with a remote web server and retrieve X10 commands from the server. The nice part about this, was that the communication was all http. This meant no router intervention would (more than likely) ever need to occur.

Some other nice features where that the system had no moving parts and it could have been further developed to configure itself from a remote webserver via XML. I also liked the idea of being able to communicate with lights at my home, say when I am on vacation or visiting relatives. Another cool idea would be to get a Honeywell Thermostat and hook the Soekris device to it via serial, and retrieve the current temperature conditions of your home. Alas, this was a prototype that never took off. It was kind of expensive, probably in the neighborhood of $350 dollars per device. But it was fun while it lasted.





Peregring Falcons - Dayton, OH

Dayton Museum of Natural History
Perigrine Falcons - Webcam

Techologies: Soekris 4501, NetBSD, 802.11b


This work was performed mainly by Jim Miller, while I assisted. We took two Soekris Net4501 embedded computers and setup a wireless link between the historic AT&T building in downtown Dayton, Oh and our office. This allowed us to retrieve images from the webcam and transmit them back to our office three blocks away.