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Boot Order of Operation & Timing on a New WPSD Installation

This document describes the order of operation once a fresh WPSD SD Card is inserted into a device and boots up. This helps set expectations when installing WPSD on a fresh SD Card…

Chronological Boot-Up Order

  1. Generate new SSH keys; resource-intensive; takes time on weak hardware.

  2. Auto-expand SD Card/file system to use all available space.

    • Auto-reboot.
  3. If ‘/boot/WPSD_Config_*.zip’ configuration backup is found, restore. If not, skip to step 4.

  4. If ‘wpa_supplicant.conf’ is found in ‘/boot/’, apply Wi-Fi settings. If not, skip to step 5.

    • Auto-reboot.
  5. If hardware is a first-generation RaspberryPi Zero-W (rev. 1.1, the slow one with one CPU-core), apply special configuration settings for dashboard access; resource-intensive; takes time. Otherwise, all other hardware skips to step 6.

  6. Final boot-up complete; dashboard running & ready to configure.

Testing and Timing the Boot Order of Operation

Since the old and frankly under-powered RaspberryPi Zero W (rev. 1.1, single-core CPU…slow!!!) is very popular amongst WPSD installations; and because this particular device requires an additional step (step #4) unlike other models, I’ve used a few of them to determine the elapsed time for all of the above steps on a new installation…

Variables and results:

  • wpa_supplicant.conf’ was placed in ‘/boot/ for automatic Wi-Fi setup.
  • SD Card was a new 8 GB, U3 (UHS Speed Class 3) type.
  • From power-up to the time I could access the dashboard, elapsed time was approximately 13 minutes.
    • This test ran step #’s 1, 2, 4, 5 before #6 was ready.

Bonus Notes

When applying any configuration changes in WPSD, quite a bit happens “under-the-hood” to save and activate your requested configuration changes. Using the hardware above, I’ve timed this operation as well…

Variables and results:

  • Fresh installation from above; accessed the configuration page…
  • Entered my basic information:
    • Callsign
    • Entered frequency
    • Selected modem type
    • Changed timezone to America/Central
    • Changed time format to 12-hour
  • Enabled mode DMR (only)
  • Selected display-type to OLED Type-3 and enabled OLED
    • Always Active
    • Scroll
  • Clicked “Apply Changes”
  • From clicking “Apply Changes” to the auto-reload of the configuration page, elapsed time was approximately 1 minute, 15 seconds.

An additional RaspberryPi Zero W (rev. 1.1, single-core CPU) benchmark: a fully-configured hotspot takes approximately 1.5 minutes from initial boot-up to a usable hotspot.

Minor Editorial

Since releasing WPSD in about 2020 or so, I have written in many places, that the first-gen. RaspberryPi Zero W (rev. 1.1, single-core CPU) runs the WPSD dashboard and web components very slowly. Additionally, I wrote WPSD specifically for more-powerful, multi-core CPU hardware.

However, and surprisingly, ~15% of WPSD installations, are on this slow platform!!! 😆 I am duly impressed that thousands of users leveraging this under-powered platform are gluttons for punishment. 😉

And as I’ve mentioned in many other places/writings, the Pi Zero 2 is exponentially faster and more enjoyable to use with WPSD; especially for its low-cost.

Document Version: 0dfb668 -- Last Revision: 1/21/2024
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