What's new in Barnacle 0.6.1

Version 0.6.1 had a bumpy release. A small repo conundrum caused an old FC to creep back into the release. That's what I get for using subversion over afs. Here's what's new:

Auto Beacon

Barnacle will now automatically keep associating until the first client connects.

This is a tricky issue. Old wireless drivers would often send out ad-hoc beacons for the network that they once joined in the past. This caused a lot of headache (and would cause battery drain), so the new approach is to only send out beacons for a couple seconds unless a network is formed. The ad-hoc network is formed once two nodes join the IBSS. So, pre 0.6.1, the user would have to press the Associate button a couple times. While some mastered it so that only two presses would suffice, it was an annoyance, so in 0.6.1, the app will automatically press the button every 3 seconds.

This might cause new issues for some Android devices trying to connect with iPads. Quite a few Android devices use a different BSSID every time you ask it to associate to an ad-hoc network. On the other hand, iPads are particularly slow in connecting to ad-hoc and they don't like when the IBSS address changes on them. Hopefully, 3 seconds is enough time for iPad, but who knows...

Port Forwarding

Since 0.6, Barnacle serves a Full-cone NAT, thus UDP hole- punching or hair-pinning should work now. It also allows to request that a particular set of local ports be mapped to the same remote ports (Settings -> NAT -> Preserve Ports).

In 0.6.1, if you have defined some preserved ports, you can install a mapping to a particular local address by long-pressing the client in the client list. This effectively forwards the preserved ports out.

Sadly, this feature might only be useful on some liberal wireless providers. Most providers host the 3G behind a restricted NAT anyway, so no matter how open Barnacle is, you won't be able to get far.

Local-only mode

By enabling local-only mode (Settings -> No Connectivity), Barnacle will not wait until mobile data connection (3G or WiMax) is available. This feature has been added on request by some users who wanted to use Barnacle's ad-hoc hotspot in absence of a proper AP to form a LAN. This allows one to exchange files or run local servers like VLC remote.

Note, if you never run Barnacle with mobile data and want to use Barnacle in Local mode, you will get an error that WAN interface was not found. Just go to your Settings and enter something in WAN.

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