Managing Device IP Addresses with Halogen’s Web Controls

HAL-controlled Lemonade Stand

HAL-controlled Lemonade Stand

If you’re wondering how to effectively set up control devices and the HAL’s IP Addresses when using Halogen’s Web Controls, start here.

The controls devices such as tablets, iPads, smart phones, desktop or laptop computers are the easy part. Log them on to the WiFi (or wired) network, and be sure they are set to receive a DHCP-served IP Address (obtained automatically). This is typically the default in many gadgets these days.

HAL can use static (specified), dynamic (DHCP/obtained automatically) and/or a link-local IP address to serve the custom web pages you can create in Halogen software to the above devices.

Which IP Address to use in the HAL is often a function of the DHCP server’s capability or often the ability of the IT gal setting up the DHCP server. Perhaps she’s you, the reader? The safest approach is to use a Static IP Address in the HAL to serve web pages. While you can set the HAL to accept DHCP dynamic addresses from the server, these leases are timed – typically 24 hours or one day. Depending on how the server is set up, the next day, the DHCP server may send a different IP address to the HAL. This may completely stop control web pages from working since you likely saved bookmarks, desktop icons, or created your own QR Codes that quickly open the HAL web page(s) required in a browser – all without users needing to type in the IP Address and HTML filenames stored in the HAL web server.

Accordingly, it is safer to always use a Static IP Address in the HAL for serving web pages. Doing so may prevent service calls should the DHCP server/IT babe suddenly decide to change the range &/or IPAddresses doled out to the HAL device(s).

Further, be VERY careful when choosing the Static IP you use in the HAL. You won’t want to use an IP address that may be given out by the DHCP server to some device that logs in to the network on any given Thursday. This would create an IP conflict, also stopping HAL web pages from working. The best approach is to either ask the IT queen what Static IP you can use for the HAL, or if you’re setting up the DHCP server yourself, look at the range of addresses the server can give out. Use a Static IP for the HAL that is in the same subnet the server is sending out, but is OUTSIDE the range of values given to devices. This way, all devices are all in the same “network neighborhood” and you’ll be able to avoid IP conflict.

Remaining friends with the IT goddesses

It’s often politically correct to simply ask the IT guru – “Can you get me a Static IP for my HAL device so it can work on your network?” There are several ways she can set up the network to allow the HAL to work. If she’s an IT Jedi, fancier DHCP programming could allow, for example, providing the IT gal with the HAL’s MAC Address. The fancier DHCP servers might be set up to always send HAL the same DHCP-served IP Address that never ever changes. This is a case where you would not need a static IP in the HAL. So let the IT goddess do what makes sense for her and her network – and her programming chops.

Note that it is also politically correct to offer that the HAL can have either:

(1) solely a static IP Address of her choosing, OR

(2) you can set up the HAL to have both the static IP she gives you (for web pages) PLUS it can have a DHCP-served address.

This might be an additional and convenient way that the IT gal can feel comfortable that her typical network software tools can “manage” or “see” the HAL on her network and feel good that it’s friendly for the IT universe on site.

Multiple Static IP Addresses in HAL

We’ve done some hotel and casino HAL Systems where they wanted several static IP Addresses in the HAL to serve various web pages for different users: admin vs. card-dealers vs. janitors vs. managers vs. baristas. Each of these folks may be on completely different subnets or SSID WiFi networks. The HAL can have up to 8 different static IP Addresses, but they each must be on a different subnet. Yet you can have many dozens of independent custom web pages served from any HAL using the same, or different IP Addresses. If you use ridiculously long HTML file names when naming each web page in Halogen’s Web Control interface, it provides a significant level of security, because not many teenagers I know would be patient enough to repeatedly try HTML file names until the properly guess this one: R1+4Z7T^1_w-(g#aWri2!_t92MQ1)r42.html

Getting HAL on the WiFi
Reminder: Halogen software always uses the Link Local IP address (169.254.x.y) to talk to any HAL. This is why you’ll always find a 169.254 value added to your NIC card during Halogen sessions with HAL devices. This means when also logging your Halogen-equipped laptop into the WiFi network, it’s easiest to Enable DHCP in the HAL device – if even temporarily – so the WiFi subnet can easily include your laptop on the Wi-Fi network.

Changing HAL’s IP Addresses

Here’s a short tutorial video showing how to find and edit HAL’s IP Address(es).

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