Wireless Router for iRFR in conjunction with ETCNet

Firerouge

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That's a long and confusing title... But to the point.

My theater's radio remote focus unit is on it's death bed and randomly reboots now, so the discussion of buying an iPad and wireless router and using the iRFR remote app has been discussed.

The problem is the one ethernet port at the back of the ETC Ion is used by our ETC net setup, it leads to a patch panel and a Unison lighting control panel, as seen in the following picture:


The system isn't something that is very well understood by anyone currently in the theater.

The question is, will it still be possible to hookup a wireless router to the Ion without jeopardizing or adding complexity to the ETC Net setup?
 

SteveB

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The question is, will it still be possible to hookup a wireless router to the Ion without jeopardizing or adding complexity to the ETC Net setup?
Probably the easiest way is to buy a good quality switch/router and place it at the console end. The Ion cat5 cable will go to the switch/router and then another cable jumps out to whatever cat5 connection heads to the patch bay as in the photo. Then configure the router to work with the console.

There's a lot of data here:

http://www.etcconnect.com/Community/wikis/products/irfr-documentation.aspx

I found that a 7" Android running iRFR to be a perfect size, better then my iPhone for button pushing, though the [EDIT] iRFR iapp (Apple) s more refined then the Android version and offers better functionality for moving light control, if that's important to you. So maybe a $300 iPad Mini ?.

I would also do what I had to to get the ETC RRFR functional, new batteries, whatever. It tends to make and keep a better connection.
 
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zmb

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Where I work, there's a simple four port hub or switch from Linksys connecting the Express console to the Emphasis server before going to the wall and network rack in the dimmer room. It doesn't have any sort of configuration like a router that can be changed and is the piece of the system that's least troublesome.

Oh, and go Huskies!
 

techieman33

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Where I work, there's a simple four port hub or switch from Linksys connecting the Express console to the Emphasis server before going to the wall and network rack in the dimmer room. It doesn't have any sort of configuration like a router that can be changed and is the piece of the system that's least troublesome.

Oh, and go Huskies!
It needs to be a router for the wireless aspect of it.
 

BillConnerFASTC

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I think an a wifi access point plugged into one of the Ethernet taps would make the most sense. Even though we always prefer the radio remote for battery life and being less attractive to walk, we include wifi, usually on a proscenium catwalk (over fore stage) so it is relatively central to all parts of the theatre where you might need to use a remote. To protect against too long of segments, we usually end up with a poe switch on stage as well as near the control room or where suitable for foh.
 

DuckJordan

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actually the RFR's from ETC battery is horrible at best. We've gone to pulling the rechargeable and using old AA's that we've used for shows in the past. That said you can literally use an non-managed 4 port switch (not a hub) to split the signal coming to and from the console. at one split you put the wireless router the other you place the ETC Net cable. Ethernet is 2 way street for communication so you wont have to worry about signals being lost in the wires.
 

Chris15

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OK, I'll bite.
What's the switch in the photo doing?
Is that running campus network or is it ETCNet?

For most consumer networks, the only routing that happens is between WAN and LAN, not between LAN and WLAN. So a wireless access point is likely to be sufficient.
Though it is often cheaper and easier to get one's hands on a wireless router than a real WAP...
One of ETC's recommended setups involved using a consumer router to route as well as media convert, and how to address etc. all that was outlined here:http://www.controlbooth.com/threads/arfr-networking-troubles.26389/#post-233517
 

tdrga

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Based on the IP Address on the switch, I would say it is part of the ETCnet system. It is also a POE switch.
A router is not needed - a wireless access point can go into any open network jack connected to that switch. It looks like there are only 7 runs from the Patch panel, so there may not be an open port in a convenient location.
As far as the RFR rebooting, what I found was that after it had been dropped a few times, the battery contacts lost their spring tension. I put a small bit of rubber in the "v" of the contact to ensure good tension. It might be worth a try.

-Todd

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techieman33

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tdrga

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I don't think you need to buy another switch. You can use an open port on the existing switch. It depends on where you want to place the router/access point - if close to the existing switch, then a short ethernet patch cable is all that is needed.

-Todd

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cpf

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I don't think you need to buy another switch. You can use an open port on the existing switch. It depends on where you want to place the router/access point - if close to the existing switch, then a short ethernet patch cable is all that is needed.

-Todd

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Just what I was about to say - the switch in that picture has more than enough open ports. If it's close enough to where you want to use your RFR, just plug in a wireless router. I'd recommend turning off DHCP on the wireless router and plugging it into the main switch via one of the "LAN" ports, that way wireless clients will be transparently bridged onto the main network.
 

techieman33

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Just what I was about to say - the switch in that picture has more than enough open ports. If it's close enough to where you want to use your RFR, just plug in a wireless router. I'd recommend turning off DHCP on the wireless router and plugging it into the main switch via one of the "LAN" ports, that way wireless clients will be transparently bridged onto the main network.
IF it's in the room that might work out ok. Usually those are in rooms behind walls, and probably concrete which will seriously harm signal strength in the theater.
 

cpf

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IF it's in the room that might work out ok. Usually those are in rooms behind walls, and probably concrete which will seriously harm signal strength in the theater.
In that case, put the wireless router inline to the connection between the board and the main switch (i.e. plug both ends into LAN ports) - have the wireless router similarly configured with DHCP off, a proper IP address etc. I don't think ETCNet2+ uses any exotic IP routing features, so the regular control data will be routed straight through without issue. If you're concerned about the extra point of failure or the extra latency or..., just unplug the wireless router and return to your current configuration when running a show.

Of course, YMMV - I've only done this with Strand products, where it worked quite well.

(and on a side note - when I was first getting things set up I slapped a 7-year-old $2-at-a-garage-sale DI-524 in the booth, then went to check some stuff in the dimmer room. ~100 feet and 2 cinder-block walls and I could still VNC into the board from my phone and enter commands without issue.)
 
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MNicolai

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This may echo what's already been said, but in our particular setup what I did was add a switch in the booth between the console and the Net3 port. This also gets hooked up to by a laptop frequently for programming of Unison, so the extra ports are nice to have (just wish they were designed into the connector panels instead of requiring an extra switch be added to the cluttered booth). The reason for a switch is that I've never had a switch that needed to be rebooted to solve a connectivity issue.

Then on the catwalk I added a WAP, which adequately covers the audience and stage for WiFi into the system for iRFR apps. Had I been thinking, I may have put this at ground level because it seems like every few months I need to reset the WAP to get my phone connected to it, which is easier to do at ground level than in the catwalk.

Take this advice for whatever it's worth to you based on my experiences: switches tend not to fail until they die. Routers and WAP's, particularly of consumer-grade hardware, tend to need a periodic power cycle to clear wireless connectivity issues -- I've never had issues with these devices needing to be reset to maintain connectivity between devices connected to the WAP's or routers via cables.
 

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