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The Art Of Networking the Xtreamer

Written by Julian Milano (JDMils) with reference to his Xtreamer Sidewinder V1.3 - 2011-March-13th

This article will cover the basics of networking and how to setup and access the Xtreamer on a basic network. Networking the Xtreamer is not a rocket science, in fact the Xtreamer and all other devices on your network will automatically set themselves up with the correct networking details automatically through DHCP. There are two methods of assigning an IP address to the Xtreamer: 1. DHCP: There are two methods to setup the Xtreamers IP via DHCP: a. The first method is the basic DHCP setup. In most cases, your router is the DHCP server and will give out all relevant network settings to any device configured for DHCP networking. Whether the settings are correct for your network or not is up to how your DHCP server was setup. The IP of any device on the network can change at any time depending on what IPs the router has already assigned to other devices on the network. b. The second method actually sets up a static IP address on any device configured for DHCP networking and is referred to as Address Reservation. The driving issue here is that most devices which connect to the network actually connect using DHCP as default. By using this method, you can assign a static IP to any DHCP-configured device using the devices MAC address. 2. STATIC: This is where you setup the networking details manually on the Xtreamers Network settings tab. This method should not be attempted unless you are confident in problem-solving of network related issues. This method assigns a set IP address to the Xtreamer which can be used from another device on the network. Lets look at how to setup each one.

1.0 Setting up Dynamic IP addressing (DHCP) using the basic setup: This is done normally on the router. Heres what my DHCP server settings look like, taken from my routers DHCP server configuration web interface:

The DHCP range is defined from 192.168.100.100 to 192.168.100.254 (inclusive). Thus, the first device to come along on my network and ask the DHCP server for an IP address will get 192.168.100.100. The next device will get .101 the next will get .102, etc. Subnet masks, gateways and DNS are automatically generated by the router and given to the device asking for an IP. 2.0 Setting up Dynamic IP addressing (DHCP) using the Address Reservation setup: Address Reservation can exist along-side Basic DHCP configuration in your router. This method checks the MAC address of your device and checks the Address Reservation table to see if the MAC is setup there. If it is, the DHCP server will give that device a definite IP address. Checkout the screenshot:

When my Xtreamer, with MAC address 00:1C:85:0b:74:6F turns on, my DHCP server will assign it the IP 192.168.100.101. What is the benefit of using this method? Well, when you upgrade your Xtreamer, what happens to the IP address on the device? It defaults to the basic DHCP settings, which in most cases will not work on your network so you have to manually setup all the settings yourself on the Xtreamer. In my case, as soon as I turn on my device after a firmware upgrade, it is assigned the IP address which I chose which will work on my network. The other benefit is that I can take my Xtreamer to another network (friends place?) and it will work as soon as I turn it on, as it will take on the DHCP settings of that network.

2.0 Setting up Static IP addressing: This is done manually on the device, such as the Xtreamer. Here is my static IP setup as seen on my Xtreamer Sidewinder:

I will explain what each of the settings does but remember that they perform the same function in a DHCP and Static setup.

Which method to choose? Its up to the individual. 1. If you are not comfortable with networking, use DHCP basic. a. An IP will be automatically assigned by the DHCP server. b. The IP will not conflict with another device on the network. c. When you upgrade the firmware on the device, you do not have to reconfigure the IP manually. 2. If you would like to assign the same IP to the Xtreamer everytime it turns on, use DHCP Address Reservation. You will retain the same benefits as DHCP basic along with the fact that a specific IP will always be assigned to the Xtreamer. 3. If you are confident in setting up network settings then use Static IP. This ensures that the Xtreamer uses the network settings you choose (IP, Subnet Address, Gateway & DNS). The pifalls of assigning Static IPs are: a. If one of your network settings is incorrect, your Xtreamer will not be able to action networking functions, in-particular, Xtreamering. b. If a device on your network already has the IP address you assign to the Xtreamer, one or both devices will fail to access the network. c. When upgrading the Xtreamer, you will have to reset the Static IP details in the Xtreamers Networking section each time. My preferred method is to use DHCP Address Reservation.

3.0 What are the other IP details we need to configure? Subnet Mask: I will not go into detail here as Subnet Masks are complicated, even for me, and if you can gather the energy to Google the subject then good on you. Basically, this subnet mask determines which IP addresses can be located on your local network. The subnet mask shown in my Xtreamer, 255.255.255.0 is represented in binary as 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000. For each 0 in the subnet mask, IPs with the same bits are allowed to talk to each other. Heres an example: My Xtreamers IP is 192.168.100.20 And the subnet mask is 255.255.255.0. In binary, this looks like: Xtreamer IP: 11000000.10101000.01100100.0010100 Subnet Mask: 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000 Thus, where the subnet has 0s is the IP range we can have on my home network. In this case, the last eight bits of my IP address define the number of devices allowed on my network, which will be 192.168.100.000 to 192.168.100.255, 255 devices, although .000 and .255 are reserved for network usage. Default Gateway: This gets a lot of people into trouble. The default gateway defines the IP address of the device on your network which is the gateway to the rest of the network- in my home situation, the rest of the network is defined as the internet, so my router is my gateway. This is pretty much the design for most home networks. DNS: The Domain Name System is another parameter which is extremely important in any network, especially corporate networks. This is the mechanism which converts Google.com.au into its IP address so that your networking devices know where to send the request for the Google home page. The DNS IP equivalent for the Google home page is 74.125.237.19. Humans recognise Google.com.au while electronic equipment recognise 74.125.237.19. Get this wrong and unless you can remember the IPs of any and all web sites then your setup is doomed.

4.0 Heres a network diagram of my home network:

Internet Connection

File Server

Netgear FS116 Switch

Xtreamer Sidewinder
192.168.100.101 DHCP 255.255.255.0 192.168.100.1 8.8.8.8

Netgear DG834G Router

IP: IP_Type: Subnet: Gateway: DNS:

192.168.100.50 STATIC 255.255.255.0 192.168.100.1 192.168.100.1

192.168.100.1 STATIC 255.255.255.0 192.168.100.1 192.168.100.1

Note: DNS address 8.8.8.8 is the Google Public DNS.

192.168.100.5 STATIC 255.255.255.0 192.168.100.1 192.168.100.1

The most important thing to remember is that all devices on the same LAN (Local Area Network) must have the same Subnet, Gateway settings and the DNS settings should be the same. However, from the diagram above, you will notice that all devices are pointing to my router as the DNS server except for the Xtreamer which is pointing to the Google Public DNS server (8.8.8.8). This is the default DNS setting for the Xtreamer and should remain as-is. If you have your own DNS server then if the server is setup correctly then you can point the DNS on the Xtreamer to your DNS server instead.

5.0 How to access the Xtreamer from another device on the network? There are 3 ways which are standard (if turned on in the Xtreamers Settings\Applications menu): 1. Web browser You can configure some useful settings on the Xtreamer from the web browser such as DDNS, HHTP, FTP, Live, NAS mode, NFS client, Worgroup/Hostname and TV Skin. You can also view your media library and play the media to your browser or control the Xtreamer using the web browser remote as shown here:

To access the web browser, put the IP address of the Xtreamer in the browsers address bar. Or, use DNS and put http://myxtreamer/ in the address bar.

2. Windows Explorer: The second method is to simply navigate to the Xtreamer using Windows Explorer and treat it as a NAS, as shown in this (Windows7) screenshot:

3. FTP: Any FTP application should be able to access the FTP server on the Xtreamer. This is what it would look similar to:

6.0 Notes on network speed and the Xtreamer: Although the Xtreamer comes with a 100 Mb/s network port (NIC), the actual through-put of the network is much lower. The reason for this is that for any network there are overheads and chatter between devices which chews up around 60% of the network bandwith along with other network traffic to other devices. The Xtreamer will have an even lower through-put, although not by too much. The reason for this is that the Xtreamer has one chip which does everything and thus the networking side needs to be queued and wait its turn to be actioned. This would be apparent when copying large quantities of data from a device on the network to the Xtreamer. From my testing, these are the specs which you would see on your network: Filesize (GB) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) 5.93 (45 files) Time To Copy (m:s) 24:55 6:47 8:16 18:20 8:16 6:47 24:55 18:20 Speed (Mb/s) 7.27 26.69 21.90 9.88 21.90 26.69 7.27 9.88 Firmware 2.3.1 2.3.1 2.3.1 2.3.1 2.6.0 2.6.0 2.6.0 2.6.0 Type of transfer FTP FTP FTP FTP FTP FTP FTP FTP

In comparison, the same data was copied using Windows Explorer from a Desktop running Win7 to a notebook running Win7 and the details were reported as: 5.93 (45 files) 8:19 21.90 2.6.0 WinExplr

At all times the network was clear of other devices and the Xtreamer was sitting idle- all devices were connected to a 100 Mb/s Netgear switch via CAT5 cable. As you can see from the results, there is quite a bit of unexplained variance!

The Xtreamers networking capability are more than enough to stream HD media over the wired LAN.

End of report.

Links: DHCP on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhcp Static IP on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_IP MAC Address on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_address Subnets on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subnetwork Gateways on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_%28telecommunications%29 DNS on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System