The Humax occasionally changes its IP address. I read somewhere that I can fix this. Can anyone advise how this is done? (Please assume reasonable intelligence, poor technical knowledge, if kind enough to reply). Thankyou.
I will expound on this and hope never to have to do so again (this applies specifically to the HD-FOX and HDR-FOX, and generally to network devices).
First, for anyone reading this out of context, if all you want to do is find what IP address to type into your browser address bar in order to access the custom firmware Web Interface (WebIF), make sure you have Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure LAN >> Configure IP = DHCP
and then select "Apply" (this is for connection via the Ethernet port; if you are using a USB WiFi dongle see below). Under normal circumstances this process will interrogate your network router and acquire an appropriate configuration to allow access from a local web browser. The address you need is listed at Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure LAN >> IP Address
, and will appear as a series of four numbers separated by dots - eg 192.168.1.21
This address is not necessarily fixed, and the remainder of this article discusses methods to fix it if you wish to.
As found at Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure LAN
, the default configuration is Configure IP = DHCP
(the alternative being "Manual"). "DHCP" stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and means that each time the Humax boots, it requests an IP address to be allocated by the "DHCP server" generally included in the broadband modem / router. The DHCP server has a "pool" (quota) of addresses to hand out to such requests, all beginning with the home network's subnet address (typically 192.168.0 or 192.168.1). For example, my router's DHCP pool is .64 to .253.
This means that when a device boots up and asks for an address, in principle it will be allocated any address that is not currently in use, and in my case that will be in the range 192.168.1.64 to 192.168.1.253. Usually however, the router maintains a record of what address has been handed out to what device, and will hand out the same address again the next time that device asks. This only usually changes if it has been quite some time since that device was last seen on the network, or the router has been rebooted in the mean time (maybe even then not unless the router has been reset). Each number (separated by dots in the IP addresses quoted) represents eight binary digits (one byte), and can take a value in the range 0-255.
DHCP is a useful tool when devices need access to the local network but do not need other devices to know what address they have. This is the case when one is hooking up a PC or a tablet (or the like) which are essentially self-contained and only need network access to reach out to the Internet. In the case of the Humax, it is intended to have Internet access for the TV Portal, so DHCP would normally be good enough. For streaming, DLNA has its own location mechanism built in and does not need to refer to the IP address.
Where bog-standard DHCP falls down is when the device is a network resource for other devices and needs to be accessed at a fixed known address, or if there is something which causes the DHCP requests to fail at boot time. In the latter category is included the use of HomePlug networking, which (particularly in the case of HomePlugs which go into a low-power standby mode when the connected device is off-line) can take too long to start up and establish communications so the DHCP request is lost. When this is the case, the Humax adopts a default IP address, subnet, gateway, and DNS server setting which are not appropriate to the local network and the Humax is thereby not able to communicate on the network. The Humax default addresses are 192.0.2.100 (Ethernet) and 192.0.2.200 (WiFi), so if you see these come up you know the DHCP failed at boot.
There are two methods to fix the Humax IP address. The first is to enter the router's configuration settings and force it to hand out the same IP address every time the Humax makes a DHCP request. The exact method depends on the particular router, but it generally means finding the Humax in the list of existing connected devices, and finding a setting which makes that address "never expire" or "infinite lease". The advantage of this method is that one can manage all the network IP addresses in one place (the router configuration), and it is guaranteed that there will be no address conflicts. The disadvantage is that if the router has to be reset, one has to start all over again.
The second method is to configure the Humax to "Manual". This can also be used to reinforce the router setting - allow the Humax to obtain an address by DHCP (which also configures the other parameters correctly), then change "DHCP" to "Manual" and leave the other settings as they are. It usually does not matter what IP address you have, as long as you know what it is. Freezing the DHCP setting in this way is useful for overcoming the HomePlug problem mentioned above.
If one wishes to configure a manual address and choose an IP address for oneself, one must be careful to ensure the subnet, gateway, and DNS addresses are correct, and that the IP address is (and will always be) unique on your home network. As above, it can be reserved in the router - and must be to ensure that no ad-hoc devices introduced to the network (eg a visitor with an iPad you give access to your WiFi) can be allocated that address. Alternatively one can manually assign an address outside the router's DHCP pool (which will therefore never be handed out to a DHCP request) and take personal responsibility for ensuring one does not assign the same address twice. In my case, the DHCP pool is .64 to .253, .254 is the address reserved to access the router configuration interface, and typically .0 and .255 are reserved addresses, so I have .1 to .63 at my disposal.
The easiest way to ensure the subnet, gateway, and DNS addresses are set correctly is to select DHCP and click "Apply", then change "DHCP" to "Manual" and enter the desired IP address. If one cannot find out what the DHCP pool is for the DHCP server on one's router, there is no choice but to rely on an address handed out by DHCP and fix it at the router (optionally also fixing it at the Humax).
For explanation of terms, see the Glossary (click)
If you are using a USB WiFi dongle to connect the HD- or HDR-FOX to your home network, there are a few minor changes to the details above (but the principle remains the same). The key point to remember is that the WiFi connection is separate from the protocols which control network traffic: once a WiFi link has been established, to the rest of the system it is treated as a wire just like the Ethernet cable.
With a WiFi dongle installed, the menus change slightly. The configuration of the WiFi link itself will be found on Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure Wi-Fi
, and then the Ethernet settings are on Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure LAN(Wi-Fi)
. The details above for configuring the IP Address apply to the Configure LAN(Wi-Fi)
Beware that, for reasons currently undiagnosed, with WiFi the 'FOX occasionally reverts of its own accord from Configure IP = Manual
to Configure IP = DHCP
, which can result in the allocated IP address changing unexpectedly. This can be avoided by ensuring the address you assign manually is the same as your router would allocate by DHCP (or just leaving it as DHCP).
The WiFi connection can also be unreliable, sometimes there and sometimes not.