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#358810 - 30/05/2013 16:09 Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter?
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
I've got a laser printer that I like, which has built-in ethernet, but no built-in wifi (and no option to add wifi as a module). This printer sits in my living room on a bookshelf, and all members of the household can print to it easily.

I recently cleaned up all the video/ethernet/speaker cabling in my living room, and this thing's unsightly ethernet cable is the last thing I want to get rid of. I want this thing on Wifi instead. I know I could just buy a wifi printer, but I'm not interested in spending much money (and I'd be too tempted to go with a much bigger and more expensive printer if I did).

I happen to have a really old device that would normally have worked perfectly for this task: the Linksys WGA54G Gaming Adapter. Basically it connects up to the wifi in the house, and has a single ethernet cable out the back. Its default configuration would have, I believe, worked perfectly to do what I needed it to do. I was basically doing the same thing a long time ago, but with a Rio Receiver instead of a printer.

The problem is: The WGA54G supports WPA but not WPA2. My current wifi is on WPA2 and I'm loath to change it, since WPA2 is less hackable than WPA.

Question is: What else can I use? I'm having trouble googling to find a product that would fall into that category.

Anyone have any ideas? Bonus points if (a) it's something my local Staples or Best Buy has in stock, since I'm getting inkjet cartridges after work anyway, and (b) doesn't require me to change the IP address of the printer once it's set up.
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Tony Fabris

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#358811 - 30/05/2013 16:30 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3670
In the past, I used a D-Link 1522 for this. Bonus points that it gives you four jacks rather than one, so you can connect a bunch of stuff like your printer. (Warning: they claim it's dual band. It totally doesn't work at 5GHz but works fine at 2.4GHz. The newer versions might be better at this, but I wouldn't count on it.)

I'm waiting for the 802.11ac stuff to get out there in volume (e.g., shipping from Apple), then I might make the big switch.

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#358812 - 30/05/2013 16:32 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2521
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
How about this Netgear WNCE2001 ? No experience with it myself, but it does WPA2.
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#358813 - 30/05/2013 17:03 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
An Apple Airport Express can join a wireless network as a client. It will pass the WiFi traffic to the ethernet port for your printer. You can also plug some PC speakers into the Airport to play tunes via AirPlay. Multitasking at its finest.

I have a bunch of the older wall-wart-style Expresses laying around. You may have some, or know someone who does. Be warned that only the 802.11n models will pass WiFi to the ethernet port when in client mode.
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#358814 - 30/05/2013 17:58 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: DWallach]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
In the past, I used a D-Link 1522 for this.


Are you saying that it's possible to configure any old wifi access point to do this, or just that D-link 1522 has that capability?

Because if so, I do have an old crappy wifi AP lying around that might do the trick, I think it's a Linksys or Dlink.

How would I configure such a thing in the router's config screen?
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Tony Fabris

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#358815 - 30/05/2013 17:58 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Archeon]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Archeon
How about this Netgear WNCE2001 ? No experience with it myself, but it does WPA2.


I saw that in my google searches. Looks like exactly what I'm looking for. I'm going to try to find one.
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Tony Fabris

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#358816 - 30/05/2013 18:01 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Originally Posted By: Archeon
How about this Netgear WNCE2001 ? No experience with it myself, but it does WPA2.


I saw that in my google searches. Looks like exactly what I'm looking for. I'm going to try to find one.


... And it looks like it's in stock at my local Best Buy, and they also seem to carry the inkjet ink I'm looking for. So it looks like I'm set for a Best Buy run tonight on the way home.

Thanks!
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Tony Fabris

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#358817 - 30/05/2013 18:07 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Hm. Turns out both Staples and Best Buy have the wifi adapter in stock, but surprisingly, neither of them carry my ink in-store any more, I have to have it trucked in.

(The wifi and the ink are for two different printers. Downstairs laser: converting to wifi. Upstairs inkjet: Need ink.)

Hm. Maybe I should just kill two birds with one stone and just bite the bullet and buy a big fancy wifi-enabled photo/color inkjet for the downstairs spot.

Well at least I've got options and I know what they are. :-)
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Tony Fabris

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#358818 - 30/05/2013 18:11 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3670
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Quote:
In the past, I used a D-Link 1522 for this.


Are you saying that it's possible to configure any old wifi access point to do this, or just that D-link 1522 has that capability?

In general, no, but there are many exceptions. The D-Link 1522 is an AP / bridge / repeater, not a general-purpose router.

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#358819 - 30/05/2013 19:19 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11903
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Quote:
In the past, I used a D-Link 1522 for this.

Are you saying that it's possible to configure any old wifi access point to do this, or just that D-link 1522 has that capability?

In general, no, but there are many exceptions. The D-Link 1522 is an AP / bridge / repeater, not a general-purpose router.

Although it is possible to configure any DD-WRT-supported router to do this. There's some pretty darn cheap ones, too. Just put it in wireless bridge mode, and you're done. Plus you could hook up any other wired devices you had near the printer.

Another possibility: I know it's not a terribly attractive solution, but you could do powerline networking. Western Digital makes my favorite. Until I had whole-house ethernet, I used those powerline adapters with great results.
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Matt

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#358823 - 30/05/2013 22:36 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5301
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: tfabris
bite the bullet and buy a big fancy wifi-enabled photo/color inkjet for the downstairs spot.
If you're doing any significant volume on that printer, the cost per copy will eat you alive. Go laser instead.

tanstaafl.
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#358825 - 30/05/2013 23:52 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Archeon]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Archeon
How about this Netgear WNCE2001 ? No experience with it myself, but it does WPA2.


Okay, snagged it, it seems to work as advertised on a quick test print. We shall see if it survives long uptime.
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Tony Fabris

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#358827 - 31/05/2013 04:55 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tfabris]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2521
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Great! Now, do I get bonus points as well? grin
J/K, glad it works like I thought it would. cool
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#358828 - 31/05/2013 12:47 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: robricc]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 596
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: robricc
An Apple Airport Express can join a wireless network as a client. It will pass the WiFi traffic to the ethernet port for your printer. You can also plug some PC speakers into the Airport to play tunes via AirPlay. Multitasking at its finest.

I have a bunch of the older wall-wart-style Expresses laying around. You may have some, or know someone who does. Be warned that only the 802.11n models will pass WiFi to the ethernet port when in client mode.
Nobody notices the Apple WiFi devices, despite the useful modes and features they often have smile

I used an AirPort Express for linking a wired network printer onto a WiFi network last year, worked well. Config was done using my iPad (Airport app) but could have been done using a computer.

The USB port on the Airport express has some uses too.

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#358829 - 31/05/2013 12:48 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: robricc]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7867
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: robricc
Be warned that only the 802.11n models will pass WiFi to the ethernet port when in client mode.

I may be remembering wrong, but I was nearly certain I used my older G units in this mode too.
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Tom

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#358830 - 31/05/2013 13:25 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: drakino]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
I could also be wrong, but I remember that being a problem.
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#358831 - 31/05/2013 13:56 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: robricc]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7867
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: robricc
I could also be wrong, but I remember that being a problem.

Ahh, yes it didn't work in client-only mode. (Clearly needed my morning tea earlier, quick Apple support doc jogged my memory). The G unit would allow the Ethernet client support to work if it was in some WDS mode. The N units fixed it.
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Tom

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#358832 - 31/05/2013 14:03 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Archeon]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Archeon
Great! Now, do I get bonus points as well? grin
J/K, glad it works like I thought it would. cool


A++ would follow advice again. :-)
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Tony Fabris

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#358833 - 31/05/2013 14:39 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
If you're doing any significant volume on that printer, the cost per copy will eat you alive. Go laser instead.


Agreed completely. Also, laser is more reliable, faster, quieter, and more consistent.

But laser's can't print photos very well. See, I was also buying ink for my Canon photo printer (the one I keep upstairs plugged directly into my desktop PC), and was noticing how the printer is so old that the ink is getting harder to find. And also the printer is (like most inkjets) a real pain to keep working right (though the canon is not quite as bad as the epsons).

And so while looking at printers, I was noticing how, for about the price of a set of ink cartridges and a wifi adapter, I could just get a new wifi photo printer and just replace both the laser and the old inkjet with that. And how, for just a few more bucks, I could get a really good one that could print long-lasting photos at tabloid size. And I'd just live with the fact that the text-only pages would print slower, since we don't print THAT much text.

But you're right: The advantages of laser printing still outweighed it, and I stuck with my current system: Laser downstairs for household shared text-only printing, and keep the old inkjet upstairs for photo printing and the occasional chord chart in the studio.

Funny thing is, after putting the new inkjet cartridges into the old printer, it still printed like crap, and I spent a lot of time trying to find out why. I eventually got to the bottom of the *cause* but I still don't have a solution. The cause was interesting, I thought I'd share it here.

(Note to start with: although this is the same printer, I was not making the same old mistake.)

Problem: Color photos on glossy paper are streaked and the color balance is all wrong. Printing them on plain paper is fine, but of course the quality is lower on plain paper. I wanted a glossy print.

Even when the ink tanks were full, the color was coming out wrong. Well I looked closer at the ink tanks and I found out what the problem was. Some of the lighter colors (Yellow, Cyan, Photo Cyan) had gotten other darker colors "bled" back into them. So the yellow ink was now a murky brownish, and the cyan looked purple.

I replaced *all* the cartridges instead of just the empty ones and did a cleaning pass. Photos on glossy paper were better but still streaky. I attribute this to the fact that some of the "ruined" color was still in the ink heads and so I did more cleaning passes. I created a document with large squares of color and printed out some pages of it on plain paper, and the squares started out streaky and got better over time. Finally they looked good: Solid with no streaks. Okay, I said to myself, I've worked all the bad color out of the heads. Time for good color prints. Then I printed out a photo on glossy paper, still streaky. Why?

Digging through some internet forums, there was a tiny little secret posted by someone that tipped me off, something I never knew about inkjet printers:

If you print on plain paper, and tell the printer driver that you're printing on plain paper, it will only use the C,M,Y, and K tanks. Only when you tell the printer that you're printing on glossy photo paper will it add in the Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta tanks.

So what was happening, why plain paper looked good and photo paper looked bad, was because my Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta print heads still have cruddy ink backed up in them. The other four heads are fine now.

So I have to figure out how to clean these heads out. That's my next project: To find out how to do that.

First step: I tried printing out some light cyan and light magenta squares on plain paper, but told the printer driver it was glossy paper. This got me some streaky output that eventually looked pretty solid. But photos are still coming out bad. So maybe I just gotta dig out the print head and carriage assembly and clean that. Ugh.

Maybe while I'm at it I'll convert the thing to one of those DIY continuous ink systems... :-)
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Tony Fabris

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#358834 - 31/05/2013 14:59 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: K447]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11903
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: K447
Nobody notices the Apple WiFi devices, despite the useful modes and features they often have smile

Queue the violins for the poor, forgotten Apple WiFi devices smile

Everyone notices them, but they also notice the price. Currently the Airport Express is $95.50 on Amazon ($99 on Apple.com). The device Tony got is currently $45.20 on Amazon. There's no reason to go for something so much more expensive in this situation. The Airport Express is great for other things, but it was overkill here.

To be fair, I also didn't see how cheap that Netgear adapter was. $45 is a nice price, and I wouldn't have recommended the powerline stuff at that price.
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Matt

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#358835 - 31/05/2013 16:10 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: K447]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7867
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: K447
The USB port on the Airport express has some uses too.

Indeed. I have a bunch of Logitech z110 USB powered speakers. Fry's had them on clearance pricing and made them hard to resist.

Combine an Airport Express with the speakers, and you get a one electrical plug solution for wireless music, using the USB port for power. I frequently used this setup for patio music in Austin, along with distributing them in the house. It's effectively my alternative to going with a Sonos system, and has worked quite well. The only downside is that iOS clients can't broadcast to all Airplay targets simultaneously, like iTunes on the desktop can.
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Tom

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#358836 - 31/05/2013 16:20 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: drakino]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11903
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: drakino
Combine an Airport Express with the speakers, and you get a one electrical plug solution for wireless music, using the USB port for power. I frequently used this setup for patio music in Austin, along with distributing them in the house. It's effectively my alternative to going with a Sonos system, and has worked quite well. The only downside is that iOS clients can't broadcast to all Airplay targets simultaneously, like iTunes on the desktop can.

Very cool! I'm still looking around for a Sonos alternative. The biggest stumbling block for me is always finding something that can cooperate with my 3rd party podcast client on Android. I haven't seen any multi-room solutions that can do that at all, let alone satisfy all the other features I'm looking for.

But I know you're all Apple, so that works well for you wink
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#358837 - 31/05/2013 16:54 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Dignan]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
I set up a Pioneer A4 wireless speaker recently for a friend. His goal was to use it for AirPlay, but it also supports DLNA. I don't know about you, but DLNA is always a mess when I try to use it. It could possibly suit you fine.

Best Buy routinely has it on sale for $199.
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#358838 - 31/05/2013 19:29 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Dignan]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2521
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Dignan

Very cool! I'm still looking around for a Sonos alternative. The biggest stumbling block for me is always finding something that can cooperate with my 3rd party podcast client on Android. I haven't seen any multi-room solutions that can do that at all, let alone satisfy all the other features I'm looking for.

No idea if it'll do everything you want, but CasaTunes is a very nice alternative to Sonos. It also has iOS and Android apps. And I'm not sure for Android, but their site mentions "CasaTunes Air: Play any iOS music App in any room in your home". If this is true for iOS, I don't see why this wouldn't work with Android. It might be worth checking out.

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#358839 - 01/06/2013 01:01 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Archeon]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11903
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: Archeon
Originally Posted By: Dignan

Very cool! I'm still looking around for a Sonos alternative. The biggest stumbling block for me is always finding something that can cooperate with my 3rd party podcast client on Android. I haven't seen any multi-room solutions that can do that at all, let alone satisfy all the other features I'm looking for.

No idea if it'll do everything you want, but CasaTunes is a very nice alternative to Sonos. It also has iOS and Android apps. And I'm not sure for Android, but their site mentions "CasaTunes Air: Play any iOS music App in any room in your home". If this is true for iOS, I don't see why this wouldn't work with Android. It might be worth checking out.

Interesting. It looks like it's acting as a middle man between the phones and the Pioneer speakers.

Unfortunately it doesn't meet one requirement: price. Yowza!
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Matt

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#358841 - 01/06/2013 09:48 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Dignan]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2521
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Dignan


Unfortunately it doesn't meet one requirement: price. Yowza!


smile I know, but that's also relative. With Sonos, you usually buy room per room and that way expand your Sonos setup. One Sonos zone with a ZP120 (the zone with the included amp) costs about $500 a piece. CasaTunes offers amps which support "more than one zone" per amp. The cheapest one offers three zones and costs $1499... which, if you do the math, is about the same price as if you would have bought three Sonos ZP120's. Buying more zones gets even cheaper. Eg. An eight-zone + amp costs $3300, which per zone is almost $100 cheaper than Sonos is.

So it's not that much more expensive, it's just that you have to shell out more money at once, but you get more too. I'm actually considering getting rid of my Sonos setup and buying this instead. It's not that I'm not happy with my Sonos setup, quite the contrary. I love it and use it every day. But I'm also thinking that, in the end, CasaTunes will probably be cheaper (in the end I'll need 10 to 12 zones, I've now got two Sonos zones).
Another reason is that this system is fully supported by my home automation system, and it's compatible with other popular systems like Russsound. I've talked to the developer and he says the system is very open towards developers as well. Sonos is very, very closed. They have no API and simply refuse the co-operate with other audio integrators, which is think is a shame and a big mistake.
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#358842 - 01/06/2013 10:56 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Archeon]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11903
Loc: Sterling, VA
I'm not sure I follow your price calculations, because you're comparing to the Sonos amp products, which are not only the most expensive zone players, but also don't even include the price of the speakers you would have to attach to them. I think I missed something about your setup and cost comparisons.

I'm comparing costs with Sonos's regular speaker products, like the Play:3/5. Even those are too pricey for me, and I'm hoping that these products finally get released.

What kind of home automation are you running? I don't think I've seen you talk about that here before. I'm a home automation nut!


Edited by Dignan (01/06/2013 10:57)
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Matt

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#358847 - 01/06/2013 18:44 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Dignan]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2521
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I'm not sure I follow your price calculations, because you're comparing to the Sonos amp products, which are not only the most expensive zone players, but also don't even include the price of the speakers you would have to attach to them. I think I missed something about your setup and cost comparisons.

You're right. In my own setup, I basically only need the amplified stand alone boxes, because I've put speakers in all of my ceilings. So I don't need the Play 3 or 5, but those are indeed cheaper. I forgot about those, because those are no good for my intended setup. If you take those into account, I guess it's still cheaper to go Sonos, but not by much.

Originally Posted By: Dignan

What kind of home automation are you running? I don't think I've seen you talk about that here before. I'm a home automation nut!

I'm currently busy installing a Loxone. Most likely completely unknown in the US, but that'll probably change in the very near future. It's a startup company, now about 5 years old. But they are expanding like crazy throughout Europe and it's not very hard to think why that is. They offer a VERY good product, at an incredible price.

In fact, they even have Sonos support. They are the only ones that do that. I know I said Sonos doesn't co-operate with audio integrators, and that still is true. I had the chance to talk to the founder of this company, a very intelligent guy. He told me he had to reverse engineer the entire protocol to be able to put Sonos support into his product. It was a tremendous amount of work he said, and in hindsight, he doesn't think he'd do it again. But he did, and now it's in there, albeit basic, but sufficient for most stuff. smile

You know, in Belgium, more than 60 different home automation systems are available. 60! And they all have one thing in common : they are all proprietary and not compatible with other systems. In other words: if the manufacturer for some reason changes something, or ceases support (which has been known to happen), you're SOL. I don't believe this is a small risk or to be taken lightly, because, contrary to a PC or other computer based systems, this is integrated into your house, and more than likely is meant to last a (few) decade(s) before getting upgraded. Long-term support is crucial here.

In fact, there is only ONE system that does not have this problem, and that's EIB/KNX.. KNX is very different from all other systems, in that it is a protocol (created by Siemens). It's an organisation and a standard, rather than an entire system. This means that the KNX organisation does not make hardware themselves. Rather there are a couple of hundred manufacturers that make home automation hardware by the KNX standard, and all their hardware is able to work together. This is very nice AND unique! It has other advantages as well, like complete de-centralised setup. Almost all other systems have one central "brain". If that brain for some reason malfunctions, you're toast (and most likely in the dark - quite literally). Not so with KNX : because of the decentralised setup, if one component fails, then only the functions of that specific component cease to function. KNX is also VERY powerful. There are KNX projects out there that contain 50.000 modules or more. (the typical home setup usually has no more than 20 to 30!) This all is possible with KNX, because of the decentralised setup. Since every component has its own tiny CPU, everything can be expended endlessly, and there is no risk of the system slowing down and crashing under it's own weight.

Of course, KNX has downsides as well. For one, setting it up is A LOT harder than most other systems (because of the decentralised setup). It's not something you can just look at for 10 minutes and then have a go at. You will need training for this. Second, the cost is easily twice to three time the cost of any other home automation system. This is also because as said, every component has its own tiny CPU, and this increases the complexity of the system and thus the cost of the components. Also, since all manufacturers that make KNX components have to pay licence fees to the KNX corporation, that needs to be taken into account as well. Heck, the programming software itself costs more than 1000 euro for a licence for 1 PC!
So it's a good system, VERY solid, bug-free and tested, but it's terribly expensive.

Enter Loxone. Loxone is the first and currently still only system that combines the strengths of KNX, but without the cost. It actually has a KNX interface, and it can connect to KNX hardware, and command it. But unlike KNX, it's a centrally controlled system, but that's not a problem in the "small setups" that consumer houses are. (but it's perfectly happy with larger projects as well... in Germany there is only hospital and a few hotels that run entirely on pure Loxone systems) Loxone does have it's own (very good and capable) modules as well: relays, dimmer modules, EnOcean, DMX, RS485 and RS232, Infrared, 1wire,... at incredibly competitive prices. BUT, if you want to for some reason, (like the fail-safeness of KNX) you can also perfectly use KNX hardware. That way, Loxone could do all the logical functions and act as the brain of your KNX system. And all at an incredible price! (only 500 euro for the main module, the miniserver!) Loxone offers very good programming tools that are not hard to understand because they are entirely graphical. But, best of all, the software is included into the price of the miniserver! It has iOS and Android apps. It can also be controlled through any and every browser. You can control it from home or away. You can connect IP camera's to it and use it as a home surveillance system. Basically everything is possible. They have their own sensors for 95% of the most common uses in home automation. But should you need a very specific thing, like eg. an underground humidity sensor, to know when your grass it too dry, to start the watering system if needed, there are KNX sensors that do that. And, as said, Loxone is completely KNX compatible.

I'm very excited to setup this system into my home. I'm sure it'll be hours of fun! smile
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#358848 - 01/06/2013 19:17 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Archeon]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11903
Loc: Sterling, VA
Could a mod please split this home automation discussion into its own thread? Sorry for taking over.

I've only looked at the system you're using for a moment, but I'm a little puzzled by it. It seems to be an inline wiring kind of product, where you wire your lights into those controllers and the central unit controls the system. Do I have that right? All I know is that I look at Loxone's product line, and I see about a million screw-type terminals. They claim they have wireless products, but I don't see any on their site.

I've been using Z-Wave. Plusses:

- You mentioned a bunch of proprietary technologies from a bunch of vendors. Well, Z-Wave is proprietary, but it's a licensed standard used by a number of companies.

- It's a wireless standard, so it's 100% "retrofittable." There's some things that are more easily/cheaply done at time of construction, but for the most part it's all about replacing light switches and thermostats.

Cons:

- I still think it's expensive, but I don't have a very big budget. Most good dimmer switches are around $70 each (I have a bunch of ~$22 switches).

- While it's a licensed standard, IMO the technology is getting less popular with manufacturers. The community disagrees with me, but at the very best it's stagnant.

- I still haven't found a central control device that I love. I have a unit called Vera from Mi Casa Verde, but there are a few things about it that I really can't stand and that I feel go against the Z-Wave standard. On the plus side, Vera can talk to Z-Wave, Insteon, and X10 devices, so that's neat. I only have Z-Wave, though.
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#358854 - 02/06/2013 07:15 Re: Wifi-to-ethernet standalone client adapter? [Re: Dignan]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2521
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Dignan

I've only looked at the system you're using for a moment, but I'm a little puzzled by it. It seems to be an inline wiring kind of product, where you wire your lights into those controllers and the central unit controls the system. Do I have that right?

Yes. That's the way all home automation systems that I know work. You put the modules in your electricity cabinet and connect your electrical wiring to it. To the buttons in the wall, data cable is used. (effectively a lot of the time Cat7 cable). Two ways of setting this up, either daisy-chaining button after button, a so called "bus structure" (KNX works like this), or by simply using a multi-cable data cable, reserving one little cable per button and then directly back to the electricity cabinet. It used to be all bus structures, because you needed less cable and were able to expand more easily like that, but recently things started moving to the one-cable-per-button way of working because it's simpler (albeit more work to install), cheaper (no button-identifying intelligence needed behind the buttons itself, or -even more expensive- intelligent buttons) and future proof (because there's no intelligence in the buttons itself, you're certain to be able to switch to a different system should you want to, even after decades).

Originally Posted By: Dignan

All I know is that I look at Loxone's product line, and I see about a million screw-type terminals. They claim they have wireless products, but I don't see any on their site.

They are completely compatible with the EnOcean technology, which is wireless and used a lot in combination with KNX. I would never use that as the basis of my installation though, only maybe as a last resort kind of thing. For the same reason I'll always prefer wired ethernet compared to wireless: stability.

Originally Posted By: Dignan

I've been using Z-Wave.

While I have no experience with Z-Wave myself, like I said I would be reluctant to use such a technology. Of course, I can see how this could be the only way of putting a home automation system into a home with a classical electricity setup. Because yes, if you want to use home automation, you need to take this into account from the moment you're building the house, because you need to setup your electrical wiring differently that you would do with a classical setup. And of course this cannot be changed afterwards. It's for this reason that I would ALWAYS advice a home builder that's remotely interested in home automation, but wants to hold off because of the cost, to install his electrical system with so called "teleruptors" (Electromechanical Impulse Switches). This kind of setup doesn't add much to the cost of a total setup (about $500 for a typical house), but then the wiring is ready and compatible for a future home automation setup.

If you didn't setup your wiring like that, then you're stuck. OR use technology like Z-Wave, because then that would be the only way of installing home automation without cutting into the walls. In this case this would be a viable alternative.

I've read up on it and the pros and cons you list seem very true. I would also add to it that it's not an open standard and it doesn't have an iOS or Android app of its own. There do seem to be third party ones though. Integrating video and audio doesn't seem to be possible, and front-door communication is also a no-go. (even though you can use a simple doorbell). Also, sometimes in bigger houses there can be a delay between the push of a button and the system actually reacting, because of the longer distances between the transmitters/receivers.

You mention lights and thermostats, and granted, that's about 80% of what most people use home automation for. But I would also like to use it for: controlling shutters & blinds, everything off function (lights!), panic button, fire prevention, using it as an alarm system for my home, video integration, video surveillance, audio distribution throughout the house, controlling the ventilation system (eg. after a shower, automatically increase the suction in the bathroom to get rid of the vapor faster), access control to certain areas of the house (read: "make them child proof"). I would also like to use it for more intelligent project like checking if the water level in my rain cistern doesn't get too low, and if it does, fill it up with some extra water so the cistern pump will never run dry.

You mention that you haven't found a controller yet that you love, but in my opinion, the days of proprietary controllers are over. I actually have a touch screen into one of the living room walls, but that one was already there because of a different home automation system I used to have (yes, this is already my second home automation setup). I'm now controlling it using a Raspberry Pi and it works wonderfully well because as said before, Loxone can be controlled from every browser in the network.
But, in hindsight, I wouldn't even bother with installing such a monitor now anymore. Using my iPad or iPhone (or Android phone) is just that much more convenient and all that's needed really. (eg. I won't even have dedicated buttons to control my blinds anymore, it's so much more convenient to do it via my iPhone, which I have in my pockets all the time anyway).
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