With Advatek’s 3rd generation of pixel control firmware, PixLite® Mk3 devices have the ability to acquire an IP address through AutoIP. AutoIP (also known as Automatic Private IP Addressing) is a networking protocol that allows automatic assignment of IP addresses even without a DHCP server.
Operation and communication can happen without configuring IP addresses. Simply plug any PixLite® Mk3 device into a network or directly into a PC, and an IP address is automatically assigned through either DHCP or AutoIP.
When is AutoIP Useful?
AutoIP is particularly useful in establishing first time connection with your PixLite® Mk3 device. It requires no configuration on most computers and will allow you to directly connect your PixLite® and PC together without configuring network settings on either device. It also works seamlessly in conjunction with DHCP.
The AutoIP Process
The AutoIP process starts with the device generating a random IP address in the range of 169.254.X.Y, where X and Y are generated numbers between 1-255. The network will then be polled to determine if this address is available. If it’s already taken, then a new address will be generated until one is found to be available. The pixel controller will then inform the rest of the network that it is now using that IP address.
The AutoIP protocol is a standard, so it is also written in most computers. In an AutoIP network, since the management PC is performing the above process as well, both devices will have an IP address in the same range of 169.254.X.Y, and so communication can begin. An example of the process is shown below.
When this process occurs on a larger scale, the method of AutoIP means that an entire installation could exclusively utilize AutoIP. Advatek Assistant 3 can then be used to search for all connected PixLite® Mk3 pixel controllers.
The following example makes use of AutoIP and Ethernet Loop-Through.
Note: Whilst the above example is theoretically possible, Advatek recommends assigning a static IP address to all pixel controllers and computers once up and running. Static IP addresses provide the most consistency for management and may ease configuring the lighting control software.
When Will AutoIP Happen?
Static IP addressing will always take precedence. This means that if you assign your pixel controller to an IP address, it will always use this IP address. If no static address is set, then the device is instead configured in DHCP / AutoIP mode.
AutoIP only happens when a PixLite® Mk3 device is configured to DHCP, and it has failed to quickly receive an address through DHCP. This situation might indicate that either there is no DHCP server, or the server is busy and hasn’t responded quickly to the DHCP request.
If the DHCP server has been delayed but then does respond to a DHCP request, this new IP address will immediately replace the one generated by AutoIP. While running with an AutoIP address, the device will continue to search for a DHCP lease in the background, so there is a seamless switch if required.
An example of the AutoIP vs DHCP precedence is shown below:
- PixLite Mk3 is connected to a network for the first time (DHCP is enabled in the factory default configuration).
- An IP address is requested through DHCP.
- There is no response from the DHCP server.
- The PixLite assigns itself an IP address through AutoIP.
- The PixLite device can now be discovered and managed by the Advatek Assistant 3 software tool.
- Sometime later, a DHCP server is connected to the network.
- The PixLite controller is still sending DHCP requests, so the DHCP server responds with an IP address lease.
- The PixLite Mk3 pixel controller accepts this IP address, and no longer uses its previously generated AutoIP address.
Monitoring IP Addresses
The Management Interface can be used to view IP address details, including the IP address, subnet mask and gateway address. These details are available regardless of the origin of the IP address, and so AutoIP, Static, and DHCP addresses can all be monitored in the Management Interface on the Statistics page.
By using Advatek Assistant 3 to manage PixLite® Mk3 devices, the IP address can either be seen within the Management Interface, or in the list of discovered devices. This allows multiple devices to be managed and monitored, giving quick access to the list of IP addresses used by all discovered PixLite® Mk3 devices.