Connect your DVR to the internet using port forwarding

Last week, one of my neighbors asked me to help him connect his Abus Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to the internet. The whole concept of making devices available to the internet, is generally the same and can also be used with other devices such as “raspberry pi’s”, Laptops, etc. using whatever software like OwnCloud or Tonido, etc.

Before being able to connect your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to the internet you need to do 3 simple steps:

  • Create a local network and connect it to the internet
  • Connect your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to your local network
  • Configure your local network and Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

 

Create a local network and connect it to the internet:

  • Choose an internet provider and buy an account (ask around with your neighbors, to find the best provider).
  • Buy an access point or a Modem and hook it up to the internet.

 

Connect your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to your local network:

  • Connect your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to your local network using UTP cable (CAT-5 will do).
  • For now you can make use of DHCP.

 

Configure your local network and Digital Video Recorder (DVR):

Hookup your computer (or laptop) to the local network that you just created. The next thing we’re going to configure is your modem (DHCP pool), a fixed IP address for your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and again your modem (port forwarding).

 

Configuring the DHCP pool on your modem:

  • Login to your modem (you will need: the IP-address of your modem, username and password) (connecting to your modem can often be done by using your web browser)
  • Later on you’re going to configure a fixed ip address on your Digital Video Recorder (DVR), so we will have to make sure that the fixed ip address does not conflict with the current range of your DHCP server (ip addresses within a network must be unique).
  • Look in your modem settings for the DHCP settings and configure them in such a way that you have enough space for fixed IP addresses (in small business environments it should be save to use the following DHCP settings x.x.x.50 to x.x.x.150 (which gives you 49 fixed ip addresses and 100 flexible ip addresses to be managed by your DHCP server)). On many modems this is done by defining the “Starting IP-Address” of your DHCP server range and choosing the “Maximum Number of DHCP Users” (choose 100) if needed you can fill in the DNS servers of your provider (else you can choose those of Google (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4)).
  • Save your new modem settings!
  • Reboot your modem.
  • Connect your computer (or laptop) to the local network again (you’ll get a new ip-address from the newly defined DHCP pool)

 

Configure a fixed ip address for your Digital Video Recorder (DVR):

  • Login to your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) (you will need: username and password)
  • Go to network settings
  • Disable DHCP
  • Choose a a fixed ip address (for instance x.x.x.35)
  • Use the IP-Address of your modem as gateway setting in your Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
  • Save the settings of your Digital Video Recorder (DVR)!

 

Configure “Port Forwarding” on your modem

In our case the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) uses port 8000 to connect to. So we need to connect port 8000 from the internet to port 8000 on the Digital Video Recorder (DVR):

  • Login to your modem (you will need: the IP-address of your modem, username and password and of course the fixed ip address for your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and the port number of your Digital Video Recorder (DVR)) (connecting to your modem can often be done by using your web browser).
  • With most modems you can do that by going to “Applications & Gaming” (sometimes you can choose from “Single Port Forwarding” and/or “Port Range Forward”).
  • If possible choose “Single Port Forwarding”. On the “External Port” choose 8000 and on the “Internal Port” choose 8000 as well. On the “To IP Adress” setting, choose the fixed ip address for your Digital Video Recorder (DVR). As “Protocol” choose “Both” (most likely  “TCP” will work as well, give it a try and let me know!?).
  • In case you can only use “Port Range Forward” select for both “Start” and “End” the value 8000, all other settings should be roughly the same as described in the “Single Port Forwarding” description (port 8000 from the internet, should connect to port 8000 of the fixed ip address for your Digital Video Recorder (DVR)) (sometimes you need to give the setting a name, choose something like “DVR”).
  • Save the settings of your modem!

 

The last thing is finding your modem on the internet. So on your computer that is connected to the network with the modem and Digital Video Recorder (DVR), open a internet browser and go to www.whatismyip.com or https://www.vpnmentor.com/tools/ipinfo/ (thanks Christina for the latter!).

This website shows you the IP-Address of the modem on the internet. The website also enables you tot test the connection speed (the upload speed is the most important). Now you can connect the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) within your “video recorder software” (using the the IP-Address of the modem on the internet and port of the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that you forwarded).

And don’t forget to create a special user account on your Digital Video Recorder (DVR)!

 

The concept of port forwarding can also be used with other devices such as “raspberry pi’s”, Laptops, etc. using whatever software like OwnCloud or Tonido, etc.

 

If you don’t know how port forwarding works on you modem, make sure you check this website!!!

 

PS. Of course it’s a better idea to use VPN connections instead of using port forwarding, because by using VPN connections you don’t have to worry about random port scans carried out by evil minions who are trying to find your security camera…

 

Suggestions for improving this article are welcome, please let me know and drop me a line .

Convert MAC address in MS Access

Sometime ago I wrote an article about updating MAC Addresses before (Convert MAC address in MS Excel or OO Spreadsheet) so the subject is not new :-). But this time I’ll try to explain how to Convert MAC addresses in MS Access. The standard format for printing MAC addresses in human-friendly form is six groups of two hexadecimal digits, separated by hyphens (-) or colons (:), in transmission order, e.g. 01-23-45-67-89-ab, 01:23:45:67:89:ab. In this article I’ll give you examples of how to add, remove or change the separator for MAC addresses in MS Access.

Continue reading “Convert MAC address in MS Access”

FON 2200 having a blinking power LED

A few months ago I wasn’t able to connect to the FON network. Being a Fonero I logged on at the FON website and noticed the following message at my personal page “Your roaming privileges are temporally put on hold”. My FON router (a FON2200) did not appear to be online!? When I got home I noticed just one sad blinking power LED, instead of three happy blinking LEDs (power, Internet and wlan)… I tried to reset my FON router, disconnected it from the power supply, I even tried magical spells, etc. but that didn’t help at all. As a last resort I contacted the FON support team, they told me my device was broken and needed to be replaced. They were really nice and even offered me a discount if I wanted to buy a new router. I love the concept of FON but was discouraged by the prize of the new router, so I waited…

Last week I had some time to “Google” the problem of my FON 2200. In a blog someone offered the suggestion it was a broken PSU (meaning a broken Power Supply Unit). So I “Googled” further and came with the following solution. I made my FON 2200 USB powered 🙂

Prerequisites (what you need to get it working):

  • Hardware
    • FON 2200 or FON 2100 router
    • old transformer
    • old USB cable
    • Soldering Iron
    • Solder
    • Wire cutters
    • Knife
    • Tape or heat shrink tubing

 

Step 1 – Preparing the cables

From the old FON 2200 transformer,  cut the plug off (I tried to end up with as much length of the cable as possible).

Split the wires apart and strip about 1 cm of the insulation on both wires.

Take the plug from an old USB cable by carefully stripping off the outer black insulation, be very careful not to cut into the inner wires.

Normally you will have a black, a red, a white and a green wire. The black wire is ground and the red wire is 5v DC.

BE CAREFULL WITH THIS, THE GREEN WIRE CAN BE THE 5 V AND THE RED CAN BE GROUND IN SOME CABLES!!!

You might want to check your cable using a multimeter. The others are for USB signals and can be cut off.

The USB cable wires are very fine compared to the wires of the power cable, they will break very easily, so be very careful when stripping the insulation off them.

 

Step 2 – Assemble the new cable

Before you go any further you need to confirm which cable is ground and which is 5v.

The easiest way to do this is using a multimeter.

The outside of the connector needs to be ground, and the inside 5v.

If you want to use heat shrink tubing, now is the time to bring it in place!

Once you know which wire is which, twist together the wires and solder them.

Make sure to isolate bare ends either with heat shrink tubing or using (plastic) tape.

 

Step 3 – We have lift off

After this I hooked up my FON router and after about 1 minute I had three happy LEDs and a confirmed connection from the FON website 🙂

 

In stead of soldering you can of course just buy a new transformer…

 

Suggestions for improving this article are welcome, please let me know and drop me a line.

Installing Squeezelite player on a Raspberry Pi

After running Squeezelite for some time, I thought it was time to update my Raspberry Pi to Jessie and start with a clean installation. So I downloaded the Jessie Lite image from the Raspberry Pi project site into my Downloads folder on my Ubuntu machine.

Time to open up a Terminal window and get to work…

In short we will do the following:

  • Write Raspbian image to SD card
  • Logon to the Raspbian Operating System
  • Setup a Wireless connection to your AccessPoint
  • Finalize the Raspberry Configuration
  • Install rpi-update and update the Raspberry Pi firmware
  • Install the Squeezelite player
  • Edit the Squeezelite config file to prevent crackles from sound
  • Adjust the sound volume of your Raspberry Pi

 

Write raspbian image to SD card
There is an excellent description on how to install Raspbian, have a look here. I used gparted to remove the old partitions from my SD card. After that I was ready to install a fresh copy Raspbian Jessie Lite.

cd Downloads/Raspbian
dd bs=4M if=./2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sde

 

When ready you can connect the Raspberry Pi with the UTP cable to your network and power it up. I used Zenmap to figure out the IP -address of the Raspberry Pi.

Logon to the Rasbian Operating System
$ ssh pi@ip-address
password: raspberry

Setup Wireless a connection to your AccessPoint
I’ve been using the TL-WN725N Wireless-N USB adapter from TP-LINK on all my Raspberry Pi projects. If you want to use WiFi, you need to configure your WPA settings (assuming you use WPA2 on your Access Point).

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

add following lines:

network={
ssid=”The_ESSID_from_your_AccesPoint”
psk=”Your_WiFi_password”
}

 

Finalize the Raspberry Configuration
By using the raspi-config script it is easy to configure several things on your Raspberry Pi without digging too much into the OS.

sudo raspi-config

– expand filesystem
– change hostname
– change password

 

You need to reboot the Raspberry Pi to complete the configuration. You can now disconnect the your Pi from the UTP cable. It’s quite likely that your IP address changed during the reboot, so you might need to figure out the new IP address (see above). Logon to the Raspberry Pi again using ssh (also, see above).

 

Install rpi-update and update the Raspberry Pi firmware
You might want to update the Raspberry Pi firmware, to be able to do that you need to install rpi-update.

sudo apt-get install rpi-update
sudo rpi-update

 

Install Squeezelite player
Next thing up, is installing the Squeezelite player and some extra codecs…

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install squeezelite
sudo apt-get install libflac-dev

 

Edit the squeezelite config file to prevent crackles from sound
The Raspberry Pi is not the fastest computer around, so you need to help it a bit. You can help your Pi by increasing the ALSA buffer size.

sudo nano /etc/default/squeezelite

Edit following line:

# SB_EXTRA_ARGS=””

and change it into (be aware of losing the hashtag!):

SB_EXTRA_ARGS=”-a 180″

 

Adjust the sound volume of your Raspberry Pi
Make sure you have the right audio volume level on your Raspberry Pi. Ensure that the playback level has zero gain => PCM [db gain: 0.00]. Tweak the gain-level by using the arrow keys up and down, in the end you will reach the zero db gain 🙂

alsamixer

 

You can now reboot your Raspberry Pi and enjoy your music!

 

Suggestions for improving this article are welcome, please let me know and drop me a line .

Using Wiican makes gaming easier in Linux

A month ago I stumbled upon a program called Wiican. Wiican is a fantastic program, or to put it more correctly it’s a bunch of extremely powerful scripts, that makes your life easier using your Wii Mote in Linux.

Having my holidays within sight, I really didn’t have time to give it a close look before I took of to France. “Luckily” I had some time during my holidays (read: I had some rainy days) to experiment and discover the power of Wiican.

So after a bit of fiddling I came up with a script that to use your Wiimote in First Person Shooter (FPS) games like Assaultcube, Sauerbraten, Warsow), etc.

Prerequisites (what you need to get it working):

  • Hardware
    • Computer running Ubuntu
    • Network connection
  • Software
    • Wiican installed (I’ll describe the installation of Wiican in a different article, because at this moment the installation struggles with some dependencies issues)

 

  • Download and unzip the Wiican script I wrote
  • Import the script within Wiican (details will follow when I’m back from my holidays)
  • Start the script
  • Hookup your WiiMote
  • Start fragging some bots

 

Or you can try to write your own script within Wiican…

Script contents:

Name : CUBE Game Gamepad
Comment : Control CUBE games using the Wiimote
Authors : Winko Erades
Version : 0.3# Wiimote accelerometer as mouse XY axis
Plugin.acc.X = REL_Y
Plugin.acc.Y = – REL_X# Wiimote buttons for movement
Wiimote.Up = KEY_LEFT
Wiimote.Down = KEY_RIGHT
Wiimote.Left = KEY_DOWN
Wiimote.Right = KEY_UP

# Wiimote buttons for shooting and jumping
Wiimote.1 = BTN_LEFT
Wiimote.2 = KEY_SPACE

And now start fragging!!! 🙂

 

Suggestions for improving this article are welcome, please let me know and drop me a line.