SkyFi II's Wireless Network

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    After you turn SkyFi on, it creates an open wireless network named "SkyFi." You can join this network from your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - just as you would join any other WiFi network. Using a standard web browser, you can change SkyFi's wireless network name, and add WEP security so that unauthorized users can't connect to your hardware.

    You can also configure SkyFi to join your home wireless network. With this configuration, your computer, mobile device, and telescope are all on the same Wi-Fi network - and all connected to the internet - at the same time. Instructions for setting up such a configuration are listed on the bottom of this page. Note: joining SkyFi to an existing Wi-Fi network requires SkyFi firmware version 2.3 or later.

    The instructions on this page assume that you are familiar with basic home-networking concepts like SSIDs, WEP security, and IP addresses.

    Joining SkyFi's Network

    To join SkyFi's wireless network from Mac running OS X, a PC running Windows, or an iOS device:

    • Mac OS X - click the AirPort icon on the left side of the menu bar at the top of the screen to view a list of available WiFi networks. SkyFi should appear under the Devices section.

    • Windows - right-click the wireless networks icon on the task bar to view a list of avaiable WiFi networks. SkyFi should appear in this list.

    • iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch - tap the Settings icon on the main screen, then select WiFi. SkyFi should appear on the list of networks that appears to the right.

    • Android - unfortunately, most Android devices cannot see or join Ad Hoc Wi-Fi networks. This means that, out of the box, they cannot work with SkyFi. Android users have two ways to overcome this limitation: 1) Enable Ad Hoc networking on your Android device; or 2) configure SkyFi to join your home Wi-Fi network. For more discussion, see this page.

    Joining SkyFi's wireless network: from Mac OS X (left), from Windows 7 (center) and from an iPhone (right).
    Click any image to enlarge.

     

    Here are some points to consider when joining SkyFi's wireless network for the first time:

    • When you join SkyFi's network, SkyFi will automatically assign an IP address to your computer or other wireless device. For this to work correctly, make sure your computer is configured to use DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). This is the default setting on most computers. Consult Mac OS X or Windows Help for more information on how to check your network settings.

    • By default, SkyFi generates an "Ad Hoc" or point-to-point wireless network. It is not a router or wireless access point. You will not be able to connect to the internet while joined to SkyFi's Ad Hoc wireless network - only to other devices on SkyFi's network. If several devices are joined to SkyFi's network, that network will still exist even if SkyFi itself is turned off! To completely shut down SkyFi's wireless network, make sure all devices have disconnected from SkyFi's network - and wait a minute or two for your computer to "forget" the network.

    SkyFi's device information
    and default network name.

    Here, SkyFi is configured to join an existing
    Wi-Fi network named "Sandbox".

    SkyFi's TCP/IP network settings.

    Configuring SkyFi's Ad Hoc Wi-Fi Network

    We strongly recommend that you change SkyFi's wireless network name and enable WEP security before using SkyFi in the field. If you don't, other SkyFi units with the same network name may conflict with yours, and other users may be able to connect with (and control!) your hardware. You can configure SkyFi's network using a standard web browser like Safari or Internet Explorer.

    1. First join SkyFi's wireless network, as described above. Then browse to http://10.0.0.1/

    2. You should see a web page which lets you set SkyFi's device name, channel, enable WEP security, and enter a WEP key.

      • SkyFi Name - must be from 1 to 31 characters long, and contain only the digits 0 - 9, lower case letters a - z, or upper case letters A - Z. Examples: SpaceNet, ZeroG, 9Planets, M13.

         

      • WEP Key - must be either 10 or 26 characters long, and contain only the digits 0 - 9 or letters A - F. Examples: DE4DB3AF01, 4E0D966A2BC5FD5CC1507A5681.

         

      • Channel - selects the Wi-Fi channel on which you want SkyFi to broadcast. In most cases, this doesn't matter, since WiFi devices can receive signals broadcast on any channel. Most WiFi hardware is optimized around the center channel (7), so we recomend that setting. You might want to change this only if you suspect interference from other devices broadcasting nearby.

         

    3. Click the "Save Network Changes" button below the TCP/IP settings on SkyFi's web page. Wait a few seconds for SkyFi's wireless network to reset, then re-join SkyFi's new network. Browse to http://10.0.0.1/ again to confirm your new network settings.

    Configuring SkyFi to Join Existing Wi-Fi Networks

    As mentioned above, you can also configure SkyFi to join your home wireless network. With this configuration, your computer, mobile device, and telescope are all on the same Wi-Fi network - and all connected to the internet - at the same time. Note: joining SkyFi to an existing Wi-Fi network requires SkyFi firmware version 2.3 or later.

    1. First click the "Refresh Network List" button. This will make SkyFi scan for existing Wi-Fi networks, a process that takes up to 10 seconds. When SkyFi finishes scanning, it lists the available Wi-Fi networks below the Ad Hoc network option. Existing networks are displayed along with their channel (1-11), data rate (b or g, or both), security type (Open, WEP, WPA, or WPA2), and BSSID (the MAC address of the network's base station.)

    2. Select the network you wish to have SkyFi join. If the network uses WEP, WPA, or WPA2 security, enter the network's WEP key or WPA passphrase below the network list.

    3. Click the "Save Network Changes" button below the TCP/IP settings on SkyFi's web page. Wait a few seconds for SkyFi's wireless network to reset. SkyFi's status LED will turn green if it successfully joined the network you selected.

       

    If SkyFi fails to join the Wi-Fi network you selected - most likely, because you entered the wrong passphrase - then its LED will blink red five times, and SkyFi reverts to creating an Ad Hoc Wi-Fi network with the name you specified above.

    Configuring SkyFi's TCP/IP Network Settings

    Like all devices on a wireless network, SkyFi needs an IP address to communicate with other devices on that network. SkyFi has a DHCP server, and can assign IP addresses to other devices on its wireless network, such as your iPhone or Wi-Fi-enabled computer. Alternately, SkyFi can be a DHCP client, and obtain its IP address from another DHCP server on the network. You can also configure SkyFi to use a static IP address.

    Typically, SkyFi would be a DHCP server when creating its own Ad Hoc Wi-Fi network. It would be a DHCP client when joining your home network, and your home router would be the DHCP server. For this reason, SkyFi uses one TCP/IP configuration when creating its own Ad Hoc Wi-Fi network, and another TCP/IP configuration when joining an existing Wi-Fi network. For either configuration, you can set up the follow items:

    • Address: - the IP address that SkyFi assigns to itself if it is not a DHCP client. The default is 10.0.0.1.

    • Subnet: - determines the range of IP addresses that SkyFi will assign to other devices on its network (if it is a DHCP server). The default is 255.0.0.0. For example, if SkyFi's IP address is configured to be 10.0.0.1, then other devices will be assigned the IP addresses 10.0.0.2, 10.0.0.3, etc., up to 10.0.0.100. If SkyFi is a DHCP client, the DHCP server will provide the subnet to SkyFi.

    • DHCP - tells SkyFi whether to act as a DHCP server, a DHCP client, or to turn off DHCP. If you turn off DHCP, your SkyFi will use a static IP address. With an Ad Hoc Wi-Fi network, this means that other devices on SkyFi's network will have to have their IP addresses configured statically ("manually"). If SkyFi is joining an existing Wi-Fi network, you probably want to make SkyFi a DHCP client (or turn off DHCP) to avoid conflicting with another DHCP server on the network.

    When you are finished, click the "Save Network Changes" button. Wait a few seconds for SkyFi to reset. If SkyFi is a DHCP server, or has a static IP address, you can browse to http://10.0.0.1/ - or to whatever IP address you have assigned to SkyFi - to confirm your new network settings.

    Auto-Detecting SkyFi's IP Address with SkySafari

    If SkyFi is a DHCP client, you don't know its IP address, because it has been assigned by your network's DHCP server. There are two way you can find it:

    1. If you have access to your network router's administrative settings, you can look for your SkyFi's name in the router's list of attached DHCP clients. Your router should list the SkyFi's IP address along with its name. Exactly how you do this depends on what kind of home router you have; consult your home router's manual for details. At an event like the Texas Star Party, where you are not the network administrator, you have another choice:

    2. You can use SkySafari to auto-detect your SkyFi's IP address. This requires SkySafari version 3.2 or higher for iOS, and SkySafari version 1.2 or higher for Mac OS X or Android. To do this, go to SkySafari's Telescope Setup settings. Turn on the Auto-Detect SkyFi option. Then enter the name of your SkyFi unit. Make sure to enter the same name here as you entered into your SkyFi unit's configuration web page! If successful, SkySafari will display the auto-detected IP address of your SkyFi within a few seconds. Otherwise, it will display "Not Found."

    Auto-Detecting SkyFi's IP Address with
    SkySafari for Mac OS X (left) and with
    SkySafari for iPhone/iPad (above).

    All of our SkySafari apps have options which let you access SkySafari's configuration page within the app. Alternately, you can use a web browser to browse to the IP address which SkySafari has auto-detected for your SkyFi.

    SkyFi auto-detection will work with both Ad Hoc and existing Wi-Fi networks. You can leave this auto-detect setting turned on in SkySafari, and SkySafari will be able to automatically find your SkyFi's IP address no matter what wireless network configuration you are currently using. This avoids having to re-enter an IP address into SkySafari manually every time you switch network configurations.

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