As I have been writing this blog entry on my recent purchase of the CyberQ WiFi pit controller, it has taken on a life of it’s own. There was a lot more to cover than I first imagined. In PART 1 I discussed in general terms what a pit temperature controller is and why someone might want one. PART 2 went onto discuss why I chose the specify unit I bought. PART 3 covered WiFi Networking in general and setting the CyberQ WiFi up for Adhoq Mode, which is a simpler but more limited way of using the unit with WiFi. This entry will cover the setup process for using the CyberQ WiFI in the Infrastructure Mode. This mode puts the unit on your home WiFi Network and gives you more capabilities which is the good news. The bad news is you must go under the hood of your router and change some network related settings. This really is not a task for a total beginner with no computer networking experience. PART 5 will cover the physical setup involved with installng the unit on my grill. PART 6, if I live long enough to finish writing this blog entry, will cover my initial experiences cooking with the CyberQ WiFi.
SUGGESTED READING: Before we get rolling here: If you did not read PART 3, where I cover Adhoq Mode WiFi connection, I suggest you go back and at least read the first 3 sections. They are under the topic Cyber Q WiFi Setup and are called: Big Picture - Plan of Attack, Big Picture - Why is This So Hard and Big Picture - Can I Do This Myself. Much of that information applies here.
WARNING: With Infrastructure Mode you aren’t just setting up the CyberQ, you are entering the world of computer Networking and re putting on an IT hat. The folks at the BBQ Guru Company and anyone else making a WiFi enabled pit controller must play by the rules set up in the computer and networking industries. You will be involved in going under the hood of your router and entering it’s setup page via a web browser. Then you will be involved with setting up Port Forwarding, and possibly DHCP Forwarding. I was able to do this myself, but I have done these things before. If the terms IP Address, DHCP Forwarding or Port Forwarding are Greek to you, I strongly suggest you bribe a buddy who knows about this stuff to come over and help you. Offer some future BBQ goodness or Beer or whatever works for him or her. Also be sure to have your router password and WiFi network password available no matter who does the work. My last warning is, don’t take this warning lightly. If you attempt this yourself and screw up the wrong setting you could take out your whole WiFi network in the process.
ADVANCED PREP: Before you or your designated networking geek begin, you will want to have some or all of the following items on hand:
- Router Owners Manual: This will tell you where the various settings are found. If you are thinking well my guru does this all the time, why would they need it? There are hundreds of different models out there with different names for the settings and different methods of organization. If you can’t find the paper copy of the manual, you can probably get it in PDF form on the internet.
- Router User Name & Password: To get into the setup page for your router you will need to give the User Name & Password. If you never changed this, there was a default name & password assigned to it. This is shown in the owners manual. Also there are websites that list the typical default passwords for various brands of routers. However if your router is new enough it may actually have a different and unique default name and password. I replaced my router recently and the first one was defective out of the box. The default user name and password was on a sticker on the inside of the cover of the manual. The replacement router had a sticker in the same place, but the default user name and password were different. This doesn’t surprise me because security is a much bigger concern these days. But don’t bother starting if you don’t know this user name and password.
- WiFi Network Password: Most WiFi networks are protected with a password. You will need to enter this password in the CyberQ to get it on the network. There are several different WiFi security protocols that could be in use on your network. This affects the format for the password and the WiFi security type is something that needs to be set in the CyberQ. You or your guru may need to access your WiFi network settings vi the router first, to see what type of security is in use. If you do not match these settings between the WiFi network and the CyberQ, you won’t be able to join your network. Once again you must have this password to add the CyberQ on the network.
- Additional Help: There are websites that have step by step tutorials, some with videos, for doing Port Forwarding on various routers. Google “Port Forwarding Linksys Router” or “Port Forwarding Airport Base Station” (Apple WiFi product). Having these step by step tutorials around may save you or your guru additional time because it shows the specific procedure for your product.
- Where do I Perform This Setup: I would say NOT out at the smoker, unless the weather is nice. Do it indoors where it is warm and comfy. Plus you can use any computer in the house to access the router.
- Timing is Everything: It took me about 30 minutes to do Infrastructure Mode setup. This was mostly due to the times spent having to hold down the Up or Down Arrow keys to scroll trough the upper and lower case letters, numbers & symbols one item at a time to enter my 24 digit WiFI password. Part of the procedure involves saving the network changes to your router. This often involves rebooting the router and your WiFi network. This procedure takes around 3-5 minutes during which time your WiFi network is unusable. So you might want to plan this around a time you will be home alone.
TIPS, TRICKS & GOTCHA’S:Here are some things that may help things go more smoothly as you do the set up:
- When using the arrow keys to enter your password, note the structure of the menu. The menu is a looping list of about 80 items consisting of numbers, lower and upper case letters and symbols. Learn the organization of this menu. To reach a certain character it may take you only 15 steps to reach it via the Up arrow, whereas using the Down arrow you would need to go to 65 other characters first. This process is still somewhat painful, but you can make it less painful by minimizing the amount of steps required to get to each character.
- Be very precise entering IP addresses. IP addresses are four groups of numbers between 1 and 256 separated by dots (.). Be careful not to accidentally use a comma instead of a period. Using a comma results in an invalid IP address. The two keys are right next to each other on the keyboard, so it is easy to hit the wrong one. Don't ask me how I know this.
- Things like IP addresses and port assignments must match exactly between the CyberQ and your router. Whatever you set on one must be the identical settings on the other.
- Be sure to save changes and restart your router. The router set up is typically done through a series of webpages which are organized by content. When you are done making changes on a particular page, be sure to hit the save button or you're changes will be lost. When you are done making the last changes save those changes and be sure to upload these changes to your router. Otherwise you could lose all of your settings in your router is not working with the new settings.
- Be sure to reboot the CyberQ when you were done making the networking changes to it. The CyberQ needs to reboot in order for the new changes to be in effect. Unplug it and plug it back in again.
INFRASTRUCTURE MODE - CyberQ Setup:I am NOT going to cover this in finite detail, the Manual does a decent job of this. I will hit the high points and offer some tips along the way.
Reset: If you have already used your CyberQ WiFi in the Adhoq mode you must reset it back to factory defaults. Otherwise it will try to reconnect with the device you had it paired with using Adhoq mode. You hold down the four arrow keys until you get the message: “RESETTING EPROM”. Then you can release the keys and the unit is reset back to factory defaults. I should note that with bigger fingers this is harder than it sounds and you must hold all 4 buttons down for quite a bit of time before the reset happens.
Find Your WiFi Network: Once the reset is done, you'll get a message on screen saying: “ADHOC PAIRING”. At this point you need to go into the setup menu just switch to Infrastructure Mode. You simultaneously press and hold the Up and Down arrow keys. The screen will now say “SYSTEM SETUP”. The way set up works is not unlike the menus on your computer. There is a main menu name and in a vertical column below it are the items that apply to that menu. Unlike your computer, you can only see one of these main menus at a time. You need to scroll left or right to access other main menus. To move to the “NETWORK SETUP” menu push the Right arrow once and the screen should now say “NETWORK SETUP”. Push the Down arrow to move down the menu. When you see “SCAN WIFI” push the Right arrow to enter this sub-menu. You should now see a list of all Wi-Fi menus the CyberQ can find in its current location. Use the Down arrow to scroll down until the name of your WiFi network is highlighted. To select your network press the Enter key which is round key centered between the 4 arrow keys. After selecting the network push the Left arrow key to return to the “NETWORK SETUP” menu. Tip: if you don't see your network name in the list, you may be suffering from a low signal strength outdoors. Take a look at your cell phone and see how many bars of signal you are getting on the display showing your Wi-Fi signal strength. If it is low you may have to do something to boost the signal so the CyberQ can see that network. If your phone doesn't show a signal strength go inside and check that your network is online.
Check the WiFi Security Type: There are several types of security used to protect. Wi-Fi networks. By default the CyberQ was set to WPA Auto. If your WiFi network is using WEP, WPA PASS, WPA2 PASS or OPEN (no password) you will need to enter the security menu item using the Right arrow key and then use the Down arrow key to scroll down through the various choices and select the security protocol being used on your WiFi network. If this is set incorrectly your CyberQ will most likely not be able to get on your network. The selection here also affects the length of the password can be and it types of characters that can be used for the password. The default WPA Auto is correct in the majority of cases, but your network maybe set up differently. Be sure to check and set this correctly first before you go in to try and add the Wi-Fi Network Password in the next step.
Enter the WiFi Network Password: Use the Down arrow to scroll down through the Network Setup menu until you see “SSID: xxxxx”. Your network name should be listed where I'm showing the xxxx’s. If your network name is not displayed there, you did not correctly select your Wi-Fi network in the steps above. Use the Up arrow key and go back and find and select your network name before proceeding. If your network name is correctly displayed under the menu item “SSID: xxxxx”, use the Down arrow key to find the menu item “KEY”. This is where you enter your Wi-Fi network password. Use the Right arrow to enter the “KEY” sub-menu. Enter your network password one letter or number at a time by using the Up and Down arrows to scroll through the letters numbers and symbols. Passwords are case sensitive and the menu contains both upper and lowercase letters. Once the appropriate character is displayed, use the Right arrow key to move to the next character. Once again use the Up and Down arrows to find the proper character. When the second character is entered correctly use the Right arrow to move to the next character and use the Up and Down arrows to find the proper character. The procedure is the same throughout. Use the Right arrow key to move to the right and add another character. Use the Left arrow key to move back and edit a previous character. Use the Up & Down keys to select the appropriate character. Tip: The round center Enter button is used when you are completely through entering the password and only when you are completely through. This takes you out of the editing screen and back to the KEY menu item. If you press center round Enter key before you are ready and have to reenter the Key editing area, you will be starting from scratch. The numbers you had previously entered are erased. Don't ask me how I know this. Once again only press this key when you are totally done and are ready to save the password.
Get the CyberQ’s MAC Address: The name of the setting has nothing to do with Macintosh computers. In this case MAC means Media Access Control address. Every device intended to be used on a computer network has a MAC Address hardcoded into it’s networking circuit board. Each MAC address is unique and can be used buy your router to identify and accept or reject the presence of network devices on your local network. It is a string of 6 pairs of characters separated by colons such as 03:ed:C0:1C:a4:81. You will be needing the CyberQ’s MAC Address for the next steps where you do some configuration in your router. So while you are in the NETWORK SETUP menu anyway, use the Down arrow to stroll down and find the MAC Address menu item. Press the right arrow to enter and write down EXACTLY the series of letters and numbers you see here. Be careful to distinguish between 0 and O (zero and upper case O) and the letters are case-sensitive.
Restart & Check Your Progress: The CyberQ will not use your new settings until it has been restarted. Though the round center Enter button serves as an On/Off switch if you hold it down for 2 seconds, the directions tell you to unplug the unit and plug it back in. When the Control Unit restarts after an initial message about the software version, the display should read: “INFRASTRUCTURE MODE”. Then, If you have done your job right, after 30 seconds to a minute pass the unit should display an IP address such as 192.168.1.100. The actual format of the address depends on how your Wi-Fi network is set up. Write this number down as you will need it when you go in to change settings on the router. You may also want to decide if you want to change the IP address from that shown above. The reasons you might want to do this are beyond the scope of this blog entry, but people familiar with networking may not want to use the IP Address that was assigned by the router. One reason would be not to use a known default address for this device. If so, you can go into the “NETWORK SETTINGS” menu tree as you did before and there is a place where you can assign a different IP address.
INFRASTRUCTURE MODE - Router Setup: So far the set up done on the CyberQ was not rocket science. In fact the most difficult part of the process was scrolling through the menu of all letters and numbers in the alphabet to set the Wi-Fi password. But now we are going to be jumping onto a computer and accessing the router for the network. Once again if you are unfamiliar with networking you might be smart to bring in some help from this point forward. I am not going to turn into Mr. Science here but let me throw out a few loose definitions here. We are going to be pulling around with the router to enable certain functions on the CyberQ WiFi. A router is a device that communicates between two different networks. In this case the router is handling traffic on your internal network (LAN or Local Area Network) and the Internet which is considered a Wide Area Network (WAN). IP addresses are unique addresses assigned in this case to computers on a network to help identify them so that network traffic can be routed to them correctly. Port numbers are used by networking software to help identify various processes and give them a unique port number. If you look at your computer on the network as an office building in a big office park, the IP address is like the street address and the port number is like the number of an office suite within the building.
The HTTP protocol used in your web browser is typically assigned a Port Number of 80. Normally it is a one-way communication where your web browser is sending outbound traffic on Port 80 to a Web server. Unless you are running a Web server yourself there would not be any incoming traffic on Port 80 on a typical home network. As a result Port 80 is often blocked by the firewalls on home routers. The CyberQ creates a webpage where you are able to monitor and change settings on the CyberQ. This means the CyberQ needs to be able to receive incoming HTTP traffic on Port 80. Routers typically have a feature called Port Forwarding. This is where you tell the router to direct any traffic coming in on Port X to IP Address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. This also means that the IP address you use for the CyberQ should not change over time. If you are forwarding HTTP requests to Port 80 to a specific IP address and the IP address changes, nothing will work. Now why would this address change? Routers can use either fixed IP addresses that never change or and address can be assigned on-the-fly, when requested, using a protocol called DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol). What this means is every device joining the network gets assigned a valid IP address at the time it joins. Over time the odds are pretty high that eventually the CyberQ will be assigned a different IP address. There are two different ways to handle this. You can assign a fixed IP address to any device on the network or you can use DHCP and tell the router to reserve and assign a specific IP address for a given device. This was the method I chose and it is called DHCP Reservation. To do, this the router uses the MAC Address of the CyberQ. When it sees that particular MAC address, it assigns the predetermined IP address to it on-the-fly.
Accessing the Router: This is typically done by launching a web browser on a computer on the same WiFi network (LAN) and typing in the the IP Address of the router. It is typically something like 192.168.1.1 where 192.168.1.xxx is the LAN’s IP. The last digit of the last group of four numbers is typically 1 for the router. Once you enter the routers’s IP address, you are prompted for the user name and password. After this, your are brought to a web page with tabs representing the various categories of settings relevant to your network. Once again let me stress how important it can be to have a hard copy or PDF of the manual for your router, or a third party video or tutorial for the tasks you need to do. I ended up getting a new Linksys router to replace my old Linksys router which unfortunately died during my second use of the CyberQ. I knew the name of the settings I wanted to access, but the router setup software had been reorganized and many of the settings had been moved and in one case renamed. So having something to tell you where to look will save time.
DHCP Reservation: I started here first to make sure the CyberQ got the same IP address every time it connected to my Wi-Fi network. This is important because the next step, setting up Port Forwarding sends information on a given Port to a given computer. The IP address is what is used to identify which computer on the network has had that port opened. On my new Linksys router the DHCP reservations are edited by clicking on the Connectivity Setting button and then within the Connectivity Settings using the Local Network tab. There is a button called DHCP reservations you click to bring up the editing screen. You can either pick a device on the list of existing devices on network, or manually add the device which is what I did. You name the device, add the IP address you wish to use and add the MAC address from the CyberQ. This IP address must exactly match the IP address this is set on the CyberQ.
Port Forwarding: To work properly the CyberQ WiFi must be allowed to accept HTTP requests on Port 80. Most home routers block this port because unless you are running your own web server, there would be no reason to have HTTP requests coming in the typical LAN. On my new Linksys router you enabled port forwarding by using the Security button. On the Security Settings page you go to the tab called Apps and Gaming. I never would have looked for that setting there, but the manual told me where to go. Once you are in the Apps and Gaming settings page there is a button to “Add a New Single Port Forwarding”. After clicking this button you fill in the various line items. You supply the application name, this can be called anything you want. I used “CyberQ WiFi” but this is just so you can tell the use for which you are forwarding that port. You put the Internal and External port numbers here. For the CyberQ, unless you have changed this on the CyberQ in the Network Settings menu, this port be set to 80 for both line items. This is the default Port Number setting for HTTP protocol requests. You can change the internal Port Assignment to something else on the CyberQ if you don’t want to use the default port 80 for security reasons. You might not want people to just know where HTTP requests go on your network. If you want to change the internal port settings you must use the same settings here in the Internal Port setting and on the CyberQ. The External Port Setting remains set to 80. After setting the port assignments, you set the protocol for TCP. Next you set the IP address to forward the Port 80 requests to. The IP address assigned to the CyberQ goes here. Lastly you set “Enabled” to “True”. You click the “Apply” button to save the changes you have made. The changes will be uploaded to the router which will be restarted after the changes are received. Be sure to remember to do this or all your changes will be lost if you exit the router’s web interface.
Test for Success - LAN: After updating the setting and rebooting the router, unplug the CyberQ and Plug it Back in. This will restart the unit. After a startup message comes on listing the software version, your will see two lines on the screen. The upper line will read “IP ADDRESS INFR” and the second line initially will read “CONNECTING…”. If your settings are correct within a minute or so the “CONNECTING…” will change to the IP address the CyberQ is using on your LAN. After displaying the IP address briefly the screen will change into the setup mode for cooking with the Cyber Q. If your settings are correct, the IP address displayed should match the IP address you set in the CyberQ and the IP address you set in the router for DHCP reservations and Port Forwarding. The other way you will know you have an active internet connection is the 4 arrow keys and the round center Enter key, which are all back lit in blue, will blink every few seconds while the CyberQ is connected to your WiFi network.
Troubleshooting: If you aren’t able to get on your LAN, first check to see if you are getting a WiFi signal for your network. Use another WiFi device to check to see if your WiFI network is really online and available. If you are out near your smoker, do the same check for a signal. You may have a very weak or no signal at all by your smoker. You may need to takes steps to boost the signal out in your backyard. If you are getting a strong signal be sure you restarted both the CyberQ and Router after changing the settings. Lastly go back through and check your settings. Be sure the type of security you are using (as shown in your router’s settings) matches the type of security you have set in the CyberQ. If these don’t match, the CyberQ will not be able to access your WiFi network. I can tell you from first hand experience, if you get all of your settings correct and your settings match between the two devices, it will work.
ACCESSING THE CYBERQ ON YOUR NETWORK: Local Area Network (LAN): To access the CyberQ’s Webrowser-based interface via your smartphone, tablet or computer on your LAN, simply launch a web browser and type the IP Address of the CyberQ into the search bar. If you have done your job right, this should bring up the CyberQ’s web based interface. There are 5 different settings screens you can access. The Main Screen shows the settings for the 3 Food Temperate Probes, the Pit Temperature Probe, the Countdown Timer and the amount of time the fan has been running as a percentage of the total time. The System Setup page lets you change the settings for the CyberQ itself including Backlighting, Screen Contrast, how the Alarms behave etc. The third screen is called the Control Setup screen. This is where you can change alarm behavior, temperature deviation required for the alarm to sound, and activate some of the settings such as Open Lid Detect, Ramp, Cook Hold etc. The fourth screen is the WiFi Setup screen which contains the settings we used to get the CyberQ onto the WiFi network. The fifth and final screen contains settings to enable email or text message alerts. I haven’t gone here yet. I was rather pleased I was able to get this up and running the first time out, so I haven’t played with email alerts yet.
Wide Area Network (WAN): To me one of the coolest things about the WiFI connectivity via Infrastructure Mode is you can set the CyberQ WiFI so you can also access the CyberQ from any location that has WiFi connectivity. You can also access the CyberQ via any computer connected to the Internet via a wired ethernet cable. This means you can be away from your house, say running some errands, and monitor the cook and if necessary change settings on the CyberQ. You are not on a leash attached to your smoker. Assuming your CyberQ is able to access your LAN and sees the web interface of the CyberQ, one additional step is required to give you accessibility over the internet. When accessing the device via the LAN, you use the CyberQ’s LAN address…192.168.1.xyz. This is how devices on your local network access it. Your ISP assigns you an address which is how computers on the Internet see your home network. This is the WAN address. Your router handles the transfer of information between your WAN address and your LAN address. This is why we reconfigured some setting on the router.
Your Public (WAN) IP address can be found by looking in your router’s setup screen (first & second) or using a service like www.whatismyip.com (third).
To access the CyberQ via the internet you need to know the WAN address. Figuring out the WAN address is actually easy. One way is to enter your router’s setup screen as you did earlier. The WAN address will be listed in one of the settings screens so your router. There is a quicker easier way: Using a device on your local network you can launch a web browser and type “whatismyipaddress.com” into the search field. This will take you to a web page showing your WAN (also known as Public) IP address. When you are away from home, launch a browser and enter this IP address into the search field. Your Port Forwarding rule should direct this request to the CyberQ. You should see the same screens in your web browser as you did when you accessed it over your LAN.
- To test this out before leaving home, use a smartphone or a tablet that has cellular data capabilities. Turn off WiFi. You will now be using your cellular network which is a different network and not your internal WiFi network. Enter the WAN address into your web browser and you should see the setup screens for the CyberQ.
- You should get in the habit of checking your WAN address before you go out every time you are going to need to access theCyberQ over the internet. You must be on your WiFi network to get the WAN address. You can not get your WAN address from any other location. While this address may remain constant for quite some time, it is not fixed. Your WAN IP address can be reset by your ISP at any time. So get in the habit of checking it every time you will need it.
Infrastructure Mode - Pro’s: There are advantages and disadvantages to both networking setups. Here is what I have learned so far:
- You can access the CyberQ with more than one WiFi device at a time.
- You are not limited to the range between the CyberQ and the device connected to it. You can access the CyberQ from anywhere on your WiFi network.
- You retain full data and email access while connected to the CyberQ (unlike Adhoq mode).
- You are not limited to devices that support the Adhoc pairing mode. Any device that can get on your WiFi network can be used with the CyberQ.
- You can access your CyberQ WiFi from outside your LAN anywhere you have Internet connectivity. You can monitor your cook as well as change settings.
- With Adhoc Pairing the range is limited to the range of the CyberQ’s WiFi signal and whether the second device can see this signal or not. With Infrastructure Mode you have options such as range extenders you can use to boost the available signal strength.
Infrastructure Mode - Con’s:
- The BIG disadvantage is the setup is more difficult. There are additional settings to be edited on the CyberQ and you must reconfigure settings on the router for your network.
- People new to networking setup should probably not attempt this by themselves.
- Instead bribe a friend who is a networking geek to come over and help.
- While doing the setup you will need to reboot your router. This takes 3-5 minutes, during which time your network is offline.
- If you screw up a setting in your router, you could take down your entire network indefinitely.
To my great surprise, it has taken 4 parts before we are even ready to discuss attaching the CyberQ WiFi to the smoker. In PART 5 we will talk about attaching the unit to the smoker. PART 6 will discuss my first impressions using a pit controller in general and the CyberQ WiFi specifically.
RELATED LINKS:Here are links for all of the entries in this series about the CyberQ WiFi, called: ”Everything is Under Control” Additionally I will include any other related links for items mentioned in this specific entry (if any).
CYBERQ WIFI BLOG SERIES: EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 1 What is a Pit Controller & why would someone want one?
EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 2 Why did I choose to but the BBQ Guru CyberQ WiFi?
EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 3 WiFi Networking overview and setting up an Adhoc WiFi connection on the CyberQ WiFi.
EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 4 Setting up an Infrastructure mode WiFi Network Connection. More difficult but more capabilities.
EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 5 Attaching the CyberQ to a grill/smoker.
EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL - Part 6 First impressions after several cooks.
CYBERCOOK: CYBERCOOK - CYBERQ WiFi SOFTWARE iOS Software that enhances your use of the CyberQ. It makes it faster and easier to use & adds capabilities such as Logging/Graphing your cooks.
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