RedEye Remote Access

Beginning with v1.2.0 of the RedEye application, you can specify a RedEye unit by IP address. This makes it possible to remotely access your RedEye unit(s) — and therefore your home theater or other devices — while you are away from home. Here’s how to make it work.

Step 1: Assign a Static IP Address to RedEye

If you are going to connect to RedEye by IP address it is important to make sure that IP address does not change. In most home networks a router acts as a DHCP server and assigns IP addresses as needed, which means those IP addresses can change from time to time. While you can set your RedEye device to self-assign a static IP address, usually the best way to reserve a static IP address is through the DHCP server.

Each router and DHCP server will have a slightly different way of assigning static IP addresses, but basically what you need is the MAC address for your RedEye — conveniently printed on the label on the unit’s underside. (NOTE: all RedEye MAC addresses begin with 00:23:87, so you may be able to locate the MAC address through your DHCP server, as well.) The following screenshot shows how to reserve a static IP address on an Apple Airport using the Airport Utility:

Step 2: Decide How You Will Connect

The next step is to decide how you will connect to the RedEye on your home network while you are away. The best method by far is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN is just like being on your home network, except that you are connecting remotely either over the cell network or through another Wi-Fi network. Thus, a VPN will allow you to connect to more than one RedEye device remotely, and it also keeps your RedEye units safely hidden behind your firewall so outsiders cannot jump in and change the channel on you (gulp).

Unfortunately, most home routers do not offer VPN functionality, so you may have to go with the backup option: port forwarding. Port forwarding basically creates a mapping between devices inside your network and certain ports on your router. There are a couple of downsides to this approach. First, the RedEye application only knows to communicate over certain specific ports, so you will only be able to port forward a single RedEye device at one time. Second, one of the ports which the RedEye app uses is port 80, so if you are already hosting a web page through your router you will have to choose another port for your web server or abandon remote access (or your webpage). Finally, port forwarding opens up a security hole in your network so that anyone who discovers that you have a RedEye mapped on the router could control your equipment remotely. Despite these drawbacks, virtually all home routers on the market offer basic port forwarding as an option.

Step 3, Option 1: VPN

You will need to consult your router’s documentation as to setting up a VPN, but once you have done so, you can access the VPN settings on your iPhone by going to the Settings app and then tapping on General > Network > VPN. From there, input your VPN credentials and you should be ready to go. Skip to step 4 to find out how to add RedEye devices by IP address.

Step 3, Option 2: Port Forwarding

Configuring port forwarding is relatively easy. First, you need to know the IP address of the device inside your network that will connect to the outside world. We took care of this in step 1 when we assigned a static IP to the RedEye device. Second, you need to know which ports on that device will respond to outside requests. In the case of the RedEye unit, those ports are 80, 81, and 82. Finally, you need to decide which ports on your router to use for those ports on your device, and what type of connection (TCP or UDP) to allow. The RedEye app has decided that for you already: TCP connections on ports 80, 81, and 82. Enter this information into your router configuration and hit save. Apple’s Airport Utility configuration page appears below for illustration. When you are done, move on to step 4 to finish the process.

Step 4: Add Your IP Room

The last step in the process is to add your RedEye unit as an “IP Room” — that is a room at a fixed IP address to which the RedEye app will try to connect each time on launch. To add an IP room, first open the Setup tab and then select the “Find Rooms by IP Address” row and tap “Add Room.”

The first part of adding your RedEye IP room is simple — just enter the serial number printed on the bottom of your RedEye unit.

What you enter for the IP address depends on which form of remote access you have. If you are using a VPN, then you can enter the static IP address assigned in step one. (You can also repeat this step for each RedEye room you need to add.) If you are using port forwarding, then the IP address is the IP address which your Internet service provider has assigned to your router, as this is the device that we need to find on the wide area network. (Your router will take care of “forwarding” your requests on to the RedEye unit yourself – we took care of that in step 3).

Once you have entered the IP address, tap Save and then Exit Setup to finish.

If this all seems like a little too much, never fear — we do hope to tackle remote access in a more user-friendly manner down the road. But for those who can’t wait for that to happen, in the meantime you have a couple of options.