Network setup for ESPixelStick

perigalacticon

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I am testing an ESPixelStick with xLights and FPP. There are holds and jumps during the display (just one string of 50 leds). Can you help me set up the networking definitions for the devices to get a clean show?

I'm using my home Xfinity/Comcast internet network router. I made a separate network for show data. For instance the router gateway is 10.0.0.1. I made 10.0.2.0 the subnet network for the show. I tried variations on the netmasks as well. Below are my current settings. What should I do for good results with ESPixelSticks?

FPP1Falcon Pi Player on Pi Zero #1
IP Static:10.0.2.1Connected by WIFI only
Netmask:255.255.0.0
Gateway:10.0.0.1
RouterWin10 PC
Gateway:10.0.0.1IP Static:10.0.0.10
Netmask:255.255.0.0
Gateway:10.0.0.1
ESPS1ESPixelStick #1
IP Static:10.0.2.2
Netmask:255.255.0.0
Gateway:10.0.0.1
Android Phone
IP Static:10.0.0.20
Netmask:?? Not Shown
Gateway:10.0.0.1
Android Tablet
IP Static:10.0.0.30
Netmask:?? Not Shown
Gateway:?? Not Shown
 

darylc

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I recommend against WIFI devices for running pixels personally because of these sort of issues. Wired controllers are much less likely to have "holds and jumps".

To answer your question though if you wish to persist down this road, you'd need to look at the wifi characterics further, eg singal strength, frequency used (taking account of spectrum usage by other wifi devices you or your neighbors might have).
 

franky_888

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For instance the router gateway is 10.0.0.1. I made 10.0.2.0 the subnet network for the show
You haven't created a new subnet though, all of your devices are in the same /16 subnet.

Your current configuration has all IP's from 10.0.0.0 to 10.0.255.255 in the same subnet.

Do you have a 'full-sized' pi (with an ethernet port) and a wifi dongle? This would allow you to use it either in proxy mode or routed mode, to separate your home network from your show network:

Home Network Address: 10.0.0.0
Home Network Mask: 255.255.255.0
Home Network Gateway: 10.0.0.1 (Comcast Router IP)

Show Network Address: 10.0.2.0
Show Network Mask: 255.255.255.0
Show Network Gateway 10.0.2.1 (FPP eth0 IP)

Then you would just adjust the subnet mask / ip on your ESP sticks, and set wlan0 on the FPP to obtain an address via DHCP and enable routing between interfaces (or leave this unchecked and use the newer proxy option). You would also need to add a persistent network route on your PC to be able to access the show network. Personally, I still use the route between interfaces option.

Not saying this is going to fix your problems, it will make it a little more optimal however. Personally I am having some issues with Pi Zero's and Wifi connections this year (first year with them), they are only running Tune To signs for me so they're not critical for me.
 

perigalacticon

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Troy, MI, USA
I recommend against WIFI devices for running pixels personally because of these sort of issues. Wired controllers are much less likely to have "holds and jumps".

To answer your question though if you wish to persist down this road, you'd need to look at the wifi characterics further, eg singal strength, frequency used (taking account of spectrum usage by other wifi devices you or your neighbors might have).
Well I've heard people have success with them and that motivates me, because I already have ~20 ESP8266 modules I've used for other purposes until now.
The ESPixelStick reports -68dBm / 64% signal strength. It is reporting about .6% sequence errors. Not sure why my network would be affected by the neighbors since all the traffic is internal to my router?

Similar glitches occur if I use the Display Testing options in FPP. If I do a fast effect it glitches.

2 more observations:

1. If I play a test effect from the EPS webpage menu it seems to run without glitches, for instance a very fast blink.
2. if I play my seq from xLights and output directly to the EPS by entering it's IP in Setup then there are no glitches! So it has to do with the FPP.

Maybe I'll have to invest in a 'non-Zero' RPi.
 
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perigalacticon

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You haven't created a new subnet though, all of your devices are in the same /16 subnet.

Your current configuration has all IP's from 10.0.0.0 to 10.0.255.255 in the same subnet.

Do you have a 'full-sized' pi (with an ethernet port) and a wifi dongle? This would allow you to use it either in proxy mode or routed mode, to separate your home network from your show network:

Home Network Address: 10.0.0.0
Home Network Mask: 255.255.255.0
Home Network Gateway: 10.0.0.1 (Comcast Router IP)

Show Network Address: 10.0.2.0
Show Network Mask: 255.255.255.0
Show Network Gateway 10.0.2.1 (FPP eth0 IP)

Then you would just adjust the subnet mask / ip on your ESP sticks, and set wlan0 on the FPP to obtain an address via DHCP and enable routing between interfaces (or leave this unchecked and use the newer proxy option). You would also need to add a persistent network route on your PC to be able to access the show network. Personally, I still use the route between interfaces option.

Not saying this is going to fix your problems, it will make it a little more optimal however. Personally I am having some issues with Pi Zero's and Wifi connections this year (first year with them), they are only running Tune To signs for me so they're not critical for me.
If I set the PC netmask to 255.255.255.0, I can no longer bring up the FPP or EPS webpages. How do you get around this?
 

darylc

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Not sure why my network would be affected by the neighbors since all the traffic is internal to my router?
You are all sharing the same radio frequency spectrum and it is used for more than just wifi. You should check what channels are the most used at your house and use the channel with the least usage as a starting point IMHO.
 

ICon

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I am successfully running a couple of esp modules for remote props.

To make them work properly I have a separate network. With a 255.255.255.0 mask for each the show network has its own switch (not required, but it is in a different locality to my main network switch’s) It also has it’s own wifi access point that has its own SSID on the show network (An outdoor access point cable tied to the down pipe)

Good wifi access points make a big difference too, I have been using ubiquiti gear for a few years and it runs like commercial equipment with good indication of signal strength, connection speed etc. at a more economical price. many of the telco router/wifi devices we get here seem to support 8-16 clients max and then you start seeing connection issues.

I started with the FPP rpi being the gateway between the networks, with the Ethernet connected to the show switch and the wifi taking to my home network, but have since upgraded the telco router to a unifi security gateway, which allows me to route between the networks.

multicast can also help, because unicast will wait for acknowledgement packets, but multicast will just keep sending. If you get poor response from the esp unicast finitely glitches quite badly. I have do a reasonable amount of testing. Multicast can saturate your network if not sub-netted.

Is wireless worth the effort? Not sure I can answer that, as network design is something I have been doing as part of my job. Wired is much easier, more reliable, and higher throughput.
 

perigalacticon

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Thanks for the advice, I will be picking up a std. RPi later today. I got a simple display going on my outdoor strips by adding 4 ESPS controllers, 1 per string. Here's a quick vid:
Now I have a new problem, I can't seem to get an additional ESPS to show! I added it like I added the 1st 4, but there's no output from it. The above output is from xLights not FPP BTW. I can bring up the ESPS webpage on my PC like the others and even choose a test sequence from the ESPS webpage and the test sequence plays, but not the output from xLights. Could you help me sort this out? I would like to add about 5 more ESPS to my display. Attached is my set-up tab:





View: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nObd1HSMuGKe8--8u5WwIgsq8VYn8GSx/view?usp=sharing
 

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perigalacticon

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I was finally able to add 2 more ESPSs. I think this had to do with using the Render button to get output. I think I had to render on the layout page and then render on the sequence page for some reason.
 

perigalacticon

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You haven't created a new subnet though, all of your devices are in the same /16 subnet.

Your current configuration has all IP's from 10.0.0.0 to 10.0.255.255 in the same subnet.

Do you have a 'full-sized' pi (with an ethernet port) and a wifi dongle? This would allow you to use it either in proxy mode or routed mode, to separate your home network from your show network:

Home Network Address: 10.0.0.0
Home Network Mask: 255.255.255.0
Home Network Gateway: 10.0.0.1 (Comcast Router IP)

Show Network Address: 10.0.2.0
Show Network Mask: 255.255.255.0
Show Network Gateway 10.0.2.1 (FPP eth0 IP)

Then you would just adjust the subnet mask / ip on your ESP sticks, and set wlan0 on the FPP to obtain an address via DHCP and enable routing between interfaces (or leave this unchecked and use the newer proxy option). You would also need to add a persistent network route on your PC to be able to access the show network. Personally, I still use the route between interfaces option.

Not saying this is going to fix your problems, it will make it a little more optimal however. Personally I am having some issues with Pi Zero's and Wifi connections this year (first year with them), they are only running Tune To signs for me so they're not critical for me.
franky_888

I am ready to try to set this up. I have FPP on a RPi4 now and it seems to play about the same as what the Zero was doing, it's constantly stuttering.

Questions:
1. Where do I exactly enter the network info you listed for the Home Network? Do I set this in Windows settings for the IP address in TCP/IPv4 properties? Right now the PC has IP 10.0.0.10, subnet mask: 255.255.0.0, default gateway 10.0.0.1.
2. Should I not have the Pi connected to the router by ethernet now? (It is currently set to DHCP)
3. Do I enter the Show Network info you listed into the FPP network settings? Should the FPP IP be 10.0.2.0?
4. What is the route between interfaces option? Or, how do I add a persistent network route on the PC?

Very much appreciate your help.
 

ICon

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If the only network equipment you have is the Comcast router, I suggest you don’t try to build a separate show network. As you are wifi based for the esps you need all traffic to go through the wifi router.

Attach the rpi to Ethernet, this will take some load off the wifi, as wifi an only really talk to one device at a time and if it is receiving data from the pi, it will have difficulty transmitting to the esps. (Yes i know this is not always true, but at this stage I do not know the specs of the router or the wifi standard available)

Do you have any other network gear? A switch or old router? Can you provide the model of router?
 

David_AVD

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I'm running an ESPixelStick (well, my own hardware but with that firmware loaded) for one of my props and it seems pretty reliable. Use multicast and make sure you have enough signal strength. I have a Ubiqiti Nanostation access point mounted up in the roof space and it works much better than the regular home access point I had.
 

perigalacticon

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Thanks again. I do currently have the FPP connected by ethernet to the router which is a:

Arris Model TG16826
HW ver. B
SW ver. 2.1p1s1

It stutters about the same if I use the FPP or play directly from xLights. And it gets much worse when I load web pages on the PC, so I think it's all in the networking / router setup. It has a LOT of browser tabs open usually, a LOT of YT vids using all my PC RAM so when I load a new one it takes several seconds and the show will hang for a second or two. I am open to any solution, I've read about the different setups, but they didn't address WIFI controllers. It seems to me that the best thing would be to get a 2nd router and have FPP and all the ESPSs connected to it, and somehow get the PC to connect so I can access the controllers and FPP but not send any other internet data to it. Like the "Wired with separate show Network on pg. 79 of the manual but with a router instead of a network switch? I'll pick up whatever hardware you recommend but my budget is limited.
 

ICon

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A possible solution would be to purchase a wifi access point such and a ubiquiti nanostation and get a cheap network switch.

Build a new network without internet access. - show network

Connect the fpp rpi to the switch, the nanostation to the switch - connect the ESPixelSticks to the wifi of the nanostation.

You can either connect the pc as needed to the show network, or configure the wifi of the rpi to connect to the cable router wifi (this will allow you to upload sequences to the rpi from the normal network)

If you then allowed routing on fpp you could potentially route to the other devices from you pc, but my normal approach to all this stuff, is do one step, test, refine. Don’t try to do it all at once as it is too hard to debug.
 
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