Only dealers can change Lutron RA2 IP address - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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The IP address of the RA2 unit can only be changed using the dealer software. This software is not available to end-users.

Suppose I change my router to a different model that uses the subnet 204.153.49.X instead of 192.168.1.X (this actually happened last month, and then I had to change the static IPs assigned to my network security cameras).

Or if I change ISP providers and the static DNS1 and DNS2 settings change...

With the RA2 I'd be hosed. I would not be able to update the static IP on the RA2 until I call the dealer and arrange an appointment for them to come out with their laptop. The system would stop working across the network in the meantime.

Am I the only one who thinks this is ridiculous that Lutron doesn't trust the end user to make basic setting changes? Even my DirecTV unit lets me change the assigned IP address.

I am changing my mind back and forth about ripping the unit out of the attic because of the dealer-locked/proprietary nature of the system, vs. keeping it because of the nice design.
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post #2 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 06:19 PM
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1. Any decent "router" is going to allow setting the LAN subnet(s).

2. 204.153.49.x is not even a valid private subnet range

3. Can the Lutron device be set to be a DHCP client?

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #3 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Lutron tech support told me it cannot be set to DHCP when using the iPhone/iPad apps, it has to be a fixed IP.

Different routers can indeed have completely different subnet ranges:

http://www.net.princeton.edu/iprouters.html

It already happened to me where I changed the router model and I had to update all of my securiy camera static IPs to fit within the new subnet range.
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post #4 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 06:55 PM
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You can use DHCP and still have a "static" IP for any device on the LAN - using DHCP reservations.

If you had a working network using 192.168.1.x why would you want to change it?

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #5 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

You can use DHCP and still have a "static" IP for any device on the LAN - using DHCP reservations.

If you had a working network using 192.168.1.x why would you want to change it?

I understand I can make static DHCP reservations, but if I get a different model router that does not use the 192.168.1.X subnet range then RA2 will stop working until the dealer comes out.

This already happened to me with the security cameras, but Panasonic trusts the end-user enough to update the IP address of the device (and DirecTV and virtually every other Internet enabled consumer device lets the user change the network configuration). Lutron took this "closed system" idea a bit too far IMHO.
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post #6 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 07:12 PM
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But you can set the "router" to whatever subnet you want.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #7 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Even if I can change the router subnet, it is annoying that the Lutron device "controls" the configuration of my home network based on the static DHCP reservation choice during initial installation. I've had to change static DHCP reservations before to re-organize my numbering schemes as I started adding a lot of devices that needed these static IPs with port forwarding. It seems odd to me that the Lutron RA2 sets my home network in stone. Lutron has taken this lockdown too far.
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post #8 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 07:55 PM
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If the Lutron device can be set as DHCP client then YOU have total control over the assigned IP address.

Numbering schemes SEEM like a good idea at first but the don't really change the function of the network.

A typical subnet of 192.168.x.x provides 254 addresses. If you set aside 200-254 for your dynamic pool then you can just start assigning you "static" IPs starting with 2, leaving 1 for your gateway (router).

Yes it seems "messy" but it really doesn't matter what the assigned IP address - you just need to know what device is at what address.

Numbering schemes can work if you have a fairly stable system and you allow large enough "chunks" of address for each device "group" - however you have decided to group your devices.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #9 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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fcwilt I see what you're saying, but Lutron told me themselves... that it must have a static assigned IP for the iPhone/iPad app to work. If the IP is assigned by DHCP that's why I get the error downloading configuration data when the app starts.
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post #10 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 08:16 PM
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Because the iPhone app needs to know what address to connect to. An IP address handed out using DHCP reservations IS a static IP address.

If you DONT use a reservation then the IP address handed out by the DHCP server can (and will likely) change over time - but the iPhone app won't know this - which is why you use a DHCP RESERVATION which yields an fixed, unchanging (static) IP address.

The DHCP server will hand out the fixed, unchanging IP address YOU select to the Lutron device EVERY time the Lutron IP address is updated. You can then use this same IP address to configure the iPhone app and all will be well.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #11 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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We're talking in circles because I understand all of these networking principles including static IP assignment outside the DHCP range, DHCP reservations, port forwarding etc. --- but the following issues remain:

1. The iPhone app fails downloading configuration and Lutron tech support tells me this is because the programming must be set to use a static IP inside the Lutron device. Logically it doesn't make sense why it wouldn't also work with DHCP inside my own network, but that's the way it is. That's the way it is designed, feature or bug.

2. Lutron locks down the settings so they're accessible to dealers only, so I am frustrated I can't try out the static IP setting until I wait for the dealer to come back.

3. I have to be careful making changes to my home network since I can't change the Lutron static IP settings myself.

4. All my other devices -- DirecTV, web-enabled dishwasher, etc. etc. let me change its static IP setting, those companies trust the user to touch basic settings.
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post #12 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 09:01 PM
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The only way a DCHP reservation would NOT work is if Lutron designed it that way.

When the iPhone app first connects to the Lutron device using the "static" IP address it has no way of knowing that you used a DHCP reservation. Once the iPhone app connected the Lutron device COULD (for who knows what reason) tell the iPhone app "hey I was setup using DHCP so I'm not going to talk to you". There is no technical reason to do that but perhaps Lutron just wants to be difficult.

If the Lutron device is currently setup with a static IP address by the Lutron tech how are you changing it to use a DCHP reservation?

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #13 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, that's what it sounds like - Lutron designed it that way so that the iPhone app will refuse to work if the installer does not use a static IP. It makes sense because dynamic DNS (dyndns.org, no-ip.com) and port forwarding etc will only work with static IPs. This is necessary to access a home network device from some other external network. I use static IPs by assigning an IP in the router that is below the DHCP range (<100).

My installer did not set up a static IP - he left it at the dynamic IP setting. My whole issue is that Lutron wont let me update this network setting. I know how to fix it but the device is locked so only dealers can touch it.
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post #14 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 10:42 PM
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Lutron may have done something funny.

But DHCP Reservations are equivalent to static IPs. Dynamic DNS and port forwarding work fine with them. EVERY "static" IP address on my home network is handed out using DHCP Reservations.

Are you sure that you have setup the DHCP Reservation for the Lutron device correctly? You have verified that the IP address of the Lutron device is in fact the reserved IP address you specified in the reservation? After you setup the reservation did you re-boot the Lutron device to be sure the Lutron device received the reserved IP address?

This is very strange - I just cannot imagine why Lutron would prevent one of their devices from working with a DHCP reservation - there is simply no reason that I am aware of - and I've been doing network admin for 35+ years.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #15 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Yep, I gave Lutron's dynamic IP (192.168.1.101) a DHCP reservation, a static lease associated with it's MAC address in the router settings. I power cycled the RA2 main repeater. Same error message.

If the tech support guy is correct - I can understand why Lutron would design it so that the device requires a fixed IP address entered into the settings. That's the only way the Lutron can guarantee the foundation is in place for the iPhone/iPad app to work on external networks. Perhaps it would be more complicated for the device to detect whether it has a DHCP reservation or not. A static IP number entered into the setup GUI is easier to verify.

Ok so that part makes sense. But what doesn't make sense is that Lutron doesn't let their users change the network configuration settings.
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post #16 of 69 Old 05-12-2012, 11:54 PM
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It seems strange that they would actually introduce this bug as a feature. Harder to believe since you can actually type the IP of the system into the app. I'd like to see a tcpdump capture where the repeater says to the app sorry my IP is not static so I'm not going to work with you.
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post #17 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 07:35 AM
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the reason they want a static address is because every time you change the
firmware in the master repeater (which changes with each version of software)
after the boot code is loaded and the repeater reboots, it needs to come back
to the same ip address so that it can load the rest of the code. Otherwise
the master repeater ends up bricked, which happened in early versions of the
code (<=4.0.x)
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post #18 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post

the reason they want a static address is because every time you change the
firmware in the master repeater (which changes with each version of software)
after the boot code is loaded and the repeater reboots, it needs to come back
to the same ip address so that it can load the rest of the code. Otherwise
the master repeater ends up bricked, which happened in early versions of the
code (<=4.0.x)

That's not a very good reason to require a static IP address since a DHCP reservation would also insure a fixed IP address.

More over if the repeater is itself loading code from some remote location why would a fixed IP address be required for the repeater?

I have a number of devices on my network which update themselves and they have dynamic IP addresses - so "self-updating", in and of itself, does not require a fixed IP address.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #19 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDBear View Post

A static IP number entered into the setup GUI is easier to verify.

Yes that is most certainly true - it does make verification simple.

However designing a system where you REQUIRE a static IP address (as opposed to simply a fixed IP address) - well that just strikes me as poor design - there are other, better, solutions.

And to top it off, having insisted on a static IP address, they then don't allow the "network admin" to control the IP address of the device on his own network - that is just wrong.

So far we have yet to see a truly valid reason (that is to say there was no alternative) for what they have seem to have done.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #20 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

And to top it off, having insisted on a static IP address, they then don't allow the "network admin" to control the IP address of the device on his own network - that is just wrong.

I agree. There seems to be a business/design philosophy at Lutron that this sort of thing is OK, just like only dealers are allowed to add devices or program the system.

Do I really want to add 20 more devices to my home only to be locked out of the system when I really want to tweak a minor advanced setting on a weekend? Lutron doesn't even let me change the IP address. This is why I am trying to decide if I should cancel this Lutron install job that I have in progress at my home.
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post #21 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 11:54 AM
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Can we take a short side trip? What exactly does this Lutron device do? Is that part of some home automation system? There may be more user friendly alternatives.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #22 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Can we take a short side trip? What exactly does this Lutron device do? Is that part of some home automation system? There may be more user friendly alternatives.

the device is a repeater that stores Lutron Radio RA2 RF codes that communicates with dimmers and switches throughout the home: there is a main repeater and several other repeaters can be added for other functions and to increase range: they are controlled by IP

the Lutron software is proprietary

there are lots of devices that do not have DHCP and must be set up with a static IP: and lots of control programs that are dealer proprietary: they do not allow access to such settings

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post #23 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 12:22 PM
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Was there perhaps an error in communication with TS?

Perhaps they're referring to a 'static' external ip address, one facing the WAN, a problem solved with a dynamic DNS provider?

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #24 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Was there perhaps an error in communication with TS?

Perhaps they're referring to a 'static' external ip address, one facing the WAN, a problem solved with a dynamic DNS provider?

I asked this exact question to the Lutron tech support guy, and he said in his authoritative expert-sounding voice, "This error occurs because it HAS to be a static IP in the programming settings."

If he is wrong, then I suppose it could be a communication error.
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post #25 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for the info regards what the device does!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

there are lots of devices that do not have DHCP and must be set up with a static IP: and lots of control programs that are dealer proprietary

I am aware of this. My position is that when a device such as this needs to use a SHARED resource, such as the home network, the needs of the network should come first. Allowing the network admin to set the IP address of the device (and nothing else that was proprietary in nature) would be very simple.

I have hardware in my home that has this same issue. The full configuration software is for the dealer BUT there is a tiny utility available to all that does nothing but allow setting the IP addresses of the various system devices.

Also (though I am repeating myself) there is no reason to not allow for the equivalent of "static" IP addresses via the common and well understood use of reservations. Given the use of a processor in just about every piece of electronics these days adding support for being a DHCP client would be simplicity itself - the required code is actually quite trivial - compared to what even low-end embedded processors are capable of.

And yet I know that companies can do what they like and usually do - even when there is no valid reason.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #26 of 69 Old 05-13-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDBear View Post

Do I really want to add 20 more devices to my home only to be locked out of the system when I really want to tweak a minor advanced setting on a weekend? Lutron doesn't even let me change the IP address. This is why I am trying to decide if I should cancel this Lutron install job that I have in progress at my home.

I avoid systems like this simply because I do NOT want to be at the mercy of the installer.

I went with the UPB lighting system - even though I am not the biggest fan of PLC based technology. It does, in fact, work much better than I thought possible. And the configuration tool is robust and available to all.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #27 of 69 Old 05-15-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Dealer came by. After changing to static, still the same error. Lutron tech support even told us to change the iPhone's WiFi to a static address after that didn't work. So the techs at Lutron apparently think static IP is the preferred fix for this sort of error. We didn't get anywhere with Lutron tech support so now we think it's a defective unit unrelated to the static talk from Lutron techies.
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post #28 of 69 Old 05-15-2012, 05:34 PM
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Post your problem at the RA2 forum.

http://ra-volution.proboards.com/index.cgi

I doubt it's a defective unit.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #29 of 69 Old 05-15-2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDBear View Post

...so now we think it's a defective unit unrelated to the static talk from Lutron techies.

Please keep us informed.

I will be interested to see if Lutron DID IN FACT prohibit the use of anything but a static IP address despite the lack of a TECHNICAL reason to do do.

The sad fact is that, in many companies, the tech support folks are not that well educated when it comes to the products AND the underlying technology.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #30 of 69 Old 05-15-2012, 06:23 PM
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In my experience, few AV companies really understand networking, I'm guessing it is similar with lighting control companies. I know of one device where you can set the IP address, but the subnet is set at /24 with no way to change it at all. Madness....
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