Plug and play embedded web server

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I'm helping with an embedded device with a web server.  The device will
be a commercial/consumer item, and that has me concerned, so I would
appreciate comments from those of you that have done this.

As you know, the ip address has to be set first (along with subnet &
gateway).  Most consumers expect to plug a cat. 5 cable into a computer
or hub and immediately point the browser to the device and use it.
Well, tcp/ip doesn't work like that, even if dhcp is used.  So the trend
I'm seeing is for a setup program to find the device and allow device
configuration through it.  Kind of defeats the purpose of the web
server, and requires a program for Win, Mac, Linux, etc.  Is there an
easier way?

I don't want to see the product offered with dip switches (disaster) or
a serial port (too much bother).

One other issue I'm concerned about is getting back to the default
factory settings.  Most devices offer the ability to go back to the
defaults, but what happens if that page is p/w protected and the
customer forgets the p/w (seen this problem with bios settings)?  I
don't want to see the customer open the box, but it may not want to
provide an easy to use reset button due to security concerns.  Any
suggestions?

Thanks,
Dave


Re: Plug and play embedded web server
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I'm not sure the IP issue is avoidable. You at least need to be on the same
subnet (hopefully an RFC 1918 subnet, i.e. 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x) for the
device to be routable at all, whether manually or via a setup program. Your
customer may be using a different subnet to the default. And a DHCP approach
would have to co-exist with any other DHCP controllers already present.

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The usual strategy is "hold a button down for 5s at power-up".
Alternatively, a "secret" key combination might do. You could maybe also
offer telnet/ssh access with a "factory" password. However any security
system that persists through customer customisation will be, by definition,
poor security.

HTH, and suspect it doesn't ;(.

Steve
http://www.fivetrees.com



Re: Plug and play embedded web server

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What's wrong with using a configuration program?

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Again the configuration program.



Re: Plug and play embedded web server

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How about:

<http://www.zeroconf.org

Combined with the Rendezvous plugin for IE.

Robert Swindells


Re: Plug and play embedded web server
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Axis makes a device that might be used this way.  See

http://developer.axis.com/products/index.html

I have an Axis 83 device here on my desk and it's been quite reliable.

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For the Axis device, all settings are done via web browser.  I have used
Opera, Netscape and Lynx on Linux and Internet Explorer under Windows to
access the configuration and had no problems under any of those.

Ed


Re: Plug and play embedded web server
Thanks to all of you for some very good ideas.  It is appreciated.

Some have asked why not just go ahead and write the setup program.  The
answer is that I don't think writing the program is the hard part.  It
is supporting all of the platforms that will be costly.  No one has any
current Mac, Sun, HP-UX experience.

Dave,

Dave Boland wrote:
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Re: Plug and play embedded web server
You can setup the IP address using broadcast UDP connection: open an
UDP socket on the webserver, and run a Java applet on computer which
will connect to the UDP port using broadcast address. As long as they
are in the same LAN they can be connected together. The Java applet
should be designed to have a GUI which will let you change IP address,
mask or whatever you want.

Adrian

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