In the first part of this article, I wrote about why I had a wireless network and the reasons to extend the wireless network. I also wrote about using a wireless extender, configured as an access point versus configured as a bridge. In this article, I’ll write about using a spare wireless router as another extender and why I did it.
Recently, I ran into a new problem. I bought a Flame Boss™ 200, which is basically a temperature controller for my Big Green Egg smoker. This enables extremely fine, low-temperature control of the smoker, over a short time or over many hours, without having the fire go out.
The Flame Boss has probes to measure pit temperature and meat temperature. You set a target pit temperature, which the Flame Boss will maintain by controlling a small fan that you mount to the grill’s lower vent. The unit has a power adapter. That’s the "100" version.
The "200" version, which I bought, does all this and also connects to the wireless network, through the network to the Flame Boss web server, and logs the pit temp, meat temp, and fan output percent, and graphs them over time (NEAT!).
It even allows me to use the web interface — including via my iPhone — to set or change control and alarm points, as well as see the resulting graphs of time, pit temp, meat temp, target temps, and fan output.
I planned to have the Flame Boss 200 connect to the Edimax access point. That didn’t work.
The Flame Boss 200 was a single band device and used the more common 2.4GHz wireless frequency. The Edimax access point used only the 5GHz frequency.
Further exacerbating the situation, the smoker was too far from my main wireless router to reliably connect without some kind of extension.
The fix was to resurrect my older Linksys E3000 wireless router, which had been retired when I upgraded from 802.11n capability (which is effectively 802.11b/g/n) to 802.11AC (which is 802.11b/g/n/AC).
I added the E3000 as an access point extender for my network. I was able to connect it to the switch located at my home theater PC in the den. The E3000 is a dual band router operating at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. In order to use it as a wireless extender, I’m actually using it, in effect, as a wireless switch on my same network. The two bands provided by the E3000 use different SSIDs than my main wireless network.
In addition to this being necessary for the function, it also makes sure that I know to which router I’m connecting.
The network connection to the existing network uses Ethernet cable to the previously existing switch near my home theater PC — connecting via one of the local area network (LAN) ports not the WLAN port. The important point is that I want this router and it’s wireless devices to actually be on the same network.
I don’t want the router to isolate this wireless network from the rest of my network. That means that the devices have to get their IP addresses from my main router. Part of making sure this happens is that I have to turn off the DHCP service on the E3000.
In order to do any configuration on a wireless router, at least any configuration that involves the SS ID and the password the DHCP server the MAC addresses allowed to connect, you should be connected to the router via an Ethernet cable. Although you could make the changes while connected wirelessly, when you save a change it will knock out your connection. This may require a reboot of your computer as the easiest way to reestablish the connection.
I placed the Linksys E3000 by my home theater PC, plugged it in with Ethernet from the network into a LAN port, turned off its DHCP server, and set up the MAC Address Filter table with all the MAC addresses — including that of the Flame Boss 200.
The Flame Boss is happy and connected (when in use). I was able to smoke some dinosaur ribs (beef plate ribs) using the Flame Boss to control the Big Green Egg’s temperature, and was able to monitor and control the temperatures using my web browser and my iPhone. Good eating and technology, too…
The only thing I have left to do is to unplug the old Edimax access point, as I no longer need it because of the location of the Linksys E3000.