Google Wifi hack: Connecting to old static IPs
Are you setting up a new Wifi router and have a bunch of devices with static IPs? When converting to the Gogle Wifi router, I discovered a cool hack to get to your devices with their old IP addresses even though the router is using a new subnet or IP range.
The Google Wifi is a cool way to blanket your home with wifi. Place multiple nodes around your home and the create a mesh network among the nodes. Each node has multiple ethernet jacks. Only the primary node needs to be plugged into your router. On the secondary nodes, the ethernet jacks allow you to connect ethernet devices to the network directly. Essentially the nodes act as if they are wired. You can plug a printer or camera or desktop computer into the nodes. One drawback to the Google Wifi is that you can’t connect them using a wired network. This is contrast to the competing eero system which allows the nodes to be connected via a wired network as well as using the mesh network.
What about those static IPs?
One of the challenges to using the Google Wifi is you need to convert all of your devices to the new network. In my case I was using the private subnet 10.1.1.x. If you’re using DCHP this isn’t a big deal, but in my case I had a bunch of cameras with fixed IP addreses like 10.1.1.60 so I could connect to them directly and also setup port forwarding for external access. My main reason for doing this was so I could easily connect to the cameras directly. If you use DHCP, the IP addresses of the cameras will change over time and if you want to connect to them, you need to rediscover the camera’s IP address, which can be a pain.
However, with the Google Wifi, finding the IP addresses of devices on the network is now very easy. The accompaning Google Wifi app will let you see all the devices connected to your network. You can give them nicknames, and so you can easily find the device when the IP address changes.
For most devices the switchover is easy, once the Google Wifi is up with the same SSID and password as your old network, the cameras will switch over. However, if a camera is setup using a fixed (static) IP address, you’re stuck. You can do a factory reset on the camera and set it up on the new subnet, but you’ll have to change all the settings again to get it back into the state it was in before. For instance if you use Sensr.net, you’ll have to reconfigure the FTP uploading, which is a hassle. You can connect to the camera directly using ethernet and reset the IP address or change it to DHCP, but if the camera is already using a static IP, I thought there would be no way to get to it with the new Google Wifi router, but I was wrong.
Let’s say you have a camera with a fixed IP but you’ve switched over to Google Wifi. Now you can’t get to the device since it’s using a different IP range, say 10.1.1.x. There is a way to connect directly to the camera even if it’s using a different IP range than what is being used on the wifi.
The camera is the router
The trick that worked for me was to use the IP address of the camera as the router address for my laptop. In my case I was able to connect to my camera over the Google WIFI network even though the old camera didn’t have an IP address on the Google Wifi subnet. My old network had the router IP of 10.1.1.1 and my camera had the IP of 10.1.1.244. I could connect to 10.1.1.244 by setting the IP address of my laptop manually to 10.1.1.48 (48 is just random here, anything but 244 would work I think) and then setting the router IP on my laptop to 10.1.1.244. Since 10.1.1.244 is the IP of the camera my laptop was sending packets to the camera directly. This seems like a neat trick that could save you a lot of hassle. In my case, cameras were mounted up high and I would need to get out a ladder to reach them.
Once I connected to the IP camera on 10.1.1.244 I then changed it’s network settings to use dhcp and now I can connect to it directly without having to mess with changing my IP. Now everything is happy and running on the new Google Wifi network.
I haven’t tried this with other wifi routers, but I’m guessing it would work.
Try Sensr.net for free
If you do have an IP camera and want to record it in the cloud, give Sensr.net a try. We work with most off the shelf cameras. As long as your camera can FTP JPEGs (and most can) then you can use our service.