Many laser engravers have an ethernet port but do not have embedded wireless networking capability. This seems to be a stumbling block for many folks who want to be able to connect their lasers via wi-fi. This article will explore this topic and provide an easy, cost effective solution that will work for any ethernet capable controller.
We are focusing specifically on Ruida DSP’s and LightBurn software but the principle is basic IT and can be applied to other DSP’s (or any other wired ethernet device for that matter) and applications that support TCP/IP.
For a quick refresher on networking go over our Basic Networking Guide before continuing.
Ruida has a Wi-Fi solution available but is rather expensive and there is no magic pixie dust inside. It’s a white labeled TP Link wireless gaming adapter. You can find the pdf documentation on this device here: Ruida RDC644XG User Manual (62 downloads)
We will be doing exactly the same thing except with an off-the-shelf network appliance that costs less than $30 and is 3 devices in 1: A standard wireless router, a dedicated access point, and a wireless bridge/extender. The last function is the one we will focus on.
This device is the Asus RT-N12 D1 (N300). I have sold and used these devices for over 7 years in commercial and industrial applications to make ethernet compatible printers, copiers, wide format printer, and other digital business equipment Wi-Fi capable. I’m sure other wireless network appliances can accomplish this as well but the Asus RT-Nxx series have proven to be rock solid and easy to configure. Okay, enough small talk, let’s begin!
Lets set up the RT-N12D1:
Here are the steps to configure the RT-N12 to your existing network:
- Insert your wireless router’s AC adapter to the DC-In port and plug it to a power outlet.
- Using the bundled network cable, connect your computer to your wireless router’s LAN port.
- Using another network cable, connect your modem to your wireless router’s WAN port.
- Launch your web browser. Quick Internet Setup should launch
automatically then click Next. If not see the note (>) then resume here.
- Key in a new administrator password to prevent unauthorized access to the router. Click Next.
- Select Repeater mode. Click Next.
- A list of nearby wireless networks will appear. Select yours, enter the network security key, and click Connect.
- Keep the “Use the default settings” box checked.
- Click the Apply button to save the changes. The router will apply the settings and restart. The wireless repeater has now been setup successfully.
- Relocate the device near your laser engraver, connect the laser’s ethernet port to one of the yellow LAN ports on the RT-N12 with the supplied network cable, then power up the device and wait a minute for it to connect.
Your Asus network appliance should now be providing the laser controller a network connection (and extending your wireless network).
Now lets configure your DSP controller.
Here is a video tutorial to help you configure your DSP to your existing network:
NOTE: If you assigned a static IP address to your DSP that is within the DHCP pool and did not add an exception (or reserve it) in your main router the IP address could be given to another device at some point. This would cause an IP address conflict and cause one or both devices not to function properly. To find help with this google “How do I reserve an IP address on my ??????? router (or modem)?”
Your DSP should now be connected to your existing network.
Your laser engraver should now be connected to your network and be communicating with LighBurn!