Setting Up Your Alien ALR-F800 Reader

Overview

This article provides a step-by-step process for setting up the ALR-F800 reader from Alien Technology.

Downloads

ALR-F800 manuals: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fifj6wp598rhxc6/AAAE0TOLfg132-nFpW-xzZG1a?dl=0

Latest Firmware: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kr2tc5snhd7krts/alien-firmware_17.11.13.00_f800.aed?dl=0

Alien Gateway Demo Software: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bdtiieodg3kozkq/alien-gateway_2.26.03.zip?dl=0

Setting Up a New Reader

After unboxing your reader, connect an antenna to the first antenna port, labeled ANT0. Once this is done, power up the reader either via DC power supply or through PoE. On startup, the reader will cycle through the LEDs on the top of the reader and then the LED for Power will become solid green.

The F800 reader supports communication protocols via serial and network connections. The process for using both of these methods is outlined below.

Serial Connection

Connect the reader to a PC by inserting the provided serial cable into the reader's USB Console port. Once the cable is plugged into the PC, the PC should assign the reader a COM port. To find this COM port, open Device Manager and select Ports (COM & LPT) and find the COM port listed there for the reader. In the image below, the reader was assigned COM6 as a "USB Serial Port" device.

Next, launch the Alien Gateway software and select File > Preferences from the top left of the menu. In the Preferences menu, navigate to the Discovery tab and select the options for "Enable Serial Discovery" and "Scan only these ports (case-sensitive):". In the text box below the latter option, enter in the name of the selected COM port earlier. Alternatively, select the "Scan all detected ports:" option to have the Gateway software scan all available COM ports for the connected reader.

Once this is done, select "Close" to go back to the main menu screen where your reader should be listed in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If the reader is not listed, close the program and re-launch it in order for any changes to take affect. Once the reader is listed, a simple tag inventory can be performed.

Network Connection

To connect to a reader via a local network connection, connect the reader to your PC using an ethernet cable. By default, the reader's IP address is set to 192.168.1.100, and you will need to edit your PC's network settings for this connection in order to connect.

To do this, open the Network and Sharing Center on your PC and select the local ethernet connection option for your reader. Select the "Properties" option to open the connection's Ethernet Properties menu. From here, open the option for "Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)" and select the option to "Use the following IP address". You will need to assign your PC an IP address in the same range as the reader. This means that any value between 1 and 255 can be used for the last part of the IP address, excluding the number being used by the reader (100 by default). For the example shown below, we used the address 192.168.1.50.

In the Alien Gateway software, select the "Discover" button and select the option "Look for a reader connected to the Local Area Network (LAN)". Enter in the reader's IP address (default is 192.168.1.100) and the command port (default is 23). If a username/password window pops up, select the option for "Log in as alien/password". Any connected readers should automatically be recognized by the Gateway software and added to the Readers list.

If the reader's IP address has been changed from the default value, the new IP address will need to be found by using the serial connection. To find the reader's IP address, connect it via the serial connection by following the steps outlined above and enter the "info" command into the Gateway Software's "Command Line Interface". This will provide the user with the reader's information, including it's current IP address.

Reading Tags

To perform a simple tag inventory operation, select the Tag Grid menu option to open the Tag Grid application. This application will show all tags currently being read by the reader and constantly update the screen with the responding tags. Each grid square represents a single tag and contains information about each tag. Each tag's EPC can be seen at the top of each grid square, and additional information (such as the time elapsed since the tag's last response) can be seen at the bottom of each grid square.

Additional settings for reading tags can be found under the File > Preferences menu.

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