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new chromebook won't connect to compaion - SUCCESS!
#1
I just purchased an HP chromebook x360 14a -- looks like a fine machine, and it has a 14" touchscreen (big enough for my old eyes -- bigger than my old Hanspree tablets that are slowly dying). It has a USB A socket on one side, so my USB pedal plugs right in. It charges via USB C (one socket on each side). The volume keys are on the same side as the USB A socket, so are on top in portrait mode. No SD card, but its 64 GB is plenty for me. Cost $282+tax on Amazon.

After a short hassle getting my company to enable the Google Play Store on ChromeOS, Mobile Sheets Pro installed, and I could import some screenshots just fine.

It won't connect to the Companion app. As suggested elsewhere, I tried "Manual WiFi Connect" on the Companion, to the IP displayed by clicking "Connect to Companion" on the chromebook. But that IP is 100.115.92.14, which fails. Whois says that is a private address space. It looks like the Chromebook is doing NAT for the Android app, so systems outside the Chromebook cannot connect in to it, and it cannot see responses from outside the chromebook.

Is there any way to change this so the Companion can connect? I'm pretty sure this must be changed in ChromeOS.

I suppose I can transfer files via USB drive, but would rather keep my current workflow via the Companion.
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#2
Based on something I read in some other forum post, I was able to connect MS on my Chromebook to the Companion app.

The key was to login to my router and look at the DHCP leases, find the entry for the Chromebook, and use that IP in "Manual WiFi Connect" on the Companion. Of course I had already clicked "Connect to Companion" in MS on the Chromebook.

Mike: I understand that MS displays the first non-loopback IP it finds. Perhaps if you find 100.115.0.0/16 you could list all IPs found and display an appropriate message for Chromebook users. I daresay that many/most MS users won't understand what I said in the previous paragraph (but I'm sure you will understand it).
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#3
Unfortunately, Chrome OS implements a firewall between Android applications and the OS. The app is completely unaware that the network it is using is a virtual network. I have done a lot of research on this and Google intentionally designed it so that Android applications cannot get the real IP address. There is nothing I can do on the software side. I have looped through all the IP addresses in code on my chromebooks, and I'm never given the real IP address. The only way for a user to find the IP address is in the OS WiFi settings (you can click on an information icon next to the active network). You can see screenshots here on how to access the information: https://www.lifewire.com/find-mac-addres...ok-4802491

This is a comment about the issue that I got while researching it: 

Chromebooks run the entire Android OS in a container, similar to Docker or LXC. This means that Android will not have direct access to the system's LAN interface. Instead, IPv4 traffic will pass through an internal layer of network address translation (NAT), and IPv6 unicast traffic will be routed through an extra hop. Outbound unicast connections from an Android app to the internet should mostly work as-is; but in general, inbound connections are blocked. Multicast or broadcast packets from Android will not be forwarded to the LAN through the firewall.

Mike
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#4
There is one more thing I wanted to add - I do have a long term plan on how to address this. I'm going to switch to DNS-SD (DNS Service Discovery) which bypasses the problem entirely of needing to know the IP address. Google has an article on it here that I'm going to use to modify the code: https://developer.android.com/training/c...lessly/nsd

I have similar resources I will use for the Windows 10 version and companion app.

Mike
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#5
Mike:

Thanks. 

At least it works with the "Manual WiFi connect" in the Companion, and you have documented how other people can address the issue.

Tom
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#6
(12-03-2021, 12:26 PM)tjrob Wrote: Based on something I read in some other forum post, I was able to connect MS on my Chromebook to the Companion app.

The key was to login to my router and look at the DHCP leases, find the entry for the Chromebook, and use that IP in "Manual WiFi Connect" on the Companion. Of course I had already clicked "Connect to Companion" in MS on the Chromebook.

Mike: I understand that MS displays the first non-loopback IP it finds. Perhaps if you find 100.115.0.0/16 you could list all IPs found and display an appropriate message for Chromebook users. I daresay that many/most MS users won't understand what I said in the previous paragraph (but I'm sure you will understand it).

Where is manual wifi connect on the companion?
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#7
Connecting two tablets seems unusually difficult.  Can't I just connect them with a USB cable?  I see no options for choosing this method. And using the directions in the manual, I can't seem to connect my two tablets.
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#8
No, you can't just connect them with a USB cable. Android doesn't allow raw data to be transferred over USB - it's considered a security risk so it's not supported. Basic file transfers over PTP or MTP are allowed (hence why you can connect a tablet to your PC and view the storage to transfer files) but that is the extent of what is allowed. 

As far where manual wifi connect is in the companion app, it's in the "Connection" dropdown. You said you are connecting two tablets though - the companion app is meant to be run on a Windows device to manage the library on another device. Is that what you are trying to do with your two tablets? 

Mike
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