NEPI Engine – Connecting and Setup
This tutorial covers connecting and configuring NEPI Engine software running on an NVIDIA Jetson or other edge-compute hardware. This tutorial assumes you have a working NEPI Engine enabled edge compute platform.
What you will need
1) 1x NEPI-enabled device. This tutorial uses an edge-compute processor box that includes an NVIDIA Jeston Xavier NX embedded GPU module with NEPI Engine software installed.
NOTE: See available off-the-shelf NEPI enabled edge-compute options at:
2) 1x PC with Ethernet network adapter and WiFi support. This tutorial uses a Windows 11 PC and a USB GigE Ethernet adapter.
3) 1x Ethernet Cable
1) Connect your NEPI device to your PC’s Ethernet adapter using an Ethernet cable, then power your NEPI device.
On the PC, you will need to configure the Ethernet network adapter with a static IPV4 address on the same subnet that your NEPI device following the steps below. The NEPI software uses a default subnet of 192.168.179.0/24 with the device configured for IP address 192.168.179.103.
PC Network Adpter Settings
IP Address: 192.168.179.5
1) Right click on the “Connection” icon in your PC’s menu bar and select the “Network and Internet settings” option.
2) Select the “Ethernet” line from the list of options shown.
3) Select the “Edit” button next to the “IP assignment” menu item
4) Select the “Manaul” option then turn on the “IPv4” switch in the popup window that appears.
5) Enter 192.168.179.5 in the “IP address” and 255.255.255.0 in the “Subnet mask” fields, then click the “Save” button.
6) You can test your Ethernet connection to the NEPI device by opening a Command Prompt terminal from the windows “Start” menu, then typing “ping 192.168.179.103”. You should see a valid repsonse like the one below. If not, try power cycling your PC.
Connecting to the NEPI Device’s RUI
Now that the PC and NEPI device are communicating, we need to connect to the NEPI device’s Resident User Interface or RUI, which is a browser-based interface hosted on the NEPI device, that provides system monitoring and setup, since in most cases, the NEPI device will be embedded in a larger system with no display, keyboard, or mouse attached.
1) For this step, you just need to open a web-browser on our PC and enter the NEPI device’s IP address and RUI port number:
2) You should see the NEPI RUI dashboard page appear and a blinking Green heartbeat indicator at the top of the SYSTEM STATUS section that lets you know that the RUI is communicating with the NEPI backend software processes. This is a good way to check if you are actually connected to a live NEPI device, and not just looking at a browser cached screen image. You can select the address in the browser’s address bar and drag the NEPI RUI address into your favorites bar for easy access.
NOTE: The current version of the RUI does not include a self certified SSL certificate, so the link will display a “Not Secure” message.
NOTE: On the initial power up of a NEPI device, you may need to wait a few seconds for the RUI to connect.
Navigating the NEPI RUI
You can navigate the NEPI RUI just like any webpage using the menu items in the header section of the page. The NEPI RUI page is fully customizable, which is covered in the NEPI customization video demo series. The out of the box NEPI RUI system has 5 main menu items: This includes the Dashboard will bring up this page we’re on, the Sensors page is for configuring connected imaging and navigation sensors, Applications provides access to integrated NEPI applications such as AI and Automation applications, Controls is for configuring connected actuator and robotic control systems, and the System menu item provides user settings, communications, and software management tools.
Interacting with the NEPI RUI
Before getting into the NEPI system setup portion of this tutorial, it will be valuable to review some interface aspects of the NEPI RUI system. On the RUI Dashboard tab, you can see a combinations of yellow and white boxes. The yellow boxes are indicators, and the white boxes are input fields. There are Gray buttons that will turn Blue momentarily when clicked, indicating that the command was received and sent, Drop Down menus that show the selected items in Blue boxes, and Toggle Switches will turn Green when enabled.
NOTE: It is critical that after entering an input field, you hit the enter key. Before hitting enter, the text in the field will be red. Once you hit the enter key, the RUI will send the input to the NEPI engine backend software and change the input to black text, indicating that it was accepted and sent.
NOTE: While the RUI provides a convenient user interface to the NEPI software system, all of the data and controls you see have documented backend API interfaces (ROS and HTML) for automation programming and interfacing to a connected system.
Configuring Your NEPI System
NEPI Clock Setup
Unless your NEPI device is equipped with an RTC battery attached, it will come up with the same date and time on power up every time, requiring the clock to be updated. The NEPI software provides two methods for updating the system clock: 1) You can either connect to an NTP time server running on your network or by clicking the “Sync Clocks” button on the RUI which will sync the NEPI device with the clock on the PC you are connected with. After clicking the “Sync Clocks” button, you should see the Time, Date, and Timezone indicator values update.
NEPI Ethernet Setup
Next, you can configure the NEPI devices wired Ethernet settings from the RUI’s System/Admin tab where you will find a section labeled “ETHERNET”. In this section you will see the NEPI device’s base IP address , a switch to enable DHCP support if you want your system to connect to the internet, a box and controls for adding or removing additional IP addresses that are added on top of the system’s base address, two network bandwidth usage indicators, and a control for limiting the systems max ethernet transmit bandwidth, which is useful if you are connecting over wireless or cabled network with limited bandwidth. A value of “-1” applies no limiting.
NEPI WiFi Connection Setup
If your NEPI device has either an integrated WiFi board or you have a WiFi USB adapter attached, you will see a WIFI section available under the ETHERNET section on this page. If you want to connect to the internet through an available WiFi network, click the Client Enabled switch, wait for the “Available Networks” dropdown box to populate, then select the WiFi network you want to connect too, and enter the WiFi password in the “Passphrase” box. Be sure to hit return after entering the password. If the NEPI software was able to connect with the password you entered, you should see the “Connected” indicator turn Green. If the WiFi network you connected to has internet access, you should see the “Internet Connected” indicator above the “Ethernet” section turn Green as well.
NEPI WiFi Access Point Setup
You can also configure a WiFi access point to your NEPI device in this section by entering an access point connection name and passphrase, then clicking the “Access Point Enabled” switch, and connecting. If you want to connect to the internet through an available WiFi network, just click the Client Enabled switch. Your NEPI device is now accessible through a dedicated secure WiFi connection. You can now disconnect the Ethernet cable and use this connection to interface to your NEPI device, including the RUI, shared user drive, and SSH file system access.
NOTE: If your NEPI device’s WiFi hardware supports it, you can configure the WiFi for simultaneous WiFi internet connection and WiFi access point.
NOTE: If your PC is connected to an internet connection through another port or adapter, you may need to disable that connection to communicate over the NEPI access point.
Testing and Using Your NEPI WiFi Access Point
You can make sure your access point connection is good by disconnecting your wired Ethernet to the device checking that the “Heartbeat” indicator on the RUI Dashboard tab is blinking.
This access point can also be used by multiple devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops…) at the same time to provide a distributed interface to a team or crew. To connect to the RUI from a smartphone, just log into the NEPI device’s WiFi access point, open a web-browser, and enter your NEPI device’s IP address and RUI port number:
Saving Your System Settings
Once you have configured your system’s Ethernet and WiFi settings, the last thing to do is to save those settings if you want them to be applied the next time you power up your NEPI device. Click the “Save” button in the CONFIGURATION section of this tab. You can also select specific NEPI subsystem settings to save by selecting them from the dropdown menu. The default is all subsystems. The “Reset” Button will restore the last saved configuration in case you made a change you want to revert back.
Advanced Settings Controls
If you ever want to return to factory default values, you can click the “Advanced Settings Enable” switch above the Device section which will show a few additional options for managing and updating saved systems settings. If you have updated your NEPI software, you can apply your last saved user settings by selecting the “User Restore” button.