Connecting Philips Hue Bridge Devices

The Hue Bridge is a device that connects Philips Hue lightbulbs (which speak the ZigBee wireless protocol) to the general internet. The Bridge connects wirelessly to the bulbs, but requires a wired Ethernet connection to the Stanford network.

To bring a Hue Bridge online, follow these steps:

1) Determine the MAC address of the Bridge (should be printed on the device, or on the box it came in)

2) Register the Bridge at as a wired "other" device through the usual channel, but request a static IP and CLOSED firewall (as of fall 2017, I think static IP is no longer an option, but the default for wired devices anyway).

3) Connect the Bridge with an Ethernet cable to any Category 5 Ethernet jack available in the residence (all rooms should have at least one).

4) After the Bridge powers up and initializes, open the Hue app on a mobile phone that is connected to the Stanford LAN (e.g. "Stanford Residences", but NOT "eduroam"). In the Hue app, there should be an option to manually enter the IP address of a Bridge to connect to. Enter the (static) IP address we received in step 2.

The Bridge should now be connected!

However, there are a couple problems with this scheme, since the Philips Hue system was really only designed for a small home network environment with a single router serving a small LAN. Communications to the Bridge over local networks, including Stanford's, have no authentication or encryption, so it may be possible for an on-campus party to control any Hue installation on the Stanford network. Basically, Philips and many other IoT device manufacturers trust the LAN, which is an assumption we cannot make in a large network such as Stanford's.


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