SteveDickinson
Alexa & Audio Station

Background

I have had a Synology DNS NAS drive now for about five years. I bought it originally as a safe, central, (relatively) fast storage for my photos, of which I have literally tens of thousands.

I also uploaded all my CDs to the NAS. it meant I could listen to my music whilst working and could play it through my Hi-Fi without having to search racks and racks of CDS looking for the one I wanted (No I did not have my CDs classified and catalogued)

Two years ago I purchased and set-up an Alexa, really just to see what these devices were like. Lets face when tablets cost between £500 and £750 and mobiles between £500 and £1000, £50 for an AI based Smart Speaker / Home Assistant is nothing.

In fact it begs one of two questions:

  1. Are they selling AI Speakers at below cost in order to capture the market?
  2. Are Tablets and Mobiles over hiked?

Anyway that aside having got my Alexa, I wanted to be able to play my music through it. And that is when the fun started.

Initial Surprise

The first problem I hit, and one that really did surprise me, is that whilst Alexa may be connected to my network, it cannot / will not talk to any devices on the network directly.

Alexa will only communicate with devices via the Cloud. So, any devices that you have that are not cloud based cannot communicate with Alexa.

Synology Audio Station

Goods news for those with a Synology NAS drive is that one of the applications that you can download is Audio Station, and Audio Station can be configured to operate with Alexa.

The bad news is that whilst configuring Audio Station to operate with Alexa is relatively easy (see XXXX), getting Alexa to work with Audio Station is a whole different ball game.

Configuration Requirements:

  1. Audio Station install on Synology DNS
  2. Audio Station configured to operate with Alexa
  3. Synology DNS configured to accept internet traffic (i.e Broadband hub configured to forward at least one open port to the DNS)
  4. SSL Certificate installed on Synology DNS (Self signed certificates are not accepted by Alexa)
  5. URL on certificate, exactly matches url given to Alexa, exactly matches URL in Audio Station Configuration
  6. Port given to Alexa matches port identified in Audio Station configuration, matches prot forewarding set up on Hub.

Note: Steps 3 – 6 are only necessary because Alexa will not talk directly to other networked devices.

Audio Station Installation