IP Address Conflicts with Wireless Router - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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IP Address Conflicts with Wireless Router

Setup is as follows:

Cable Modem, Linksys WRT54 "G" router & USB "G" adapter, one month old Dell desktop, running Windows XP. Because of very low wireless signal (modem/router are in basement, desktop is on main level), also got a Linksys "G" range extender. No security password on wireless network.

Problem - keep getting repeated "IP Address Conflict" messages that paralyze desktop until deleted. If we leave the desktop on for an hour or so with no use, it will often have 20 or 30 "IP Address Conflict" messages by the time we use it again. Get the "IP Address Conflict" messages regardless of whether we're connecting to the wireless network with just our desktop or with our desktop and laptops. Occasionally get the same message on the laptops, but nowhere near as frequently.

Additional info.: we have three 2.4 MHZ wireless phones in the house, as well as a blackberry with bluetooth. Any chance either of these two devices might be causing the error message?

What I've tried thus far: entered "ipconfig/release" at command prop and restarted computer - didn't help. Confirmed 'Obtain IP Address Automatically' and 'Obtain DNS server address automatically" in netowrk properties are both checked - didn't help.

I've heard setting a security password on the network might solve it (and I know this is a very good thing to do anyway) but want to try to solve it without resorting to this. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 01:45 PM
 
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There's a very good chance you're getting address conflicts because someone else is connecting to your network. Leaving a wireless access point wide open in this day and age is a very bad thing to do. You don't just have your own computers and data to be concerned about, you also have to think about what someone else may be using your Internet connection for. Anything they do will appear to be coming from your house. Imagine having the RCMP knocking on your door (or kicking it in) because they've traced someone distributing kiddie porn from your address. May sound far fetched but is entirely possible.

You should be able to check if there are other computers connected to your router through its setup GUI. There should be a status page with a device list. It will list devices by MAC address which will be a series of 6 pairs of hexadecimal numbers like 00:13:CE:12:23:AB for example (they may also have dashes instead of colons between the numbers). Each of your computers will have one of these and it's unique to the wireless adapter in that computer. To find out yours, when you're connected to the network you should have a wireless computer icon in your system tray. Double click that and you should get a Wireless Network Connection Status window. Go to the Support tab and click Details. The Physical Address is your MAC address. If you see MAC addresses in the connection list on your router other than the ones from all of your computers then you know someone else is connecting.

Regardless, even if you don't see evidence of others connecting to your network you should still lock it down right away. Potential malicious use aside, do you really want somebody being able to use your Internet connection and chewing up your bandwidth? Also, don't use WEP for the encryption type - that can be easily cracked now. Use WPA instead. There's lots of how-to guides on the Internet that can help you lock down your network so it's not very difficult to do.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 02:12 PM
 
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You should check and see what IP is assigned to your router.
Run ipconfig /all and see what IP are you being given by the router.
Check router's DHCP scope.
Are you maybe connected to the router with the network cable as well? If yes, check your wired NIC's IP settings and make sure they are set for DHCP.

And as the other poster said, make sure to at least set the password for the router Admin account. For example ,I can connect to one my neighbour's Linksys and make any changes I want (of course I would not do it). but someone can for example change router password on you.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 02:16 PM
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Holy Smokes Ditto the last poster.

Please immediately activate the WPA encryption immediately. It uses a 128-bit encryption key and basically can not be cracked as of this moment. You only have to enter the big password once for your devices, and your system is then protected. Choose a password that is a mixture of letters and numbers, and not standard words.

Like the last poster said, if you leave your network open, you are extremely vulnerable not only to people using your bandwidth, but they can access all of the files on your computer. The can even monitor your activity to see your banking info, etc.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 03:15 PM
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I have the same problem with the "IP Address Conflict". I am using MAC address restrictions as my security - only allowing a defined set of MAC addresses to be allowed to connect.

Not sure what the problem is but it also started when I added a wireless extender upstairs.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 03:27 PM
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Larry, are you assigning a static IP address to your range extender? If not, I would try that first and the problem may resolve itself.



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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 03:43 PM
 
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Or similar to Hugh's question, do you have any static IP addresses defined anywhere? If so, you'll need to check the DHCP server settings on your router to make sure it won't assign any addresses in the same range.

Also, as an aside, I hope you're not relying solely on MAC address filtering for your security. That in itself is not sufficient. It's very easy for a hacker to sniff out the MAC addresses you've allowed and then change their adapter to use one of the same addresses. Same goes for disabling SSID broadcast. You still need to enable encryption to ensure an outsider can't connect.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 06:21 PM
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Grog, I'm aware that MAC address filtering is not bulletproof, but it is easy to do. I have had problems with laptops that need to connect to different networks when I turned other forms of security on. I'm sure if I played around a bit I could get it all to work.

If someone really wants to get into my network by cloning one of the MAC addresses, then they must really be desperate, and be one of my four neighbours or sitting in a car in front of my house.

I will try assigning a static IP address to my extender to see if that helps.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 06:39 PM
 
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As a bit of a followup to the above, if I have assigned a static ip address to my networked computers, does anything have to be done on the router end? I kind of fudge my way through all of this stuff. I assigned a static ip address to one of my computers through the tcp/ip-properties-etc....Things seemed to work after doing this, but then I was wondering if I have to forward this address through my router (wrt54gl). There was something in the router menu regarding "static DNS 1, static DNS 2...." I've entered the static addresses into these boxes. Everything works, but I don't really know what this DNS refers to or if it was necessary to do this.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 08:24 PM
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While I do strongly encourage turning on encryption,

a) No one will be able to access your files unless you have file sharing turned on
and
b) Banks require the use of the https protocol which means your info is encrypted regardless if your wireless traffic is encrypted or not.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 09:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsambuca View Post

Like the last poster said, if you leave your network open, you are extremely vulnerable not only to people using your bandwidth, but they can access all of the files on your computer. The can even monitor your activity to see your banking info, etc.
Uh, are your implying they would be able to view your online banking activity? Even if you run wireless on a entirely open network, no one can view the data with an encrypted connection to your bank website. As long as the connection is https:// then your data for that particular web session is encrypted and can not be viewed.

They can tell what site you are going to. But not what is being transmitted.

However, an open network definitely has other issues and risks as outlined by others here.

Cheers.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 11:31 PM
 
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Nighthawk - you don't have to do anything special on your router to forward static IP addresses but you do need to make sure it won't use the same addresses for it's DHCP server. Your router should have some sort of setting in the DHCP setup that tells it the range of addresses it can use. On Linksys routers it usually has a "Start IP Address" which is the first address of the range and then a setting for maximum number of clients.

For example, a common setup will have the router address as 192.168.1.1 and the DHCP server will be set to have a starting address of 192.168.1.100 and a max of 50 clients. That means the addresses it will dynamically assign will be in the range 192.168.1.100 - 192.168.1.149 so you don't want to use any of those addresses for your static machines.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-09, 11:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry View Post
If someone really wants to get into my network by cloning one of the MAC addresses, then they must really be desperate, and be one of my four neighbours or sitting in a car in front of my house.
I don't want to belabour this issue or sound overly paranoid but it's a common misconception that someone needs to be within a few feet of your house to use your access point. It's actually quite simple and inexpensive to make a directional antenna that would allow someone to access it from hundreds of feet away. And don't underestimate what bored teenagers will do for kicks.

Also, as others have pointed out, the risk isn't so much about someone sniffing out your banking information, etc. That type of traffic is pretty much always encrypted. Most hackers probably don't give a crap about snooping through your computer and finding your family photos from last Christmas either. Generally what they do want though is access to your Internet connection and they search around for vulnerable access points specifically for that purpose. Wireless encryption may be a bit of a pain but in my mind it's a very small price to pay for security. I don't like carrying keys around either but I'm not about to start leaving my house unlocked for the sake of convenience.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-04-10, 12:41 AM
 
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Grog;
Thanks for the static ip explanation, you answered all my questions.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 2007-05-22, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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Update:

Resolved problem described in post one by changing from a wireless network to a wired one (powerlink, actually). Unfortunately, powerlink setup failed over the weekend, so I'm back to the wireless network with the "IP address conflict" message.

One thing I did notice was that the problem only occurred once I began using the range extender again, i.e. when I reset the wireless router and reconnected the access point, everything was fine, but when I began to use the range extender again because the router signal was weak, the "IP address conflict" message started again. This has caused me to conclude it's the range extender that is causing the problem. Is this feasible? I'm a computer dolt in general and wireless network dolt in particular, but one explanation that occurred to me is that my desktop computer is "reading" the router signal and the extender signal separately and that is what is triggering the "IP address conflict" message. I honestly don't believe the "IP address conflict" message is being caused by some other computer trying to access our wireless network because the problem happens whether my laptop is accessing the network or not and because our house is situated such that it is just not likely anyone is connecting to the network - because of parkland/new construction/vacant houses there is, by my estimation, a "computer-free" zone of several hundred feet surrounding my house.

Could it be the range extender causing the problem? If so, any solutions?

All assistance much appreciated.
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