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Discussion Starter #1
For several years I've been running okay with my home network under WinXp. Within the last few months I have upgraded all my computers to WIN 7. I use a Linksys WRT54/GL router with stock settings (though I have wondered about DD-WRT upgrade). I have tried to have most units with static IP adresses although with some of the additions, I don't believe they have been set up that way.

Currently I have 3 xbox 360's, 3 PC's and two laptops on my network. A PC and laptop have been fairly recent additions. Two xbox's are wired as well as two of the PC's, the rest use wireless settings. Within the last months I have been having dropouts of the wireless settings. Ocasionally I will get an error message stating that an IP address is already in use. Other times, my signal strength is excellent however no connection can be made. Usually a whole bunch of rebooting fixes things.

Which brings me to this. This router has the capability for 4 wired ports as well as a wireless capability. What exactly is the proper way to set up the network---using static or dynamic addresses? Can the devices using wireless use a static IP? I'm pretty muddled with all of this right now---a sign of electronic overload. Would upgrading the firmware on the router to a DD/WRT setup help anything?
 

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Any device can have a static IP, no problems there. However, unless you need to assign exception rules for a device, you probably don't need to assign any static IPs.

The conflicts could be due to non-static IPs being handed out when the connection drops. Using static might help with that.

I have a newer Linksys and I also get drops at least every other day. Sometimes I have to reset the router.

I would make sure you have the latest firmware.
 

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If using wireless use static ip for each device on the network wired and wireless. Turn off DHCP server and assign addresses manually. Sometimes using to much encryption on wireless would drop the connection. It would be better to use less encryption and allow only devices with specific MAC addresses to connect to the router. For added security don't broadcast your id. Also manually enter DNS primary and secondary to each device. If you turn off DHCP and manually configure your network you should have stable connection.
 

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^^^^
Why would encryption cause it to drop? By doing what you suggest, you're significantly decreasing security. Allowing only specific MACs is not much of a security measure, as it's very easy to spoof MACs. Whenever someone uses WiFi, their MAC address is revealed to all who want to see it. Further, turning off DHCP will not affect stability. With DHCP, the IP address is requested when the connection is made and then there's no more DHCP activity until part way through the lease period, when the computer will ask to renew the address. DHCP generates very little traffic, so as to have virtually no effect on any connection. Also, not broadcasting SSID doesn't do much, as it too is visible to anyone who's looking for it, whenever WiFi is use. Security through obscurity is no security at all. For a secure connection, you want to use the best encryption available, which for home users is WPA2.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So is there a consensus on whether static or dynamic IP is the way to go for everything? For the static connections I have done, I have used the same DHCP numbers for all machines--sorry, but I'm not sure what to do with DHCP or what it really is so I don't even know if using the same numbers is what I should be doing. I have the router set to not broadcast, have WPA2 with a strong password.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I was getting DHCP and DNS server mixed up. The router has an DHCP server button with options of "Enable/Disable" (set to enabled) and then an entry for starting IP address, followed by the maximum number of DHCP users (I've set 20 for this).

I've set a static DNS1 value and a static DNS2 value which I've copied onto all my units that I've set with a static IP address.

Now if I set the the DHCP to disabled, I assume this would allow everything to use dynamic addresses?
 

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So is there a consensus on whether static or dynamic IP is the way to go for everything?
For most users, DHCP is fine. However, you do need static addresses for some devices, such as the router, servers etc. Also, with some DHCP servers you can tie an IP address to a specific MAC address, so that device will always have the same IP address. Unless you have some specific need for a static address, I wouldn't bother with it.
 

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I use static for all my connections, wired and wireless, and leave only 1 IP address open for DHCP. Typically I am not adding wireless connections every day, and if allows me to restrict other wireless devices (not under my control) from trying to gain access. If I see anything connected to 192.168.1.100 I know I have an intruder!

I assume that if I set a range of my DHCP to zero, then no other wireless device could connect to the router (other than those configured in static?)
 

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^^^^
If you don't want connections using DHCP, then you can simply turn DHCP off.

On my home lan, all the computers, other than my notebook have a static configuration. I have my DHCP server configured to assign a specific address to the notebook. This demonstrates one nice feature of IPv6. With it, you don't have to configure an address or use DHCP. You normally get a static address automagically. However, you can still use manual configuration, DHCP and also random number generation to obtain an address.
 

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Nighthawk1 from what you are saying it looks like DHCP is assigning ip addresses to some devices and other devices have static (manually) assigned ip addresses. Problem is if DHCP assigned ip to a device and you are trying to connect to the network with other device using same static ip you are getting message address is already in use. For best results and to avoid confusion use DHCP on the whole network, or turn it off and assign unique addresses manually to each device. If you want to use both, don't assign static addresses from the range used by DHCP.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yep, I was just going through the router settings and notice that DHCP server is set to enabled. I had then set the number of maximum DHCP users as 20 and then assigned static IP's to most of the devices but not all.

To do this properly for static IP setup, I should then disable this server option, and then can I assign anything for an IP address for each device or does it have to fall into a certain range? Can I use 192.168.1.101, " " " " .102, " " " " .103 ...for example?

And then what do I use for each device when it asks for DNS numbers? When I set DHCP server to disabled on the router, most of the following options become greyed out (including DNS). As mentioned I have the WRT54GL if anyone is familiar with it.
 

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For best results and to avoid confusion use DHCP on the whole network
There's no problem having both on the same network. With DHCP servers, you select the range of addresses that the server hands out. Leave a block that's not used for DHCP and use those for static. For example, you could configure the DHCP server for x.x.x.100 to x.x.x.199 to DHCP and use any other address for static configuration.

And then what do I use for each device when it asks for DNS numbers?
You have to use your ISPs DNS address. When you use the DHCP server, it will obtain that address from your ISP (again via DHCP) and then pass it on to devices on your network. You'll also have to manually configure the default route (gateway).
 

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I use static for all my connections, wired and wireless, and leave only 1 IP address open for DHCP.
Nice tip Larry. I like that idea.

I have virtually all of my devices on static IP but have more than 1 IP address open. Think I will change that.
 

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Hi Nighthawk,
I am not sure I am following what you are doing so I will try to simplify it the way I set my network for static IP.
Router- under network setup
Router IP 192.168.2.1 or the actual address of your router
Subnet mask 255.255.255.0
and Enabled the DNS Relay.

In Windows Network and Internet from Control panel click Change adapter setting, right click your connection and select properties.
In the list of protocols select TCPIPv4 and properties. Select use the following address and enter an IP address for this computer ex, 192.168.2.101 (on an other computer or device the last number need to be different)
Subnet mask will be 255.255.255.0 and gateway will be your router address 192.168.2.1
Click on Use the following DNS and in preferred write your router address 192.168.2.1

That is how I use Static address for my network.
Desktop are numbered from 101 to 110
Wireless from 111 to 120
Other 121 to 130
Now if you want to activate DHCP in your router you can give an address range from 192.168.2.131 to 140.
 

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For those leaving one ip open only, do you not have friends that come over and use your wifi on their cell phones these days?

Seems the wifi pass is the first thing some guests ask me when they come over.
 

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Discussion Starter #17


Hopefully my attempted attachment of the menu portion for my router setup comes through.

Bob; My gateway IP is setup fine and I've done all the proper encryption. I do have the proper static DNS numbers which I've entered on those devices with which I want a static IP. My confusion with all of this is choosing numbers for the static IP addresses. For example, if I have 5 devices that I would like to have static addresses but would also like to keep two dynamic addresses for people to use WIFI etc..(Iphone for example)---do I not have to enable DHCP server, then allow 2 maximum users. I set an initial IP address range (192.168.1.101 for example--not the one shown above) and then my router then tells me that my DHCP range will be between 192.168.1.101 and 192.168.1.102. Shouldn't I then assign static IP addresses on each of my devices making sure not use any of those two numbers? And if so, they can be (example 192.168.1.2...192.168.1.3...and so on)?

I am familiar with how to enter the static numbers, just not sure of the numbers to use. I used to be so good with electronic stuff...sigh.
 

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You can safely assign statiic IP addresses on devices to anything below the DHCP starting address, except for the IP address of the router (.1), which means you can technically start at .2 .

I would do what Bob_Mtl does, and reserve ranges for particular devices.

Personally, at this time, I am fine with DHCP, since I am always futzing with the network and the routers which have different default IPs.
 

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For those leaving one ip open only, do you not have friends that come over and use your wifi on their cell phones these days?

Seems the wifi pass is the first thing some guests ask me when they come over.
If you have a bunch of people over, you can quickly open up some more addresses. I find having only one covers 99% of the situations. If you regularly have the same people over, consider assigning static IP addresses for them. I have done this and it works great.
 

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Some of my colleagues use DD-WRT on their Linksys WRT-54GL's, saying that it's more stable than the Linksys "OS", and there is more control on WI-FI settings. However, this information is anecdotal. ( I use a D-Link DIR-655)

Security settings should always be the highest encryption possible, WPA2-PSK, with a very long passphrase, with a combination of upper and lower case letters, misspelled words and numbers. If you're experiencing WI-FI drop-outs, it's not because of the encryption. It could be interference from older cordless phones.

Do you or your neighbours use the older 2.4GHz cordless phones? That's the first suspect. If you do have cordless phones in that frequency range, go to Costco and get the newer DECT 6.0 sets, they will not interfere with WI-FI. If your neighbours use the older cordless sets, maybe you'd like to "help" them upgrade?

As for DHCP or static. There's nothing wrong with DHCP, you can also reserve IP addresses with DHCP enabled, which means that no matter how long the client PC/device is off, every time it reboots, it'll always get the same IP address.

If you still want to use static IP addresses, you'll need to set your gateway and DNS settings.

The easiest DNS setting is the router (also the gateway). The router will "route" DNS requests to your main ISP's DNS servers. But I have a suggestion that might speed things up. Use OpenDNS, it's very fast and FREE! There are two ways to set up for OpenDNS. You can either point each of your devices to the OpenDNS servers or you can still point your devices to the router and have your router point to the OpenDNS servers (primary = 208.67.222.222 secondary = 208.67.220.220)

Just try OpenDNS and you'll see how fast new pages load.

On another, related note. For people that are new to home networking, and don't want to take courses on networking to be able to set up their home network, I have a suggestion for a good "How-to" book.
Home Networking Simplified by Cisco. The link (if approved by the moderator) will bring you to Amazon.ca where you can purchase the book for about twenty bucks. It's written in plain English, and will help you get your home network running smoothly in no time.
 
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