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do i need static ip addresses?

1085 Views 23 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  doublecheck
every few weeks, i have to go back and tell zonealarm to allow different addresses to access the network, or i lose dva/replays.

everything i know about networking i havelearned from the replay/dva setup. My hunch is that since I am using DHCP (which was the default choice, and has worked fine), the ip addresses are just renewing. Network consists of two pcs (xp home sp2), the replay, a mediamvp. I have a router and zonealarm running on the pcs. all is hardwired, no wireless.

do i need to use static ips, and if so, how do i do that?
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Static IP addresses may indeed make your network setup more stable.

Althought I do not use Zone Alarm, I am sure many others here do. I can't see why your units aren't renewing with the same IP address, except, of course, if you are encountering the dreaded DHCP bug. The underlying Replay TV OS (VxWorks, FYI) sometimes requests / renews its IP address without letting the Replay software know. This does cause many problems, and yours could be one.

Static IPs offer other advantages as well. You really need static IPs in order to use IVS and send or receive shows over the internet. That's because you have to tell your router to put the show send or receive through to the proper Replay TV.. and for that you need to know what its IP address is.

I could probably walk you through converting most of your devices to static IP, except the MediaMVP (but I bet even that one isn't that hard).

First of all, what router are you using?
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hi plyons!

thanks for volunteering your help. I have a belkin router. I'm not sure about the DHCP bug, never encountered it before. Actually, the replay seems to be the most stable, it's the PCs that seem to lose each other. I noticed that it had happened again when i was trying to stream mp3s with wmp.

for my understanding, is there any downside to using static ips? why wouldn't i use them?

The downside is simply that you will no longer be using DHCP! DHCP is easy and it makes adding new devices (like a router, PC, laptop, or another media server) fast and easy.

Some people really prefer to continue to keep DHCP running in part because they ofter use a laptop that can quickly configure itself on the new network with DHCP running.

Before we convert your whole network to DHCP, I'd hope that some other experts jump in here and confirm my suspicion that this might fix your Zone Alarm problem.

But even if that isn't going to solve things (and I'm pretty darn sure it will), there is a clear benefit to at least putting the Replays on static IP (that's so you can send receive shows)... of course, that's only if you have a 5000 series. What model Replay do you have?

Next... do you know how to access your Belkin's status page? It's probably just as easy as clicking on this link:

assuming that your router's IP address is (you might need a password and user name to enter that page... try admin for both).

Once you can access your Belkin settings, you should be able to check out the basic status page and you should note the following information:

Local IP address (this is the IP address of the router.. probably

Subnet mask (probably

DNS server (possibly something like

And then you should access your DHCP settings.

What your going to need to do is make sure that the router no longer gives out the IP addresses we are going to permanently asign to your replay. You can accomplish this by telling the router to begin assigning IP addresses at something like and then assigning the Replay an IP address of

Does it make sense so far?
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sorry for the delay, i'm bouncing back and forth taking care of real babies and these virtual ones.

all makes sense so far. So, just to clarify, am I leaving DHCP enabled and just limiting the range of ips it can use so that it won;t mess with the static onjes I set up?

I had another detail that I just realized. My wife and I both have laptops that need to connect thru the router. I am assuming that this will not be impacted? They do not need to be part of my LAN, just to share the connection.

Also, I noticed that my router is set to "forever" for lease time. Does that indicate that maybe something else is happening and static ips won;t help?
oh, btw i have a 5040 and i have been poopli'ing for a while now. i can think of a few instances where it didn't successfully xfer, but i don;t think it was ever an ip issue
Well, it may mess up your laptops, but we can address that later. Don't turn DHCP off yet... just limit it's range and number of lessees so that you can assign a static IP address to the Replay unit that won't ever get used by the DHCP server on the router.

If you were Poopli'ing before... what IP address were you using to do port forwarding?

Even though your router had a lease time of "forever"... dont' forget that your replay reboots itself automatically periodically. So it's going to ask for a new IP address on occasion anyway. And the address it gets will change if, for instance, you have one or more laptops connected or not connected, versus the last time it asked.

Another option is to use MAC address binding. This allows you to tell your router to ALWAYS lease out the same IP to the Replay based on a long address string (MAC address) that is unique to the network interface card in your Replay. I'm not sure if your router supports this feature (not many do). What exact model of Belkin router are you using?
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Router is Belkin 4 port cable/dsl gateway (model #f5d52304)

IP replay/poopli: port 29000

Come to think of it, my replay could not ever have gotten assigned a new IP, because I have never changed the port forwarding settings on the router.

The only time i notice this problem is on a pc in the kitchen that i use to access the music library/pictures, etc. that are on my "server" (pc in office). The office pc stays on all the time, the kitchen goes to standby (not hibernate) until i wake it up. would the standby process be causing a changing of the ip address occasionally?
Well at first you said that you lose access to DVA / Replays... or did you mena that you simply lose the ability to see the network from this one notebook?
I know, now I'm confusing myself. The most common problem is that the pcs will lose each other, but occasionally the replay loses dva at the same time. A simple reboot of ther dva pc usually fixes it, but it's a PITA to run upstairs and do that while my wife yaps about how the whole setup is too complicated anyway.

I have witnessed the pc in the kitchen getting different IP addresses a few times, and had to adjust the firewall to allow it. Since I started this discussion with you I have determines that the replay has always gotten the same IP address, because I haven't ever changed the settings on the router for poopli. I guess my real question needs to be, how do i figure out why this is happening? What are some common cause of pcs losing each other? The more I get into this, the less it seems like static ips will help.

also, the notebooks have never had an issue. they simply need to be able to get out on the internet, but have no need to actually be part of my local workgroup.

thanks again
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thought i'd jump in here ... i just skimmed most of the thread so sorry if I miss something ...

I wouldn't disable DHCP completely. Most of these home broadband routers are set for a large static range on top of the DHCP range. For example, Linksys boxes are set for the following: = Router - .99 = Static Range - .254 = DHCP Range

Now, as a general rule, any device that will be on your network all/most of the time would benefit from a static IP. I'd sugest assigning your Desktops and replays Static IPs. You can pick any IP in the static range. Check your router for this, I'm not sure how Belkins are set up.

This way, all the machines that are there are there all the time will always have the same address, but DHCP is still available for laptops, and devices that are brought in temporarily.

Technically, devices that are on all the time should always have the same address even with DHCP ... but it's better to set a static and know for sure than to rely on 'should'.

Regarding your PC in the kitchen, if it goes in to hibernate it certainly could change IPs. The way DHCP works, when your machine requests an address, it is assigned an address and a 'lease' time for how long it's allowed to use that address (usually about a day with home routers). When this lease time is halfway up, your PC will request another address. The DHCP server will USUALLY extend the lease for the existing address.

With that said ... your kitchen PC has an address, it goes to sleep. Some time goes by, it's lease expires, then it gets turned back on. The PC will send out another DHCP request to get another address. Now, if another device had come onto the network between the time the kitchen PC's lease expired and when it requested the new one ... its precious address would be no longer available.

In not so many words ... yes, your machine will request a new address when it comes out of hibernate/sleep ... and yes, it's very possible it could get a new address.

Again, my recommendation is assign a static IP to your desktop, replay, and any other device that is there all the time ... and leave DHCP for roaming devices.
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also ... the replay is always on when it has power ... so it should never be assigned a different ip unless it is unplugged for an extended period of time.

Still, go static with it to be safe.
Jackshakes suggests that your router might automatically have a range reserved for static vs. dynamic IP addresses. This might be the case, but I would make sure first.

I disagree that the more you think about it the less likely DHCP is the cause. I think it's more and more likely the culprit.

I would definitely give the Replay and the two PCs typically on your network static IP addresses. You can do this on your WINDOZE machines by going into the control panel, network connections, local area connection, then highlight TCP / IP and click on properties. Make sure your gateway address matches the IP of your router (which in your case looks like it's -- I didn't notice until now that you have 192.168.2.x instead of 192.168.1.x like most Linksys network defaults.).

I would think you need to do this at least before you can diagnose further.
i'm 99% sure there is a static and dynamic range by default. every router i've touched so far has come like that from the factory (which includes just about every brand except belkin ... go figure). I'm looking on their website now to confirm ... it's slow as hell tho.

I think DHCP is part of your problem, and windows is the other. DHCP is causing your kitchen computer to have to be reapproved by zonealarm ... and windows is causing your server to not be seen by replay ... although that could be zonealarm too.

With zone alarm, you should be able to mark certain IP addresses as 'trusted' so any traffic coming from one of those IPs is ok. Usually this is done on an IP and Port basis, but I think there's a way to trust the IP competely.

FYI I just downloaded the manual for your router, it mentions DHCP but doesn't have a screenshot or list the default address range. I'm assuming from what you've said that the address rainge is low ... probably through .100 or something ... so the static range would be up high. Verify this in your configuration first though.
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thank you both much for the input. i will try these ideas and report back!
I'll chime in with a warning here.

I used to use static IP addresses on both my Replays and both DVArchive machines. Didn't really think I was having any issues, but occasionally things would get a bit wacky and the easiest way to fix everything was to reboot both Replays and both DVArchive machines. Never thought it was related to the IP addresses.

Then I installed a Cisco wireless access point. One of the features of it's web interface was the ability to see not only wireless devices that were connected, but also wired devices on the network. One day things started going south with my connectivity, and I happened to look at this screen and found that both replays had a DHCP assigned address that was different than the static address. I had previously been warned about exactly this behavior by Gerry, the DVArchive author.

I fixed my problem by using a DHCP server that allowed my to dynamically assign a fixed IP address to the Replay's MAC address. So the Replays are set to DHCP and no matter how often they ask for an address they always get the same one.

I haven't had a single issue with connectivity since doing this.

The problem with the Replay getting multiple IP addresses is definitely real. I was in denial for awhile but I've seen the light. :)

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that is very interesting ... perhaps this is the dhcp bug plyons was referring to?

the fixed IP's you mention are called DHCP Reservations (stating this more for btrcp than yuo) ... most software based (and I'd imagine some of the more expensive hardware based) DHCP servers offer this. They basically tell the server to set a given IP aside for a given mac address, and whenever that device requests an address it is given the reserved one.

it effectively creates a static ip like situation, while allowing the client PC to be configured for a dynamic address. Particularly useful when you want roaming machines (laptops) to have the same address on your network but not have to manually change their IP settings when they come and go.

The downside is that most home broadband routers don't have this option ... so you're stuck with dynamic or static.

You could perhaps disable DHCP at your router ... and get a free DHCP server (i'm sure they exist) for your windows box that acts as your 'server'. (or if you're running windows server there's one built in)
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That is exactly what the DHCP bug is!

The underlying OS (VxWorks) may renew / request an IP address without communicating this to the Replay software layer.

This is why I recommend either turning DHCP off entirely, or severly limiting the range of available leasees so that there is almost never an address available to an errant Replay.

Of course, MAC address binding (or DHCP reservations) is the ideal way to resolve this, but as noted, most home users cannot easily implement this.
Wat is the difference between a "dynamically assigned fixed address" and a static address?
This exact problem is what prompted me to ditch my Linksys router and replace it with the free Linux based ClarkConnect Firewall / Router on an old Pentium PC.

The problem was I needed DHCP turned on in my home network to allow me to use my work laptop at home or at work. But, when DHCP was on, my Replays would keep on losing site of each other (the DHCP bug).

The only option I could find that would work was to enable DHCP, but reserve addresses for the Replays based on their MAC addresses. My Linksys could not do this.

The Home version of the Clarkconnect software is free, and allows you to assign fixed IP addresses based on MAC address.

My network has never been more stable or secure, and the ClarkConnect firewall / router has added several other advantages for remote access that I didn't have before (Secure remote connections via SSH is one big one). Plus, it was completely free to implement.

As Pylons10 stated, most home users will not easily be able to implement this type solution, but I had little trouble and my Linux experience was very limited. For me it was definitely worth the work and learning curve to do it.
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