Any advantages to static IP's on a home network?

As home networks were first becoming a thing, it seemed that some of my devices would have IP address conflicts. I don’t know why. Maybe DHCP wasn’t running properly. At any rate, I got into the habit of assigning IP addresses instead of handing them out automatically. Now, it’s several years later and I don’t do it anymore, particularly not for mobile devices since I never know whose or how many are going to be on my network.

Still, something is nagging at me about my non-mobile devices. I have a Blu-Ray, a Wii, a satellite receiver and a smart tv all on my network. Does it make any sense to assign static IP’s to them or should I just leave well enough alone? If I did, I would put them higher up in the address range than the router typically gives out, usually somewhere in the 100-200 range for the last octet.

I have a mix on mine. The big advantage of static IP’s is for hosting services: your NAT router can direct incoming traffic to different machines based on port. I also use it more casually to “ping” something from the bedroom if I need to make sure it’s up, or to connect some TCP process manually.

For mobile devices and other internet appliances, I normally let them use DHCP (like your plan: in a range separate from what I assign as static). But my router can do priority traffic to specific IPs, so give the Apple TV it’s own static address to boost the reliability of streaming to it.

Static, or reserved dynamic (see below) addresses are simpler because you can be absolutely sure of the IP address. That said, dynamic IP addresses tend not to change - but you can’t be sure. Dynamic IP addresses can make analysing log files more difficult, too.

If you give your devices static IP addresses, be sure to give them addresses outside the scope of the DHCP server, but within your subnet. Or turn off the DHCP server.

However, instead you should consider instead giving them a DHCP reservation. That is, the router recognises the MAC address (a unique 12 digit hexadecimal number) and assigns a specific address. As an extra layer of security, you could set your router to only recognise the pre-programmed MAC addresses and reject all others, though this will cause problems when you have friends and family around.

I use static IP addresses for the things that are on ethernet, then a DHCP range that starts above the end of the static range for things on wi-fi. It just seems tidier to me.

I used static IPs for a long, long time because of the simplicity of controlling access, mapping things like printers, etc. I stay with static IPs for servers and my main workstations, but finally let everything else go dynamic. Too many laptops, tablets, phones and visiting firemen to screw around with static-only any more.

When I do a reservation, do I still tell the device to request the specific IP or do I have it get one automatically and let the router figure it out based on MAC address?

My router requires a specific IP when port forwarding, so I have my desktop set to reserve the address all the ports I need are forwarded to.

immature chortle

The device requests an IP address via DHCP, but the router recognises that that device is to be given a particular IP address.

As an aside, this makes managing IP addresses much easier. I changed a work network of ~400 devices from static IP addresses to 100% reserved addresses to make managing them much easier. We couldn’t use dynamic addresses because some elderly business-critical devices could not cope with Dynamic DNS.

Probably not for a blu-ray player, maybe for other things. I can control all my lights over the internet, so I have a fixed IP on my lighting server so I can connect with it remotely. Kind of fun to turn my porch light on and off from California.

My gear get static assignments in the 1-99 range (broken up as 1-10 are servers/NAS, 10-20 PCs, then game systems, AV stuff, IP phones, etc). That way I easily recognize devices in log files, and anything unexpected joining the network sticks out since it’s 100+.

IMHO, static IPs have only distinct disadvantages. Forget the IP and you end up with an IP Cam or an access point or something stuck out in the middle of nowhere, whereas a simple check on your DHCP server logs otherwise shows exactly where it is. Also, you can’t take it anywhere; if you have a PSP or laptop with a static IP assignment, it becomes a PITA to get internet access anywhere else.