What Is a Static IP Address? Here’s Why You Don’t Need One
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Every device on a computer network has an Internet Protocol (IP) address. It’s just like a phone number, telling other computers how it can be reached.

It’s the job of your router to assign a new IP address when a device joins the network and maintain a phone book of who has what number.

A static IP address (also known as fixed IP address) is simply one that doesn’t change. Your computer decides upon the address it wants, and it tells the router. But why would you want to set this up, and is there a better solution?

What Is a Static IP Address?

When we talk about IP addresses of home computers, we are usually referring to two types of address.

First is your public IP address. That’s the one that the world sees, and every internet connection, website, or public-facing web-connected thing will have one. If you ask Google “What is my IP address?”, it’ll tell you what your public IP address is, as given to you by your ISP (note, if you’re using a VPN, this will come from your VPN provider instead).

screenshot of asking google what is my ip

Then you have internal, private IPs, which are only used on your home network. Even if you only have one computer, it will have a private IP address assigned by your router. Private IP addresses cannot be routed over the internet and are strictly for private use. They look exactly the same: four numbers up to 255, with a period in between.

There are a few possible ranges of private IP address, but for most home users this will be 192.168.*.* or 10.0.*.* (where * can be anything).

Your router itself also has an IP address, likely 192.168.0.1. Your home computers might then be anything in the range of 192.168.0.2 to 192.168.0.254. Most routers will just assign internal addresses on a first come first served basis.

The first computer you plug into the router will send out a network request saying “I need an IP address”, and will be assigned 192.168.0.2. The next device will get 192.168.0.3.

Your public IP address is not generally something you can change—it is given to you automatically by your internet provider. If you’re sure you want a static public IP address, the easiest way is to use a specialist VPN service, which costs around $70/year. You may be able to get one from your ISP, but this is rare, and typically reserved for business customers.

The truth is that you almost certainly don’t need a static external IP address, and even if you’re sure you do, a Dynamic DNS server 5 Best Dynamic DNS Providers You Can Use for Free Today 5 Best Dynamic DNS Providers You Can Use for Free Today With DynDNS gone, here are the best free dynamic DNS providers, services, and DDNS alternatives to replace it. Read More might be a better choice.

But on your home network, you can do whatever you want, free of charge. So let’s look at why you might want to get static private IP for your home PC… and then I’ll show you the much better way of doing things.

photo of a router and switch

Why Would I Need a Static Private IP Address?

In the past, you needed a static private IP address for a computer if you were trying to run a server that was open to the internet. For example:

DIY Web Server

In order to set up a web server on your home network How to Build a Linux Web Server With an Old Computer How to Build a Linux Web Server With an Old Computer Read More that is accessible by anyone in the world, you need to forward incoming requests on port 80 (What is port forwarding? What Is Port Forwarding & How Can It Help Me? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Port Forwarding & How Can It Help Me? [MakeUseOf Explains] Do you cry a little inside when someone tells you there’s a port forwarding problem and that’s why your shiny new app won’t work? Your Xbox won’t let you play games, your torrent downloads refuse... Read More ) to whatever computer is running your web server. If your server was to restart, it would get a new IP from the router. The port forwarding rule you created to send requests on port 80 to the old server IP address wouldn’t work anymore. Your website would be offline, even though your server itself may be functional.

Retro Gaming

With some older routers and gaming consoles, you needed to forward certain ports in order to play online multiplayer games. Modern routers include a system called Universal Plug’n’Play What Is UPnP & Why Is It Dangerous? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is UPnP & Why Is It Dangerous? [MakeUseOf Explains] Technology in the computer age has been plagued with unsecured features, security loopholes, and general oversights in software architecture. Flash drives can carry keyloggers. Browsers might have open backdoors. Windows constantly updates with security fixes.... Read More , which sets up port forwarding rules automatically when needed.

Disadvantages of a Static IP Address

Fixed IPs need to be configured manually. You will need to make a few changes to your router configuration. In this respect, they are said to have an “administration overhead,” because you need to keep track of the settings yourself. For home networks, this usually isn’t an issue with only a few machines to worry about. But for larger networks, this is quite a problem.

Incorrect configurations will lead to more IP address conflict errors. For example, if you set one of your machines to the IP address 192.168.0.10, and your router continues to hand out IP addresses automatically, then at some point, another machine will be given the same IP! Basically, static IPs can be quite problematic.

In short: don’t use static IPs. 

What You Should Use Instead: Reserved Addresses

Instead of having to manually configure the settings on every PC we want to give a static IP address to, we will simply “reserve” the address we want to be given from the router’s automatic IP address system. By doing this, we ensure our machines have an IP address that will never change, without actually assigning a static IP address, which would complicate things.

Instructions on how to do this will vary depending on your router manufacturer and model.

If your router isn’t covered by that list, then generally speaking: look for a section labeled DHCP or LAN Setup. Then find a bit for Static Leases or Reserved Lease Info.

There are two or more fields that need to be filled in to add a new IP address reservation. First is the hardware MAC address (six pairs of alphanumeric characters), which is unique to every device in the world. Second is the IP you wish to assign it.

You should be able to see your MAC address in the list of current “leases”. A lease refers to the address that the router has automatically lent to your device. You may also just have a screen that shows an overview of currently connected devices.

unifi network showing currently connected devices

In the following example, we’ve added a DHCP Reservation for the device with the MAC address E0:CB:4E:A5:7C:9D, currently with IP 192.168.0.10.

static ip address

You can also change the IP address to something new if you like, but you will need to restart the device in order to get the new address.

That’s it! You can keep your special routing rules the same, and if a device or server restarts, it’ll simply be given the same IP next time. If you found this tutorial helpful, you should also check out our beginner’s guide to home networking Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Setting up a home network is not as hard as you think it is. Read More .

Image Credit: Todja/Shutterstock

Explore more about: Computer Networks, IP Address, Network Tips, Router.

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  1. Doug Rafferty
    June 10, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Brilliant article. Setting up AD in the office. Couldn't get my head around how a static ip address would work in a hotel or the airport. Reserved addresses are the solution.

  2. Indrashis Chakraborty
    April 13, 2018 at 7:36 am

    What if the router itself is restarted ? Will the assigned IP addresses still be static ? I have a xiaomi wifi router (mi-wifi). Can you please explain me the steps for allocating a static ip to at least one computer within it's network ?

  3. Alexis
    March 28, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I have a question partly related... partly unrelated. I have a home security camera overlooking my front doorstep. It is connected to the dvr in my livingroom which enables me to view the live footage on my tv also connected to the dvr. I would like to be able to view the footage live when i am not home via the internet. I have tried to change the ip settings and the port forwarding options through the dvr’s setting screen but still can’t get it to work. Do i need to make my dvr ip addresd static so that it will always be the same? So i can log into that same ip address and it will always be my live feed? If you can’t help me, maybe you could point me in the right direction of someone/somewhere to check? Thanks for your help!!
    Alexis

    • James Bruce
      March 28, 2018 at 9:38 am

      A static IP address probably won't help here. If you'd like to access your home network but the IP changes, look at the comment below for the link to dynamic DNS providers, which will give you a URL that never changes, and will update when your IP does.

      As for the issue of not being able to connect: If you've setup port forwarding correctly, I suspect you're trying to type in your local IP address (something like 192.168.*** or 10.0.*** ) rather than your public IP. Type "what is my ip?" into Google to find your public address. That's where your router lives, so once you hit that IP with the correct port (the one you set up to forward), it will forward the request to your local network IP with that camera.

      HOWEVER. I would strongly suggest not doing this. DVR and security camera are the most insecure devices around, mainly because they're almost never updated. There's a long list of exploits and backdoors for them. If you do need to access your security camera from outside your network, I'd suggest investing in something from a known brand with a cloud authenticated solution - like the Nest Cam Outdoor. It's just not safe to open your DVR or generic IP cam to the wider world.

  4. Simeon
    February 1, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Hey James, you mentioned about an economic alternative to getting a static IP, by getting a "dynamic address that updates itself"? - This is new to me. I have a business and my accounting software's server is in one location and the client in another, in our branch office. We were spending a fortune all this time paying for a static IP so that the client can connect to the server. How do you get a dynamic IP that updates itself? Please explain

    • James Bruce
      February 1, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Hi Simeon - here's an article on free services we did: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-best-dynamic-dns-providers-can-lookup-free-today/ - though they may be restricted for business use. If so, just search for "dynamic IP provider" or "Dynamic DNS", and you should find some good low cost ones.

      Essentially, you would tell your client to connect to a URL instead of an IP address. simeonsbusiness.dyndns.com, for instance. On your end, you have a small piece of software that updates dyndns when your IP changes, so the URL always resolves to the correct place.

  5. Andy Wernham
    January 29, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    If you assign a fixed ip address to a laptop (by assigning it on the computer's wireless configuration), what happens when you take this laptop to another location? Will it be assigned an address by DHCP or will it fail to connect until you change the settings?

    • James Bruce
      January 29, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      It would only apply on that wireless network, so when you jump onto a different Wi-Fi, it will revert to fetching from DHCP.

      You really shouldn't assign a static IP anyway. If you need the IP to not change, use the router IP reservation to make sure it's always assigned the same IP over DHCP.

  6. Noorquacker
    September 13, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Well...you should've said something about having it a local static IP address instead of a global IP, I'm still wondering if I need to request an IP address from ARIN to get a static IP.

    • James Bruce
      September 14, 2017 at 8:46 am

      You can't request a static IP from ARIN. Residential ISPs don't offer static IPs. They are very expensive, and the articles explain exactly why you don't need one.

  7. Trevor Jones
    May 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Brilliant info and in lay mans language, thank you do much.

  8. Zwe
    April 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Good day, I have a related question. I have WiFi router and have just added an Access Point using an older router. I now realise that my computers (laptop and desktop) do not pick up the connection on the AP. I set a static address on the route and disabled DHCP...I ve followed all the guides, videos, command prompt actions on the net- this is unresolved. I get the message "no internet, secured" on both the Windows 7 laptop and Win 10 desktop.

    Our mobile phones can connect on this AP - its just the computers. I have tried to match the security settings "WAP2-Personal/AES" etc to no avail. Strangely, when I move both machines to the room that has the main router they connect automatically!

    Could this be the static IP address/ Firewall / Anti V software!

  9. Arpad
    February 6, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Hi James,

    Thanks again.
    Now I have a related question (related to wireless but not to static IP):

    Which is better; being on the same channel as others, since the default channels automatically selected by most routers are 1, 6 and 11, and that way interference is low… or manually set a different channel, let’s say 3 or 9 that nobody else uses in my neighborhood, but these might get lots of interference from all the automatically set routers defaulting to the 1-6-11 channels?

    Thanks.

  10. Arpad
    February 6, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Hi James,

    Thanks for this very detailed guide.

    My main concern is my wireless printer and that after each power outage I’m unable to print wirelessly – I somehow have to restart the printer and/or add it again to the network manually.
    Could it be that with a static/reserved IP address this wouldn’t be the case?
    Now I’ve set a static IP address via the printer’s web interface, since my router seems to forget the reserved DHCP address each time I restart the router.
    Now it works, I can print on this static IP address.
    I’m curious whether there will be any problem after a power outage when I want to print from my Chromebook via Google Cloud Print… time will tell…

  11. Sabrina Lake
    January 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I am trying to set up my security cameras in my store and I was told I need a static IP.... so this is what I do have...I have a WiFi router with a sim card in it with my cell service provider. I have 8 wifi cameras and the control box they hook up to and I have a computer monitor that I hook up to the control box to set everything up. This system also comes with an app so I can view the cameras on my phone live. My goal is to do exactly that....view my cameras on my phone no matter where in the world I am. So my question is this...how do I set up a static IP for my system?

    • James Bruce
      January 16, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Who told you you need a static IP? You don't. And you likely can't get one anyway, without paying your ISP a separate fee for a fixed line, if they even offer the service, which they probably don't. Instead, you can use a dynamic DNS service: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-best-dynamic-dns-providers-can-lookup-free-today/

      These give you a web address, basically, and update automatically when your IP changes. If you have a computer running on the network, you can use client software on that to update the IP. Or your router may support it. In some cases you get a free one with your router. For instance, my netgear router allows me to set up one dynamic address and automatically handles updating the IP if it changes.

      You might not even need to do that, though. Many DVR security systems will automatically open themselves through the router. I can log in to this Reolink system and view from anywhere: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/reolink-diy-security-adk8-20b4-review/ . So it may just be a case of forwarding a specific port or enabling UPnP on your router, tweaking the security settings to allow it through.

      Without knowing exactly what system you have and taking a look at your router config, it's tough to give a better answer, but you certainly don't need a static IP. Check with your security system support team first, they will be able to better advise (unless they're the ones that said you need a static IP...)

      • Dan
        May 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

        Can you help me out? Same situation. Tyco is installing security cameras and told me I either need a public static IP or need to setup port forwarding. I tried to setup port forwarding and get an error... On my comcast business gateway I setup the port range for forwarding to ports 8000-8010, choose TCP/UDP protocol, and then enter the IP address that they are going to put the camera on, which is 10.0.1.70. When I do this I get an error "Server IP isn't in LAN IP address subnet."

        Our network consists of Comcast Business gateway that I can access by going to 10.1.10.1. Connected to the Comcast Business gateway is an Apple Wireless router with the IP address 10.1.10.10. When I go to command prompt and type ipconfig, my local computer which is connected wirelessly to the Apple Wireless router, gives the IPv4 address of 10.0.1.31 and the default gateway is 10.0.1.1. Why am I getting the error when I try to setup port forwarding and how can I fix it???

  12. Pauline
    October 27, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Thanks. Helped me out. Very useful tip!

  13. Clarence Myrick
    October 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I have a envy 4500 printer & every time i try to print it says printer off line l think the ip address is changing causeing this, have uninstalled & reinstalled several times but still says offline,
    Any suggestions to what causeing this

  14. Muhammad Taha
    August 6, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Hi, i want to forward my port for Cs 1.6. someone told me that i need a static ip . Please would you tell me that can i get a static Ip through Command Prompt Such as using "ipconfig" or another tool that might help. Thanks Looking forward for your reply thanks.

    • James Bruce
      August 6, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      You can't. You need access to the router config, then you can assign a reserved IP address, not a static IP.

  15. Abu-Hafss
    August 2, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Hi

    I want to maintain a database server at my home which I want to access remotely from my office or on the go.

    Will a static IP do the job or I might need a dedicated IP for the server.

    Regards

    Abu-Hafss

  16. Anonymous
    July 19, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Yes. I've debased myself to the point of checking the phone.

    Samsung S6

  17. Anonymous
    July 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Why would someone's history show:

    static.bada.com
    google search
    static.bada.com
    google search

    And so on. It's not done for any other internet browsing and not even for all google seearches.

    Also, this person doesn't know how to delete history or use incognito.

    I won't bother you anymore. Thanks.

    • James Bruce
      July 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      static.bada.com contains resources for an old Samsung smartphone running Bada OS, so I assume you're checking their phone, and it's a Samsung phone?

  18. Wren Cage
    July 19, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Is this a way someone could hide his internet search history?

    Signed,
    The Suspicious Wife

    • James Bruce
      July 19, 2016 at 8:54 am

      ... no. Clearing search history is a trivial matter anyway, and they would probably use "incognito" mode, which doesn't even save the history in the first place.

  19. christine
    July 1, 2016 at 7:43 am

    hello,

    i'm having a software/website developed for work. i was told that i need to have static IP for the query to access the data from an opc server. I only have 1 computer that needs to access the opc server. my question is, can i do the "reserved addresses" approach? Thanks!

    • James Bruce
      July 1, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Assuming your OPC server is on the local network and not at a remote location, yes, you should be fine using a reserved address. If it's a remote server, over the internet, then you would need an actual, static IP address from your ISP.

  20. Jacob Polasek
    June 28, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    My ISP put us on a static IP and now im having issue with almost every device in the house i tried manually assigning the ps4 an IP address on the router and even forwarded the ports it needs to that ip but it seems that its still haveing trouble it days it connected but the psn doesnt always connect and the service status of the psn is just fine also sometimes it lets me connect and other times it wont let me connect at all and with that aslo it will continue to download updates no problem even though i cant get online to play games any idea what im doing wrong?

    • James Bruce
      June 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Static IP shouldn't make a difference to anything on the internal network. You also shouldn't need to assign IPs, and port forwarding is not really necessary nowadays. Find the section for "uPnP" in your router configuration, and make sure it's enabled. Switch back to DHCP ip assignment internally.

      To be clear, PSN can download updates and browse the web even if ports are not being forwarded. Gaming required open ports though. By using uPnP, the correct ports will always be opened.

  21. RL
    March 3, 2016 at 3:52 am

    So the old fashion way is to set private static IP from the computer network settings and you're saying the better way is to "reserve" set a static IP from the router interface? Is this correct?o need to change anything on the compuer netwok setting?

    • James Bruce
      March 3, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Yes, use reserved IPs instead, which are centrally managed from the router interface. You'll need to change the individual PCs to use the standard DHCP method to fetch an IP address. The router will know to assign them the same IP each time since it's reserved, even though the PCs will think they're getting a dynamic address each time.

      The problem with static routing is that the router doesnt know about it, so it may create overlaps accidentally, and if you have lots of devices (like IoT sensors), you might yourself forget what you assigned already elsewhere.

  22. Ionut Iustin Radu
    February 14, 2016 at 9:04 am

    I got few quess,
    I want to make my PC live, like a server can I do that on computer?
    Do I need a new device to attach on the modem wifi?

    I means I want a IP for my computer on localhost to puch some stuffs on internet.

  23. Anonymous
    November 2, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you very much you made my day.I urgently wanted to change my ip from my mobile internet provider by going to aeroplane mod it's been changed Thanks.

  24. Anonymous
    October 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks. This information really helped me!!!!

  25. Anonymous
    June 25, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Hello Good Day to all of you! I am having trouble with the internet connection on my smart tv. I have a 4 port modem router, I use 2 of the ports (both connected via ethernet cable) 1 is for this pc and 2nd is for my smart tv. My computer is working just fine but my smart tv at first is also working just fine but later on wont connect to the internet I checked the settings wherein the IP address is 0.0.0.0 subnet mask is 255.255.255.255 default gateway and dns both has a value of 0.0.0.0 pls help

    • Deep Saha
      January 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

      ip address is not assigned thats the problem , either assign the ip manually else re-plug the wire and also select obtain ip automatically on the adapter settings..and make sure dynamic ip is enabled on router

  26. Anonymous
    June 25, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Hi I have bought an Android Digital Signage screen that has server/ software that installs on another computer, and from that computer I can connect to the screen and update the content.
    This is easy on a LAN but for a WAN the company told me I need to purchase a Static IP. I looked into it and apparently with my internet plan I get one free.

    So I understand how to make a computer have a static IP & reserve it. and my external IP is static. SO the Android screen gives me two fields "this units name" & "IP to connect to" SO what do I put in as the IP? I dont understand how to make the android find the server software when its on a computer on my network behind the router? Confused.

    Thanks for any help

    • James Bruce
      June 25, 2015 at 7:38 am

      You don't really need a static IP, but it helps. Most internet connections nowadays keep the same IP until you restart the router anyway - mine hasnt changed in 3 months. You just need to setup port forwarding on your router. To do that, you'll need to first find the port number that the signage software connects to - ask the company for this if there's no option to configure it.

      Then following the port forwarding bit of this tutorial, but substitute your specific port number and local IP address: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/give-your-arduino-project-its-own-mini-webserver-with-an-ethernet-shield/

      Then you'll give your static IP to the software, it'll attempt to connect, and your router will "forward" requests on that port, to your internal machine running the signage.

      If you cant figure out your public IP address - the one you'll use to access from the outside world - just ask google "whats my ip".

      • Martine
        May 27, 2016 at 9:35 am

        Hi there, I'm having issues with my Xbox one on multi player. Is there anyway you can help with this? My internet speed is great but I lag severely. Thank you in advance :)

    • James Bruce
      June 25, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Actually this guide on port forwarding might be better: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-is-port-forwarding-and-how-can-it-help-me/

  27. David
    April 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I'm a university student and I'm currently having TONS of trouble with my university's wi-fi network. It turns out that the administration is focusing all of its resources into making the wi-fi fast. This means that the wi-fi network can deliver about 100 mbps up and down. And yet here I am still using the ancient CAT3 ethernet plugs (capped at 10 mbps) whenever I can around campus, because the wi-fi network is SO FREAKING UNSTABLE. It disconnects EXTREMELY often, especially when running game clients which require a constant connection between server and client. I've contacted support and they have looked at my computer, drivers, configuration of local APs, and they say everything is 100% ok. Yet 4 weeks after they closed the support ticket saying they cannot find absolutely any problem, here I am still getting disconnected every 5 minutes when i'm not plugged into the wall. My university uses DHCP to assign IP addresses over our "Secure" network. After doing some reading into the meaning of "DHCP" and static IP addresses, and also after reading the university policy on assigning static IP addresses, I'm starting to suspect that the conglomerate of IP addresses I'm being assigned is causing my network adapter to keep wanting to roam from one AP to the other. My question is, am I justified in sending a support ticket to request a static IP address while I'm on campus?

    TL;DR version: I suspect DHCP is causing my wi-fi adapter to constantly disconnect and reconnect to my university's Wi-fi network , because I have contacted support multiple times and they have looked at my computer, wi-fi adapter, their local APs, and have said that they cannot find any problem. Should I request a static IP address?

    • James Bruce
      April 23, 2015 at 7:12 am

      It's highly unlikely that this would be caused by DHCP, and they wouldn't assign you an IP address anyway.

      The truth is that WiFi sucks, and there's a million things that can go wrong with it - driver issues, a faulty bit of hardware, or interference from elsewhere. If others don't have the same issue, you can narrow it down your hardware or drivers. Depending on your setup, I would suggest either borrowing a USB WiFi to have a go with that instead (your university might have one they can lend you), or try a linux live CD (assuming your hardware is supported, which it might not be). The WiFi adapters built into older Windows laptops are particularly terrible as a lot of them rely more on the software than the hardware.

  28. Manas
    March 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Very nice article,I was actually finding how to configuring port forwarding on a dynamic ip.This procedure helped me :)

  29. Aibek
    February 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    thanks for the input

  30. Jack Cola
    February 21, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I have a static IP, and I use a service called DYNDNS.org which I enter into my router and updates my IP automatically, so I can access my computer remotely through a domain name.

    And for further reader, if you want to know the answer of the question "Can people find out where you live by knowing your IP address", you should read this post I wrote http://www.jackcola.org/blog/114-can-people-find-my-home-address-through-my-ip-address

    (By the way, they can)

  31. Jack Cola
    February 21, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I have a static IP, and I use a service called DYNDNS.org which I enter into my router and updates my IP automatically, so I can access my computer remotely through a domain name.

    And for further reader, if you want to know the answer of the question "Can people find out where you live by knowing your IP address", you should read this post I wrote http://www.jackcola.org/blog/1...

    (By the way, they can)

  32. MinaHany
    February 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    This was very useful and informative..
    I had no idea that an IP can be reserved for a certain Hardware ID
    Thanks!

  33. MinaHany
    February 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    This was very useful and informative..
    I had no idea that an IP can be reserved for a certain Hardware ID
    Thanks!