What to do when your IP starts with 169.254.xxx.xxx

If you check your computers IP address and it shows an IP address starting with 169.254.xxx.xxx more than likely what ever device or computer that acts as a DHCP server has an issue.

Some symptoms you might notice besides the strange IP address are:

  • You can access shared files on other computers but not other network resources
  • You can’t access the internet

So how do you fix it?

This depends on your network setup but the most basic and simple initial step is to reboot the device that provides DHCP. This may be a router or could be a windows server, if you’re unsure of which device provides DHCP you should contact your IT department or external provider for assistance.

Once you’ve done this step you can disable then re-enable your network device and see if you get a new IP address. If your address no longer starts with 169.254.xxx.xxx your DHCP server is now working again – however you should probably investigate further in to why it failed in the first place.

If you’ve rebooted your DHCP device and you are still having issues the next step would be to set your computer to have an IP address that is in the same range as the rest of your equipment manually. For example if you know your main internet routers IP address is and has a subnet of then set your computers address to be and gateway – If you get a message saying that there is an IP address conflict change the last set of digits on to something different (anything between .2-.254).

Once you’ve manually set your address try and ping different devices on your network – if you can ping your devices that’s a good sign, more than likely its just your DHCP server thats failed and not your network equipment. If you can’t, well then you need to start looking at your network infrastructure overall because its got bigger issues!

If you were able to ping everything you then need to connect in to your device that does DHCP and check – is DHCP even enabled?

Enabling/Re-Enabling DHCP Servers

Home Router

On a standard internet router there is normally a section that says use router as DHCP server. Check that it is on and make sure that the DHCP range that is configured matches your network and has enough IP addresses available to allocate to all of your devices. Most routers will require rebooting for the change to take effect.

Windows Servers

If you are using a windows server you can check services.msc and ensure that DHCP Server has started, if it has not – right click on the service and go to “Start” hopefully it will start normally, then you can check that it is set to automatically start so that you don’t have to fix the issue again. If there is a problem you normally we see an error and can investigate further.


If you are using linux it depends on what DHCP server software you are running – I normally use isc-dhcp-server and raspbian on a Raspberry Pi. To restart that server type the following:

sudo service isc-dhcp-server restart

Again, if there are errors they should display but if there is not the service should start with no issues.

Once you’ve managed to get your DHCP server up and running again all you should need to do is re-configure your network adaptor to obtain an IP address automatically – and you should be able to get your normal DHCP assigned IP address and will be able to access your network devices and the internet again.

Why use DHCP in the first place?

DHCP allows you to allocate IP addresses automatically and you can configure the addresses, gateways and DNS servers that each device will be given – and that’s on the most basic level, DHCP has more abilities that are helpful in network environments (for example google DHCP Option 66) Without DHCP you would need to manually set every single devices IP address – and – if you ever have a network change you’d have to reconfigure all of your devices manually for things to be able to “talk” (network) again. Would you really want to do that on a network of say 100 computers? I certainly wouldn’t.

I am often surprised to find some offices and point of sale setups where another provider has not even bothered to set up DHCP. The excuses that are given by some people I find even more surprising – my favourite I hear all the time is “But I don’t want the addresses to change” – there are very few circumstances where this is a valid argument in those environments. It’s important to remember that even if you are using DHCP you can still use “address reservation” which will ensure that certain devices always receive the same IP address.

How does that differ from a static address?

If you set up DHCP to use address reservation and you had to replace your DHCP server or device that provides a DHCP server you’ll get a new IP address (unless of course you actually copy the configuration from your old server as well then address reservation would be enabled right?) – whereas with a static IP address it never changes at all unless you manually reconfigure it to something else.

If you’re setting up a network strongly consider whether a static IP address is actually required. Generally there are only a few devices that should have static IP addresses and they are not your standard office computers.

Why I configure networks using DHCP

The reason I always use DHCP is if one of our customers purchased a new modem, or their ISP sends them a new one because the old one is broken and they attempt to set it up themselves the computers should ask for an IP address from the DHCP server from the new router – no equipment needs reconfiguration.

In larger office environments it also allows for greater control over exactly what network addresses and other settings you want client computers to use and is manageable from a single point.

I’m still having trouble can you help?

If you are still having issues with your networking setup feel free to contact us






Repeating Wireless Signals

We get asked this a lot and I think there is a lot of confusion between repeating a wireless network and “extending” it.

Netgear had a few products a while back that did the extending trick, but the issue with them is that they create a second SSID for devices to connect to. Devices that can properly repeat networks will maintain the same SSID and devices that do this particularly well will prevent your device from dropping a connection as they move between the repeating points.

The problem with using range extenders – as listed above is that your device will drop connection from the first network, then reconnect to the new SSID – this works OK, until your device realises the other network and then can’t quite figure out whether it should connect to the first SSID or the extended one then drops out.

There are two manufacturers that we have used for doing repeating wireless networks (there are a lot more than two manufacturers that are capable of this though).

The first is Apple – using an Apple Airport Extreme and an Apple Airport Express. The extreme provides the network that the Airport Express can then connect to and repeat. They are relatively simple to set up using the Airport Utility Tool – however, if you don’t have that they can not really be configured. This setup also allows some other nifty features such as Airplay and USB sharing.

The second is TP-Link. If you have any TP-Link Modems or routers you should be able to repeat them with one of these – a TP-Link WR702N¬†– this nifty device can repeat your existing network and once its configure you can just go and plug it in somewhere that has signal and it will repeat happily. Another advantage of this device and the Airport Express is making connection to a wired device without running a cable to it. Both devices have LAN ports for connecting cabled devices, which can be very useful in apartment buildings or sites where you can’t really knock holes in walls.

We’ve found it best practice to have the main router doing DHCP then assigning the wireless repeaters outside of the DHCP range so that everything can continue talking over the network even back through the repeating points. Be aware though that the TP-LINK WR702N should have its firmware updated before you deploy it, as some of the older firmware versions had issues that caused settings to be wiped or reset.