Ever hear of a Static IP address? You might not have, but it’s one of the more powerful techniques you can employ to take control of devices connected to your home network and, more importantly, use them to their maximum potential. If a connected device doesn’t have a static IP address, then your router is free to choose whatever IP address it wants (typically the lowest available at the time) during the normal IP release and renewal process that all routers perform on a regular basis. Depending on the amount of time your router “leases” a device an IP address, this could mean that your Wi-Fi-enabled Smartphone might have a different IP address each and every time you come home from work and connect to your network.
These changes won’t make a lick of difference when you’re just surfing the Internet, but they could greatly impact your ability to use more advanced applications within your network — including apps that stream music or video to your phone, peer-to-peer file sharing, and apps like UltraVNC that remote-connect you to your desktop or laptop, or the process of backing up files to a network storage device.
In short, if you use an application that requires you to manually type in an IP address for the application to work within your network, then this IP address should always match a specific device on your network. Take peer-to-peer file sharing, for example. If, for whatever reason, you can’t get Universal Plug and Play-based Port Mapping to work between your software and your router, you’re going to have to manually forward ports from your router to your computer in order to maximize your download and upload speeds. You’ll have to keep on editing your port forwarding settings in your router configuration screen if your laptop keeps receiving a new IP address once per week. Yuck.
Given how simple it is to do — a far easier process than trying to do it from Windows, I note — there’s really no reason why setting up a static IP address from your outer shouldn’t be one of the things you do when configuring your network. It’s easy, it’s quick, and it leads to a lifetime of networking simplicity and application support.
Here’s how to do it in five easy steps:
- Fire up your D-Link router’s Web configuration screen and click on its Setup tab.
- From there, click on Network Settings on the sidebar.
- Scroll down to the Add DHCP Reservation section, check the Enable box and add your device’s name.
- Add your device’s IP Address and MAC Address. The IP Address you choose will need to fall within your router’s DHCP UP Address Range (see the DHCP Server Settings section directly above). You should be able to locate your devices MAC Address on the bottom of the device itself.
- Click Save.