Odd IP address behavior

Something unusual happened with my network recently (unusual at least in my decidedly lay-person’s experience). After months of working flawlessly, one day the Aurender Conductor app on my iPad lost connection with the Aurender streamer, and it couldn’t be restored by any of the usual means. The network was up and running fine. I rebooted the iPad, made sure its wifi connection to the network was good, as was Bluetooth. The even though the streamer itself appeared to be connected to the network just fine, I rebooted it, just for giggles. When it came back up and I confirmed it was on the network, I had the Conductor app search for it. It couldn’t find it. I knew the streamer’s IP address, so I tried to recreate the connection in Conductor manually by entering all the necessary unit identification info for the streamer, including its IP address. The app said the IP address was invalid, so no connection made.

That was frustrating enough, but two things added an element of mystery: 1) the streamer could be operated fine from its minimal front-panel controls, so it was on the network and was able to play music; and 2) even stranger, the Conductor Lite app on my iPhone connected to it without any problem, showing the streamer at its usual IP address, and I was able to control it from that device. Apparently only the iPad app was unable to find the streamer.

I emailed Aurender for help, and they said after all the other troubleshooting stuff I’d already tried, the only fix they could think of was to reboot my modem/router. I figured what the hell, and gave it a shot, even though it’s a minor pain and takes several minutes to complete (and I had to make sure my wife wasn’t watching or recording anything on TV). After everything was back up and running, I opened the app on the iPad, and sure enough, it connected to the streamer just fine, with the streamer at the same IP address it’s always used, and which the app had previously told me was invalid.

When I told Aurender support that it worked, though I couldn’t understand why, all they could tell me was that the iPad’s IP address had probably expired, and the router didn’t renew its lease, and that rebooting the network side of it would refresh all those settings (I don’t know squat about networks, but it seems to me if the problem was with the iPad’s IP address, the iPad would have no network functionality at all, but that wasn’t the case - I could open browser windows, email, social media, you name it). They said I could also go into the iPad’s settings and reset all of its network settings, which would do the same thing, but doing that would also remove any stored wifi passwords and previously established Bluetooth connections.

OK, I thought, if you say so, and it works. It’s happened two more times since then, and each time I’ve been able to restore connectivity with another router reboot. But something in the system has changed, or something affecting the system has happened. This never used to take place, and now it’s seemingly a semi-regular occurrence. Since it only seems to happen to the iPad, I’m wondering if it’s time to replace it. I think it’s only one generation old, maybe two at the very most, and it has no problems with anything else I do on the network (though now that I think of it, I seem to recall at that same time its BluOS app had some problems connecting to the Node I haven’t taken out of the system yet).

So I guess I’m not really looking for a solution, at least nothing other than opinions on whether a newer iPad might keep this from happening repeatedly. I mainly just thought the network mavens here might find the story interesting, and it relating it here might prompt some comments that could be useful.

1 Like

Hi Craig, did you try rebooting the iPad as well? Within networking it often helps refreshing (or perhaps even resetting) every thinkable node. Maybe there’s more than you’ve mentioned already.

Yes. I realize I threw a lot of text out there, so it’s easy to overlook, but that’s mentioned in the first paragraph.

Sorry, overlooked it. Indeed one of the first measures you took…

What kind / make / model of router?

Firmware and OS updates can easily cause these kinds of odd glitches. For some router updates, I’ve even seen two reboots needed to get everything back to normal. I know iOS has updated recently too, so it’s possible those updates - assuming you’re running the newest version - could’ve had some effect.

Realistically, it’s just good practice to do an occasional reboot on network hardware as well as the endpoints.

I think it’s a Pace 5268AC Gateway, though I wouldn’t swear to it, since I’m at the office right now and can’t verify. It was supplied by AT&T years ago.

No, scratch that. That was the original model with the scooped side panels that they gave us long, long ago. They since updated it. The current one has straight sides. I don’t know what it is. I’ll have to check when I get home.

I don’t doubt that at all. And maybe, now that it’s been rebooted twice, all will settle down. I just have close to zero faith in it. And yes, the iPad’s OS was updated a week or two ago. Probably around the time of the first failure, though at this point I can’t swear whether the update preceded the failure or not.

The moral of the story, never ever ever use ISP provided routers, it’s always worth investing in a good 3rd party router.

IMHO anyway, especially when you’re running anything non-standard like an audio network of any kind.

3 Likes

And I’d be willing to do that if I had even the slightest confidence I could get it set up and running. But I’ve failed at network stuff so often I consider it a minor miracle it works at all. Hence my hesitation to even touch it.

I’m home and checked the router. It actually is the Pace model I mention above.

I would go into Conductor and assign the Aurender a static IP address. You won’t be able to use the one you are currently using because the router has already reserved it. You will need to assign the subnet mask which in your case should be 255.255.255.0

You will also be asked for the default gateway which is the address for your router. By statically assigning an IP address, the Aurender will not be relying on the router to hand out the IP address. If you can look at the router settings, you might be able to change the lease time too. In a home environment you can make the lease as long a period as you can.

1 Like

I was thinking along the same lines.

If your router has DHCP configured to automatically assign IP addresses and you’re using a static IP address (one you’ve manually entered) for one of your devices then it’s possible you’ve run into an address conflict on your network. Maybe at some time recently, a device (for example, a smart TV) has requested an address from your router and you’ve been unlucky enough that the router has assigned one you’ve manually assigned?

If this is the case, then it’s probably easiest to make sure all devices are set for DHCP and let the router manage all addresses. This should also avoid lease expiration issues. DHCP-assigned IP addresses usually don’t change if the physical (MAC) address of a device doesn’t change.

Just my 2c worth. :yum:

I would also consider giving the ipad a static IP. But you would need to carve out a static IP address pool in the router.

All of my audio and network gear is static.

But, as Craig said, networking isn’t his thing which is totally understandable. I think the best thing you can do is ensure that everything is DHCP.

It wouldn’t hurt to reboot everything in your house to make sure none of your devices have somehow ended up with a duplicate IP.

One thought, did you around the same time turn on something that hasn’t been on in a while? I wonder if a device came online with an IP that the router recycled and the recently turned on device still had the IP. It may have resolved between the reboots and the device finally getting a proper IP with a lease.

To the best (!) of my knowledge, I don’t use static IP addresses in my network, at least not intentionally. When I wrote about trying to enter the streamer’s IP address in Conductor manually, it was the first time I’ve ever tried to tell the system what a particular device’s IP address is, and as you’ll all recall from reading that post, it failed (even though the streamer itself - and my iPhone - showed it currently assigned to that address). Actually, with system reboots having been fairly common in our house due to frequent unexplained power outages, I’ve been surprised those times when I’ve peeked under the network’s hood and saw devices assigned to the same IP addresses over and over. Which is how I knew (and I sure use that word loosely) what the streamer’s address should have been when I tried to connect to it manually.

In terms of pieces and parts, the network has been pretty static for several years. It has a lot of devices connected to it (man, they add up fast), but not much new has been added recently. Last summer the Aurender was added, and because of all the aforementioned power outages, in the fall we got a generator, and it connects to the network, but other than those, nothing new had been added in at least a couple of years. Some connected devices are turned on and off frequently - smart TVs, a cheap HT receiver, an Apple TV device - but that’s been common, daily stuff for years.

As to the other suggestions, I understand they’re well-meant, and I really do appreciate the spirit with which they’re offered, but with my level of experience in networks, they might as well be Cantonese. What I need is an IT department for my house. They say one definition of stress is responsibility without authority. I’d add “without knowledge” to that.

Bottom line for now, I think I’ll just see how this goes day by day. After thinking about for a bit, my gut tells me a new iPad isn’t likely to solve anything. We’re at about a week now since the last lost connection. Maybe things have settled in after whatever had caused the problem in the first place. (This is where I would knock on wood, if there were any within reach.) Sometime soon the ISP is going to force us to switch from copper service to fiber, and when that happens it’ll all likely change anyway, and get rebuilt from scratch. Nobody in this house is looking forward to that, but that’s an entirely different story.

2 Likes

I agree. Don’t look at a new iPad just yet.
They way IP communications work is the IP address is resolved to a MAC address for forwarding on the local media. The host looks at the IP address and compares to its subnet mask to see if it is on the local network. If so, it looks in the MAC table to see if it already knows the MAC address. If not, it sends an Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) request. The station with the IP address will respond with its MAC and communication begins.

All of this is done on the host (iPad in your case) and is shared across all applications. That fact that the lite version of the app works tells me you have MAC layer reachability between the iPad and the streamer.

What I think is happening is the full version of the app uses multicast to discover the streamer and your router is either not handling the multicast request or the responses from the streamer. Multicast uses a general address that your streamer will be listening for. This implies a problem with your router. You should contact your provider to see if there is a firmware update you are missing. If not, have them debug it while it is happening.

2 Likes

I should add it bothers me that the Conductor app says invalid IP when you attempt to enter it manually. Everything I said is conjecture based on your initial post.
I should also add that if the lite app uses bluetooth for connectivity rather than IP, my analysis falls apart. :slight_smile:

The one common thread, I think, in a lengthy description of the problem is rebooting the modem/router seemed to temporarily fix the issue. Don’t know why that would point anyone to replacement of the iPad as the permanent fix. What catches my eye is modem/router. Interesting. At one time I was using a combined modem/router/wifi Motorola unit (not ISP provided, I purchased it) because it seemed like a cool idea to save desktop space by combining all three functions in one box. It was a bad idea. That unit was a marginal performer at best and eventually degraded to the point it had to go. Wifi signal strength dropped and I began having intermittent network connectivity problems. And yes, I use an iPad mini. As I began shopping around to replace it I did some research. Many others have encountered poor performance with modem/router combo boxes. My solution? I paid the extra money for a top quality stand alone modem (Arris Surfboard SBV3202) and standalone router/wifi unit (ASUS RT-AC68U). All problems solved, plus great Wifi signal strength everywhere in my pad. Total cost, 2x-3x the price of a combo box and worth every penny to be free of frustration. The lesson? You get what you pay for? Whatever it is I’m a happy camper and still love my iPad mini.

I’m the only one who considered the replacement of the iPad, and the only reason I even thought of it was that the entire network was connected and everything on it was working fine, including the streamer itself, and its control app on the iPhone. The only thing in the house that was visibly failing was the iPad when it couldn’t find the streamer at its assigned address. In any environment outside of what I consider the magic hoodoo of computers, standard troubleshooting protocol would seem to indicate the problem was the iPad.

In rereading my first post, I see the timeline was a bit misleading - my impulse to replace the iPad happened before the reboot fix, which I see now is not the impression I made. My apologies for that. After the reboot, I still halfheartedly held out the idea of replacing it, but it wasn’t much more than a grasping at straws in what I’m sure would have been a vain attempt at preventing a repeat failure.

apps can hold ports open on bad connections. Most likely a listener or something was down and refreshing the network re-established the connection.

1 Like