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  1. #1
    Ken Kashmarek

    Question Fixed IP for DNS set to

    I have an older Vista 64-bit laptop that was working okay (after cleanup and bringing forward on all fixes). I updated it to create a partition where I installed Win7 64-bit, creating a dual boot environment (also then fully updated with all fixes). This worked fine, until...

    I hit the last step of the Win7 install which applied optional software updates for the hardware (drivers mostly for the laptop components). After this, the network slowed to a crawl.

    I chased this for several days, then called in my ISP because I found private range IP address,, being searched for on the public network. Ping and tracert showed this address somewhere in the wild. It was not on my LAN or router. When my workstation nodes only were active on my LAN, everything was fine, including router response. When I brought up the Win7 partition on the laptop, the network went down the tubes (30-60 second response). The Vista partition did not have this problem.

    The ISP technician had me check out the device properties on the network devices (all 3 nodes), leading to the discovery that the laptop Atheros WiFi adaptor under Win7 had a fixed IP for DNS set to (apparently set up by the download and install of the driver update for this device).

    I manually unchecked the fixed IP specification, checked the dynaimic IP acquisition options, re-booted and all went well (all nodes and router were once again fully responsive).

    Has anyone else had experience with this IP address (in any way)?

    Why would a driver install set up an unknown fixed IP for DNS server component? The installed driver and the updated driver were both from Microsoft (compatibility drivers), while the original WiFi driver under Vista was from the adaptor vendor (Atheros).

    A Google search shows IP to be involved in some sort of networking or file sharing configurations, and in XBox configurations.

    Any feedback that you can share would be greatly appreciated. The real question here is why did this compatibility driver get installed with Win7 and why was it configured with a fixed IP for DNS?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Thanked 134 Times in 115 Posts
    That IP address is the default for the Windows Hosted Wireless Network (HWN). Details here and here. It's a more modern version of Internet Connection Sharing. By enabling HWN, you can connect to a gateway and have the same Wireless adapter act as an Access Point too. It's a virtual interface rather than a physical which is why tracert couldn't find it on your LAN.

    Not sure why the driver on its own should set up HWN, but maybe the software was part of a package rather than just the driver?
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  3. #3
    Ken Kashmarek
    Thanks for the posting and document reference. I was able to rid myself of this time wasting scenario by simply reconfiguring the WiFi adaptor directly to turn off the fixed IP and use dynamic IP assignment.

    I read the primary document and was not happy with the concept (why is it even needed) nor the implementation. It seems a HUGE was of time and effort. I have a second laptop that did not come with this enabled (though it did come with all the {ab}normal vendor crapware). Also, I have a workstation that is equipped with a wireless card and it did not come with this enabled. I suspect the enablement came with my Win7 install on this older laptop, and when it recognized the Atheros WiFi adaptor, as that is the device driver which was enabled with as the DNS server.

    Further, the documentation reference you provided explains something else as well (by the way, search of for did not bring up any discussion of HWN). At one time, the laptop in question did come up with its own local IP address as, thus making it the responder to other devices on the LAN as a DNS server. There is clearly a conflict here in that the other wireless devices on the LAN are set up to only recognize my specific encrypted connection non-broadcasting wireless router for connection (thus, CAN'T use HWN), and the other wired devices connect directly to ports on a router that is already set up for serving IP address and DNS lookup (also CAN'T use HWN). Thus, something is missing in the use of HWN in that the physical router was messed up by this (incomplete) activation of HWN.

    What happens when the HWN laptop goes away (shut down)? The other nodes affected by this (incomplete) activation of HWN are screwed.

    Question: for the laptop with activated as an HWN node, is it using its wireless to receive from other wireless devices, or is it using its wired connection (yes, the laptop is on a dock with an ethernet cable to the router as well)?

    The purpose of HWN escapes me completely, other than that it could mess up other nodes if used in an open WiFi (hotspot) arrangement. Yes/no?

    I suspect that Atheros did not supply an HWN compatible driver for Win7 and that is why the Win7 install put the Microsoft compatible driver in place (which was equipped with a bad assumption that HWM was in effect).

    Any other observations out there?

  4. #4
    Ken Kashmarek
    I checked my 4 different Win7 systems and the output of this command

    netsh wlan show hostednetwork

    is "allowed". This means that Win7 comes enabled to set up WHN. All it needs is a recognized adaptor that will support the function.

    To prevent that from happening, run this command

    netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=disallow

    Before disabling, if you want to see the WHN configuration, use this command

    netsh wlan show settings

    Run the above from a CMD window as administrator.

    I also disabled the Microsoft WiFi miniport adaptor (in Device Manager). However, once you disallow the hostednetwork, that adaptor is gone anyway.

    One other observation: When the problem was occuring, the network under properties, would show the WHN as a public network (or at least it did with my perhaps improperly configured WHN when it referenced as a static DNS server). I could not manually change it, but when the DNS change was applied to the adaptor, it immediately collapsed with the local area connection.

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