Changing your IP address, and the effect it has on ARP caches

Posted on 2004-11-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-02-25
Say I'm ip address    And I change my IP address to
Will my router still have my MAC address MAPPED to for a few minutes thereafter?

I've noticed that if I change my IP address, then view traffic with a sniffer. I can sometimes see my OLD IP address still doing ARP requests like a ghost (and no, no one was reassigned my old address). The problem fades away after a few minutes (hours?)

Would the "clear arp cache" command remedy this situation?

Question by:dissolved
LVL 43

Accepted Solution

JFrederick29 earned 600 total points
ID: 12527331
Yes, the entry in the ARP cache is used until it ages out and then the new MAC address is mapped to the IP address when the router does an ARP broadcast.

Yes, if you use the "clear arp cache" command, it will remove all cached entries immediately and will rebuild the cache.  This will make the change immediate.
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

mikebernhardt earned 800 total points
ID: 12527684
You can have multiple IPs mapped to a single MAC address. You CANNOT have 1 IP mapped to multiple MAC addresses. You may be seeing arps for the old address because hosts cache DNS info. If hosta thinks that servera.domain.com is and then you change it to, then hosta still thinks that servera is at until it's rebooted or you flush the DNS cache on hosta.

The router can have mutliple IPs on a single MAC, no problem. It wouldn't arp for the old address unless someone was asking for it, such as hosta in the previous example. If you clear the arp cache, it will clear the router table. But hosta may still ask for it and the router will try again. You would see "Incomplete" in the arp table.
LVL 79

Assisted Solution

lrmoore earned 600 total points
ID: 12527855
Absolutely, you have an arp cache that will "hold on" to the old mapping for a period of time, as well as other systems around you will also have arp cache and dns cache and Netbios name caches.

See this Question, too, where we had the issue of changing out firewalls. New MAC address, same IP address, and the router cache had to be cleared:

Default arp cache on a Cisco router is something like 4 hours..

Author Comment

ID: 12529267
Thanks fellas

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