What settings will make my iPod remember my wireless connection?

Eric Fletcher
Eric Fletcher used Ask the Experts™
My iPod Touch 32GB connects via my D-Link router and works just fine when it is connected. However, after leaving and using it on a different network somewhere, it no longer automatically connects when I return to my office. It used to manage this, but stopped a few months ago. If I restart the router (unplug it, wait, replug it), the iPod can connect -- but that isn't a very useful solution. I assume this may be related to a "Wi-Fi Network" setting but I'm not sure where to look.

The network has 2 desktop Win7 machines via Ethernet; 1 laptop via Ethernet; 1 wi-fi printer -- and is fully accessible when friends come over with other wireless devices (iPhones, Android, laptops, etc.).
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> and is fully accessible when friends come over with other wireless
devices (iPhones, Android, laptops, etc.).

That would seem to indicate the problem is indeed in the iPod Touch.

Have you tried deleting/removing the saved network from the iPod Touch and setting it up again?
Yes. In fact, I've wondered if I unknowingly changed some setting when I tried Resetting Network Settings a while back. I know a bit about settings for my home network -- and probably just enough to be dangerous, so once things are working I try not to change anything!

In the Wi-Fi settings for my local network, I'm currently showing IP Address: DHCP (with an address & subnet mask that fits with my network) and HTTP Proxy = Off.

If I reset the network settings on the iPod, it then sees and can apparently connect with my local network, but does not have Internet connection unless I reset the router.

Note that if I go to a hot spot somewhere else I can connect without any problem. As far as I can tell, I only lose the reconnect when I return. Would I be better using a Static IP address for my home network (i.e. vs DHCP)?
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

Check the router to see how many connections it allows?  It may be set to a low number which means the last device to try (the iPod) loses out.  If you power cycle the router, the iPod grabs an ip...

Other things to check...is the iPod always trying to grab the same ip address each time?  If so, it may be "stuck" despite DHCP on one address.   Back it up to iTunes and reset to factory, then restore and try again.  
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The router copes fine with more devices: the iPod is on more frequently than a netbook and a notebook within the house; plus it allows friend's devices to connect from time to time. (D-Link WBR-2310; 4 ethernet ports + wireless)

I've power cycled the router many times (really the only way to get the iPod to reconnect) but haven't checked to see what IP address it is assigned. I'll check that for the next couple of times and see. It is currently on ... 0.103, which makes sense because the two desktop systems are ... 0.101 and ... 0.102, and the iPod was started after them this morning.

I have reset the network settings to factory (several times in fact), but it hasn't helped (and of course that also loses the passwords for other networks I use from time-to-time).

The consquences of backing up to iTunes are more complicated because my music was loaded from a computer I've since scrubbed (done before I realized how the whole iTunes thing worked). I have been intending to address this at some point but it has been a low priority; perhaps this will give me the incentive I need to do it!
Okay, this seems more complicated than I'd hoped so I've increased the points. Here are some additional observations:

When I return to my home router, the iPod seems to take on an IP address of When I power cycle the router, the iPod rejoins
with an assigned IP address of 192.168.0.xxx (where xxx is 101 to 104 depending on what else is also on the network).

Other than the inconvenience of this, I'm concerned that it might be representative of some incompatibility later with other Apple products. I'm considering an iPhone and an iPad, but if they would have similar problems interacting with my home network, would Android devices be more compatible? On the other hand, if it is a router problem, I can easily replace the one I have or make changes to settings on it.
Don't talk to me.
I would go the latter route and replace your router with a newer model.  Millions of people have non-apple networks and don't experience this difficulty so I'm betting it is something peculiar to your network.  The router is the cheapest fix.

If the iPod is picking up a 169 address, that's almost certainly a failure on the DHCP service to connect, detect, and assign.
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

Also, when you mention resetting to factory above, are you talking about the iPod or the router? If you have not reset the router to factory and reconfigured it, try that before replacing.  
Thanks Jason1178. I'll try resetting the router later this evening to see if that helps. I try to avoid making changes to routers when everything else is working because it so often seems to have a ripple effect on other stuff and ends up becioming a time sink to sort out.

 There are no other networks nearby (we are >600m from our nearest neighbor) so I've been puzzled about why that IP address would show up. As well, the iPod does not seem to have any problem picking up and connecting with other wireless networks, private or public.

Is the DHCP service managed by the router, or is that something that comes in from an Internet connection?
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

Usually the router.  
Have you updated the firmware in the router to the latest version?
If it's an original WBR-2310, the latest version is 1.05; if it's a rev_B, the latest version is 2.03...

you can download the firmware from http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=WBR-2310 (click Support Resources, choose which version you have, then click the Firmware link, followed by the Download Now button next to the newest update for your model).

You should be able to reserve addresses in the router's DHCP server so your devices get the same IP addresses every time they connect, by the way.
Instructions for how to do so are in section 3 of the manual, near the end of the section for the Setup tab, just before the section for the Advanced tab.
Yes, the router has the latest firmware (v1.05). However, after reading your comment, I checked the D-Link site and learned that my router reached "End of Life" last April -- so I guess there isn't a lot of point in keeping it going. I'll pick up a new router tomorrow and give it a try.

I didn't realize that I could reserve an address for a device. Is there any downside to doing that for a portable device like an iPod that would be intermittently not be on or nearby?
> Is there any downside to doing that for a portable device
like an iPod that would be intermittently not be on or nearby?

Well, other than it takes your time to make each reservation entry, the only downside I can think of is there might be a limit to how many reservations a router can have, as each one uses up at least 10 bytes of NVRAM, so the programmers might make a fixed size table with a limit to how many IPs can be reserved (smaller than the usual DHCP scope... say, 2 dozen or 50 addresses), so IP reservations don't eventually use up all available NVRAM.

When you backup a router's settings to a configuration file, typically DHCP reservations are included in the file... so if you have to do a hard reset they can be quickly reloaded with the rest of the settings without having to maually re-enter all of them.

I usually make them for most devices just so the port forwarding rules always point to the same/correct devices when I'm accessing my LAN from another location, via the internet and my dyndns.org address. Any device not in the reservation table still gets a DHCP address, it just might not be the same one each time.

Oh, and I've seen many routers that don't allow making DHCP reservations, too.
Thanks for the help on this. I replaced my D-Link router with a new Cisco E4200. Unfortunately, the new router would not install from the CD, and only worked after a frustrating 3hrs of "chat" with their techs. It is working, but at a much lower speed than the old router -- and their "fix" prevents me from using the CIsco Connect to go in and make changes! I'm packaging it up to return it.

On the positive side, the problem with my iPod disappeared so I feel confident it is a router issue. I'll get a replacement router (NOT a Cisco one!) and will explore Darr247's suggestions for reserving the IP addresses.

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