to commonly asked questions.


Another device on the network is using your IP address.

A new mystery.  Just turned on my computer after a few days of being unplugged and this notice appeared.  I continued to open and was greeted by the same notice when trying to view new emails.

I rebooted the router and received the same notice.

I restarted the computer and received the same notice.

What should my next step be?

Thanks so much for your help!


This typically means your router is having trouble talking to all the devices in your house and it’s confused about what numbers it’s handed out. In other words, it’s given the same IP address to more than one device and now it’s confused itself. This does not seem to be the computer’s fault. It’s likely the router’s fault. The router is in charge of handing those numbers out.

First step: try restarting your router(s)

Second step: If that doesn’t work, you’d need to log in to the router and set the DNS refresh rate to a different time. The router hands out and checks on these numbers it deals out periodically. Every 24 hours, 12 hours, 1 hour, etc…. Sometimes just asking the router to check more often will resolve the issue.

Third step: You could also set a specific IP address to the computer. That would tell the router, “hey I want this number every single time.” Therefore taking the decision away from the router.

Fourth step: you could try just renaming the computer to a different name. (Found in the sharing preferences). That might be enough to trick the router into thinking it’s a brand new device.

In closing, this is not really something you’re probably used to dealing with and also not something you’d want to handle remotely. If it’s a large enough issue to you, you can schedule me in person and I’d be happy to assist. Otherwise, it’s not a major problem. More of an annoyance. After closing the message, the computer is usually assigned a new number anyway.

What router do you recommend and how much bandwidth do I need?

Do you think through FaceTime you could help me set up new routers at home?? What brand router and type do you recommend??
How much band width is needed to run multiple computers, iPhones and 10 nest cameras plus streaming devices??

FaceTime router setup is not impossible but it's definitely a bit frustrating for people. I don't recommend it but if that's the best we can do under the circumstances, then we can make it happen. As long as the person I'm working with has patience we can get it done.

I recommend the Orbi router system by Netgear. Depending on the size of your home, you may get a larger coverage pack. Modern routers have the ability to provide way way way more bandwidth than your ISP can actually deliver to you. Therefore, routers aren't the bottle neck when it comes to speed. Your ISP is. Typical speeds around Charlotte can be between 50-150mbps down and between 20-100 up. This depends on the plan you buy with your ISP and whether you use Spectrum, Google Fiber, or ATT. ATT has better upload speeds in general but are less reliable as a service overall in my opinion. Google Fiber is rare so I can't really make any declarative statements about that service yet. No matter what ISP you have, you hate it and you wish you had the other one.

But to answer your question more specifically, it depends on the quality of video streaming. Have a 4k tv? Streaming 4k? You need as much bandwidth as you can get. Have 2 4k tvs streaming at the same time in 4k? Then somebody's not gonna be watching in 4k. There's just not really enough bandwidth coming into residences to stream two instances of 4k in 2020 right now. That may change by 2021 but it would max out your download speeds. Everything else besides 4K streams can usually fit inside one ISP residence plan. If you have kids, then assume they are all over the internet. But they're not streaming 4k. Youtube and Netflix will usually pull back video quality if they notice high traffic in the house. I have like 80 down and rarely really need that much. But it's just my wife and I. 80 down in a house of 4 may be maxing out.

Which router should I get?

Apple has gotten out of the router business so I can no longer recommend the Airport devices. That has now left an opening for other companies to fill in the void. The two products I have been happy with over the last few years are:

1. Orbi by Netgear
2. Velop by Linksys

Both of those systems do a great job. They can be a little cumbersome to set up but once setup, they work very well and are stable. I’ve set up many of each system and have had very little negative feedback. The only negative thing I would say about both product lines is that they are convoluted. There are too many models from which to choose. If you’re sitting on 2000sq feet however, almost any of the current packages would do just fine. I think the Apple store is selling the Orbi systems but I’m sure they’re available at Best Buy as well as online via Amazon, etc...

Can I replace one of my Airports with a different router?

Scotty, I have a question. My AirPort Extreme base w/ time capsule started making noises and heating up. The base unit was connected by cable to two other airports extremes located in remote locations in my house. I took one of the remote AirPort Extremes and replaced the base unit with it. I can not get the remote AirPort Extreme to work. Are the remotes just relays for the base? What are your recommendations?

Second question, what router would you recommend to replace our base unit? Will it work with the two remote AirPort Extremes?

Third question, how do I get my back up information from the time capsule?

1. Any time a hard drive starts making noise, it's time to get a new drive. The Time Capsule was a product that contained a hard drive so always time to replace or move on. When moving around the roles of Airport devices in the home network, i.e. moving a router from extender to main, it's better to just reset all devices and start over. Think of the other like the magician that pulls the table cloth from the table but leaves the glasses and plates sitting perfectly. Not so easy to do and most likely the network will have an issue of some sort. Better to just go around to all the devices, reset them with a paper clip, then start all over again.

2. My golden rule of networking is that one should NEVER miss manufacturer's devices on the same network. In other words, only use all Linksys with Linksys. Only use all Netgear with Netgear. Only use all Apple with Apple. So in the case of your failed Apple router, you would not want to buy a non Apple router and expect it to work with the existing ones. If you are looking to replace your entire wifi network, my go-to router of choice is now the Orbi system by Netgear. They are very good and I've had great feedback over the last year or so from clients who now use them. Linksys Velop is also good although a little quirky at times. Neither of these are as easy to set up as the Apple routers where but Apple has left the router business so it's time to move on. Google's mesh system is ok but my third choice at the moment. I do have a few spare Airport extremes if you'd like, I'd be happy to reset the network if needed, and add an additional Airport. Possibly alternative to purchasing a brand new system at this point.

3. Time Capsule is the worst product Apple has made in the last 15 years. I hate it with every fiber in my body. This is not to be mistaken with Time Machine, the software than backs up to an attached hard drive. That is great. However, Time Capsule, the router/wireless backup can go jump in a lake. It may be possible to get the data off but problems abound. First, if you open the time capsule sparse image bundle from a computer other than the one that created it, it can corrupt the image and it will never be accessible. Second, if the drive has failed (heating up and making noises) you might as well forget it. Third, if the drive is ok but the enclosure was bad, then you'd still need to extract the old drive and put into another Time Capsule enclosure. A standard hard drive enclosure won't do. Apple did not approach Time Capsule in an accessible way. They locked it down so much that it's almost impossible extract information postmordom.
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