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Are static IP addresses desirable for SOHO users?

Feb 09, 20062 mins

* The pros and cons of having a static IP address

In recent issues of this and the Convergence newsletters (see the Convergence newsletter archives), we opined that there were few reasons why you would need a static IP address for a residential service. We received some responses with some good reasons for having a static address.

One reader noted most accurately, “There’s no reason you shouldn’t run a Web server at home as long as you’ve got enough bandwidth and reliability, or any other kind of server, for that matter, such as VoIP or gaming or e-mail on your Linux box or whatever you want. It doesn’t make much sense to stick my family photos on some commercial Web server with a small disk size limit when I’ve got a 300GB disk at home and only my family’s going to bother looking at them.”

So we’ll take 20 lashes with a wet piece of string, assuming that you have the time, desire, and technical expertise to deal with running your own server.

However, the current controversy concerning Google and the subpoena for search records raises yet another question. If you have a static IP address, you’re giving up a bit of privacy. This links you – for good or for bad – to your IP address. And this IP address is associated with every interaction at every Web site you visit.

If, on the other hand you, as a SOHO user, opt to continue to use DHCP, then it at least takes two steps for a Web service provider to find out who made which transactions. First, the IP address must be identified. But then the service provider that supplied the DHCP address must be able to identify who was assigned that particular address at the time the server was accessed. Impossible? Probably not. More difficult? For sure. Somehow, this simple fact has been overlooked by essentially all of the popular press coverage of this issue.

Jim has a broad background in the IT industry. This includes serving as a software engineer, an engineering manager for high-speed data services for a major network service provider, a product manager for network hardware, a network manager at two Fortune 500 companies, and the principal of a consulting organization. In addition, Jim has created software tools for designing customer networks for a major network service provider and directed and performed market research at a major industry analyst firm. Jim’s current interests include both cloud networking and application and service delivery. Jim has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University.

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