Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's IP

Pilot fish is the volunteer on-call IT department for a church where it's been decided that the congregation should be able to use the church's Wi-Fi.

"Easy enough," says fish. "The existing access points support a guest network.

"Another IT volunteer sets up the existing APs in bridge mode, adding SSIDs with the new guest network name. That works OK until a bored youth tries hacking into the server -- and succeeds!"

Fish is called in and determines that for the guest network to work securely, the APs must be in Access Point mode, not bridge mode. Problem is, the network isn't set up to work that way.

The simplest solution is to buy a second set of access points, configure them in Access Point mode, connect them to the existing APs, and set their network services filter to block all the church's network devices and only access the internet.

The other IT volunteer is tasked with putting it all together. It goes live, and everyone is happy.

Happy, that is, until someone on the church staff tries printing. The printer insists it's offline.

Fish is called in to troubleshoot, but on first inspection everything seems normal. Then he tries opening the printer's web interface. Instead of seeing the printer's settings page, he's staring at the settings page for one of the new access points!

"Seems the installer didn't bother to check what IP addresses were already in use, and gave the AP the same IP address as the printer," fish sighs.

"I take all the new APs offline, and the printer starts printing. The APs then get previously unassigned IP addresses, and all is good."

Connect with Sharky. Send me your true tale of IT life at You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get Sharky's outtakes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.


Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon