Questioning the stability of UK ISP static IP addresses

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When is a static IPs (Internet Protocol), not a static address IPs address? The answer to this question should be simple (i.e. when it changes), but a recent consumer complaint against a popular broadband ISP Hyperoptic helped highlight the fact that the market seems to lack a common position on how to handle them.

First, a bit of contextualization. Every Internet connection must be assigned an IP address in order to function and communicate with other online servers, but most consumer broadband plans will usually provide you with a Dynamic IP address. A dynamic address is an address that will change, such as when you restart your router. Most people will only need a dynamic IP address and in all likelihood you won’t even notice the address change.

However, some broadband plans also come with a Static IP (i.e. the IP address assigned to your internet connection does not change / is permanent), and it is often also possible to add one to plans that do not offer it – at an additional cost .

Static IP addresses tend to be more associated with premium/professional plans, where customers are more likely to want a fixed address as they will be hosting servers and domains, have specific security requirements (e.g. the need to put whitelist a specific IP address for various firewalls) or want to avoid problems with Carrier Grade NAT (CGN/IP address sharing), etc. These IP addresses are leased to the customer (i.e. you do not physically own the address they assign).

The problem

In this case one of Hyperopticcustomers of , who wishes to remain anonymous (for the purposes of this article, we’ll call it ‘Jim‘), had subscribed to a normal residential broadband plan and also paid extra £5 per month on top of that in order to add a static IP address to the plan.

However, Jim ran into a problem with the provider when, while replacing his broadband router (this happened less than a month after the static IP was first assigned), and without notice, they also changed its fixed IP address. The change caused a significant problem as his old IP address was whitelisted on various secure systems which, due to the change, he could no longer access.

Hyperoptic initially responded to the complaint by committing to fixing the problem (i.e. restoring the old IP address), but their initial attempt failed because the customer had been moved to another platform. -internal shape during maintenance. After several days, Jim was informed that it would not be possible to revert to his previous IP address.

After complaining, Jim was told that hyperoptics “static“The IP product is more like a “publicly addressable, seldom modified“IP. Arguably, dynamic IP addresses could also be described as addresses that “rarely change“, because they often remain the same until you disconnect the line (eg reboot the router) for a while. At this point, Jim decided to raise the matter with Hyperoptic’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider – Ombudsman services.

Excerpt from Jim’s complaint

“I firmly believe that since Hyperoptic still retains ownership of the IP addresses, it is NOT impossible for Hyperoptic to help me with my problem, it just takes time.

I believe that since they advertised the service as a “static” IP address, it is their obligation to provide me with an IP address that does not change.

In my experience in the telecommunications industry, it is not normal for a communications provider to change someone’s static IP address without notice, as this can of course lead to breaking changes.

I called Hyperoptic several times and their sales team explained to me how a static IP address works. On several occasions, which I have logged, their team has assured me that static IP addresses never change. It is for this reason that I asked the Ombudsman to support my complaint by asking Hyperoptic to reverse the changes that were made so that I could have my old static IP address, even temporarily.

In its defense, Hyperoptic said their terms allowed them to “change the state of the network you are connected to“and, if Jim had been on one of their business (rather than residential) packages, then they would have informed him of”all the details of your network change” during the interview. Apparently, paying an extra £5 a month on a residential plan isn’t enough for such a basic customer courtesy to be granted.

The ISP initially offered to apply a credit to cover three months of static IP service, but Jim declined in hopes of getting his original IP address back. The ombudsman looked into the matter and ultimately sided with Jim, although he could only order the supplier to apologize and apply a £75 credit as a goodwill gesture.

Mediation Service Statement

Based on the evidence I have received, it is evident that Hyperoptic did not notify you of the changes planned with the maintenance of their service upgrade, which resulted in a change in your static IP address. I understand you have asked for this to be put back in place to allow you to make your own personal changes but due to its moving to a new system within Hyperoptic it is not possible to put your old IP address in place. I recognize that you experienced gaps in service as steps should have been taken to ensure you were informed of the planned changes to avoid it affecting your work.

I understand this has caused you difficulty accessing websites for work and caused you a lot of inconvenience, however, I am unable to ask the company to add your old IP address for you because it is not possible for the company to do so. Therefore, I have asked Hyperoptic to apologize to you and apply a £75 credit as a goodwill gesture.

A Hyperoptic spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We apologize again to [our customer] for the inconvenience caused. It was necessary for us to do a network update that changed the client’s IP address – we should have better communicated this to the client and helped them manage this change. It is not possible to guarantee that a static IP address can be kept indefinitely, but network updates requiring changes are extremely rare.

The case raises a question that is certainly worth discussing, especially since anyone paying extra for a static IP address should at least reasonably expect to receive an address that does not change and, at the very least , certainly NOT in the first month of service or without notice.

On the other hand, major Internet network and platform changes occur from time to time, which may even cause static addresses to change, although such occurrences are normally very rare and ISPs try generally to protect their attributions to clients when they perform. But at ISPreview.co.uk, we’ve always approached the notion of IP addresses as “staticwith a pinch of salt, precisely because of the changing nature of such environments.

However, it’s also true to say that most ISPs don’t seem to clearly define what a static IP address actually is (in the context of product caveats) or how they can deal with it in the future, which which is a key point. All of this begs the question of how long an IP address needs to remain unchanged for it to be truly advertised as “staticand, if it is subject to change, then can it really be sold as such? More clarity is required from industry.

Finally, we quietly asked several other providers how they tackled the problem of static addresses. The majority agreed that a static IP address should remain in place for the lifetime of the customer’s service with the ISP, but some also said it was reasonable to be able to change them, albeit with a long lead time. advance notice, and that they could not guarantee the preservation of a specific address (significant network changes sometimes occur).

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