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I have been using my home ADSL and when I had problems with it, switched to my iPhone for network access. This mostly works as planned, but I have noticed that Windows 7 creates a new network name even though the hardware has not changed; I am now connected to Home Network 2 and just before I was connected to My iPhone 3.

The network SSIDs are "Home Network" and "My iPhone" and the suffix gets incremented every so often in my Internet and Sharing Center when I have been disconnected and reconnect. Note that it is not the SSID that changes, but the network name in the Internet and Sharing Center.

Also it asks me every time whether this is a home, office, or public network. What can I do to make it reconnect to an existing network rather than create a new duplicate with a number suffix?

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Why dont you change your SSID to something more meaningful besides Home Network? When you look in Network and sharing -> Manage wireless Networks what does it say in there? – onxx Feb 7 '12 at 16:57
Actually the SSID is something different, but a cryptic name which only makes sense to myself is hardly going to make this question easier to understand or answer. – tripleee Feb 7 '12 at 17:28
so the SSIO keeps incrementing when ever you connect to your home AP? – onxx Feb 7 '12 at 17:42
I don't know if it's literally every time, but an awful lot during the last couple of days, and I think never before that. But I also did not switch back and forth before my ADSL operator started having problems yesterday. – tripleee Feb 7 '12 at 18:00
@triplee Have you tried deleting and re-creating the profiles on your computer, and/or doing a netsh reset? 'netsh winsock reset' – onxx Feb 7 '12 at 18:06

actually I think "user 99572 is fine" is on to something. it could very well be that due to the ip address being different enough from the ip it had last time it connected that it is thinking it's connecting to a different network with a similar name. but as "tripleee" pointed out not just any different ip address will do this, I think the ip has to be on a different subnet from the one before to be considered a different network. One possibly for why this could be happening is some routers have some sort of Isolation feature and if that's enabled the router will purposely put everyone on different subnets on purpose to keep them isolated from each other. But it may not assign you the same subnet every time your computer connects as all it's trying to do is put you on one that isn't already in use. from a networking perspective it would work just fine as long as the modem has an ip on the same subnet your currently in the computer would be able to find a path out to the internet and everything will work fine. From Windows perspective I'd guess it's using what subnet it's on to determine the difference between two different networks of a similar name, as such would be needed in corporate networks where you may have multiple people using the same set of AP's but get assigned different IP's possibly statically or with some mac bind or special log in system as there are those out there that will give you a ip on their public subnet first then when you log in it'll invalidate your lease and send you a new ip in your proper subnet. and they would want windows to know when they are on the public or private parts so that the info doesn't accidentally leak from file shares.

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Thank you for your new input, I have just clarified my answer to include your input. – user 99572 is fine Jun 11 '12 at 19:19

Although I have not found any evidence to support, I have the suspicion that the problem is linked to your Computer receiving a new IP address from your router once you reconnect. Here's why:

I remember having the same problem a while ago when using my mobile phone as an access point. Windows would always show me the old network name incremented by one. Eventually, this stopped once I changed my phone.

Every time you reconnect to either of your access points, you get a new IP address from the router. EDIT: Routers change IP addresses not only based on the last number, but on the whole IP address. Some Routers use 192.168.0.XXX (Cisco) - 192.168.10.XXX (Fonera) - 192.168.2.XXX (My HTC Android phone). So when you get a new IP address from a different router and the subnet changes, your Windows thinks there was a change in the network and asks you anew for permissions (public, private, work).

Note that some routers change your devices' local IP addresses (e.g. my former Zyxel 660HN modem), while some don't (my Fonera 2.0n). The only way to alter this behavior in the former category is to assign a static local IP address like to the MAC address of your computer. You have to do this in your router interface.

As for the iPhone, I don't think it is possible to make these changes. You will just have to live with it or hope that Microsoft applies an update that fixes this behavior.

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Of course I get a new IP address, that's how DHCP works. I don't think this can be the explanation. – tripleee May 29 '12 at 4:15
It depends on the router: my NetGear router NEVER hands out the same IP, no matter what the original lease period was. Every 5-min sleep will result in a new IP for the computer. And the lease period is not configurable. – kreemoweet Dec 3 '14 at 6:36
@kreemoweet I am sure the problem mentioned in the question will happen if the address range changes (say from 192.168.1.XX to 192.168.100.XX), even if the SSID stays the same, but changing address ranges is not something most routers do. So after re-reading this question, I have to confess that I don't have an answer. – user 99572 is fine Dec 3 '14 at 14:47

A network is recognised by network IP address, router IP address, router mac address.

I don't know about the iPhone, but I know that some Android phones are using a random mac address. If iPhones are doing the same it would be recognised as a new network every time.

You can check the mac address of the router with the arp command. I think it's arp -a to display all the mac addresses in the cache.

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