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GNex MAC address changing to random numbers after each reboot
rmarkwald
Member

Exactly what the title says.  When I first got the phone, Dec 15, I went home and got into my router to input the MAC address of the phone to the Allowed List due to MAC Address Filtering being enabled (by myself).  The MAC written down at that time was:  2C-44-01-C7-6F-77.  I should note here that a MAC address for any device will NEVER change on its own, EVER.  It is a hard-coded number.

Fast forward to Jan 19th.  Powered off and on the phone, and it would not connect to my 5GHz or 2.4GHz wifi networks.  I did everything, even reset the password to something simple, but the phone would not connect.  Since the phone is the only device I currently own that can connect to a 5GHz wifi signal, it is the only one listed on the router's Allow List for MAC Addresses.  I verified that the router didn't somehow reset itself, and confirmed the MAC matched what I had written down.  I turned to my phone to verify its MAC, and it was different.  It now started with 00-09-4c.  WTF?  I re-entered this new address into my router, and once again could connect to wifi.

For grins, I rebooted the phone.  The phone's MAC once again changed, but each time it only randomizes the last 3 octets, always starting with 00-90-4c.  I at that point had to disable MAC Address Filtering for the 5GHz wifi band so I can use my phone on my wireless network.  So I did investigating, posted a few things on a few different forums, called Samsung and talked to their Level 2 Adv. Support, and was talking via Twitter with GalaxySSupport.  There is a Google bug page for this issue, located here:  http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=23330.

It appears from reading a few sites and other user comments, that it has to do with kernel code, which has been posted in a few spots on the interwebs.  It appears that this affects a very small amount of users, some may not even know as if MAC Address Filtering is not enabled on a WAP, you'd never be able to tell.  It also has been mentioned that Google/Samsung did not purchase the block of MAC addresses required to keep a static one, so a work-around was to randomize the last 3 octets to avoid this payment.

Regardless, I've done a full factory restore (4.0.2), and the problem still persists to this day.  At this time, I believe it is not hardware related, but something within the kernel affecting only certain devices, so a software update from Google would fix this.  VZW and Samsung did not know of this issue, but I raised it with them in hopes they will speak to their partners (Google mainly, as well as each other) about this issue.  At this time, I have chosen to NOT receive a replacement, as it cannot be guaranteed that this issue wouldn't pop up in the new device.  I am going to wait to see what comes of this (if anything).

I would encourage if you are experiencing this issue, to post in the link to the Google Code page listed above, contact Samsung and VZW about this issue.  Hopefully this will be resolved with a future update from Google at some point.

Attached is screen shots from the phone after two reboots, notice the MAC address change.

Thank you for your time!

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Re: GNex MAC address changing to random numbers after each reboot
bearone21
Leader

did you ever change the encryption? perhaps it was confused of which wi-fi to connect to. what router is 5ghz?

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Re: GNex MAC address changing to random numbers after each reboot
rmarkwald
Member

Yes, even set the password to something "simple".  The router is a Netgear WNDR3700 dual band.  It wouldn't connect to either band (2.4 or 5GHz), obviously both have MAC Address Filtering enabled.  Both wireless networks have different SSID's, different passwords.  It is not a router issue, as doing to complete factory reset wiped out all information back to out-of-the-box.  I did not associate the phone with any wireless at the time I did the reset, in fact I didn't even log into my Google account.  I let the phone come back up, noted the MAC, and rebooted the phone right away.

The MAC still changed without even setting up to connect to a wireless network, which a hardware address is NOT supposed to change on a device, whether it's a tablet/laptop/desktop or other wireless/wired NIC.  I was at work when I did the factory data reset, and my router was no where near-by at the time.

Message was edited by: Ryan Markwald

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Re: GNex MAC address changing to random numbers after each reboot
almahix
Member

I just discovered that my Nexus has suddenly been like affected. It began about 5 days ago, some 4 weeks after I activated the phone. For some reason though I am often unable to connect to the router via dhcp so I had to setup a static ip address in the phone. It suffices for now, and like you I chose not to seek a replacement because I have no confidence that the replacement phone will not have the same problem, and it is not worth the hassle just to end up in the same place. I will have to hope Google will make it right for us. It isn't like they can't afford to!

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Re: GNex MAC address changing to random numbers after each reboot
RW-BB-USER
Member

I've had this happen twice now (I'm on my 3rd MAC Address) during the month of February.  I've had the phone since late December.

It doesn't appear to happen after every reboot but I haven't paid that close attention.  Very frustrating given that I leverage MAC address filtering.

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Re: GNex MAC address changing to random numbers after each reboot
RW-BB-USER
Member

Phone rebooted (by itself) again yesterday, I'm now on my 4th MAC address as a result.

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