This week, I ran into an annoying feature regarding the Apple iOS Personal Hotspot function of my iPhone 5s. I had to do some software testing with various WiFi clients. This worked fine, up to the moment that new devices ran into connectivity problems.
The new devices could connect, but got a message that there was no/limited Internet connectivity. Checking the IP address of the devices showed that they had an 169 address assigned.
So the iPhone wouldn't give new IP addresses to the new devices. Earlier devices that connected correctly could reconnect without a problem though.
It turned out to be a 'normal' DHCP problem. The IP address scope on the iPhone was depleted.
The iPhone has a small DHCP address pool that can give out 16 addresses (172.20.10.0-172.20.10.15). Of these 16 addresses are 3 taken by the network, broadcast (172.20.10.0 and 172.20.10.15) and iPhone itself (172.20.10.1). Leaving 13 addresses for other devices.
In normal situations, this shouldn't be a problem, but when your testing stuff, you can run into a shortage of IP addresses. Besides the shortage of addresses there is another challenge; no way of altering the DHCP lease time, or even clearing the issued IP addresses.
The lease time for the DHCP address is approximately 1 day (85536 seconds), as shown by a little network traffic capturing below.