Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol


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DHCP vs. Static IP Address, Which One Is Better?

A DHCP Server service will enhance your network and make keeping track of IP addresses a lot easier.

When it comes to IP addresses (Internet Protocol) why one type is better than the other will depend on how you want to use the IP range you have.

Suppose you have a business or even a home network that you have a lot of visitors coming and going. Then you would want to use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

But on the other hand suppose you had a certain type of server and some printers on that network and you wanted them to always have the same IP address, then you would use a Static IP address.

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol to understand how this works you have to think of an IP address the same as you would a street address.

Your home is at 1 West Elm St, your office is at 400 N Main Ave. If the address of your home moved every time you left then when it was time to go home from work you would have to find that address. Not very convenient is it?

But suppose you lived in a mobile home or a motor home and traveled extensively, then the address would be changing each time you arrived at a new destination.

Now in the Internet and network world temporary addresses are assigned to computers routinely when a computer connects to the network, then it is dropped when the computer disconnects. The use of reusable network addresses is very convenient not only for the new computer but for the administrators of those networks.

By dynamically assigning the IP address when a computer connects to the network you can control how many and how each IP address is used. There minimumial tracking of each individual IP address or computer it is assigned to.

Where as a device such as a printer or a server you would want that IP to stay the same, that is not change every so often when the 'lease' ran out after a set period of time. To go along with this 'static IP' you would use a unique name assigned to both the device and the IP address making the look up of the device easier for humans. It is easier for most people to remember Joes Server than it is to remember

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Most people (well people that don't want to be hacked) have a router in their home. Most routers have a built in Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service that will assign a local network IP address on the network side of the router. It is pretty easy to setup, you pick your network IP base address then decide how many devices you will have connected to the router (most only have four network ports, some have eight), added to that the use of Wi-Fi; the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service on the router will take care of any device that is connected and requests an IP address to communicate with the router.

However a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Server service will give you more options such as:

  • Host network name - such as myhomenetwork.net
  • DHCP Server - name of the DHCP server
  • DNS Server - name of the DNS server (Domain Naming Service - converts names of devices in to IP address and vice versa)
  • Time Server - you can put the IP address of a time server not on your local network to keep all clocks on all computers in sync.
  • How many IP address the DHCP server can assign at one time (this will control how many computers can be connected to the network at any given time. For security purposes only assign as many IPs as you have devices, this will make a hacker work harder to get on your network, especially wireless routers.)
  • Gateway - This would be your router or Proxy service IP
  • WINS - On a Windows Domain you can assign a Windows Internet Naming Service that works in conjunction with DNS for name to IP conversion.

There are over forty different options you can configure on a DHCP Server service.

One thing that the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service would help you with is the book keeping of the static IP's. You have to keep track of static IP address because if you have 'identical' IP addresses your network speed will be effected, sometimes to the point where traffic between computers will stop.

Important Note:

One thing that I point out in my new book - Build a Server Guide - is that a lot of people are now using wireless routers in their homes and small businesses. To keep a hacker at bay one thing you should do is set the number of DHCP address to the exact number of computers you will have connected, no more no less. More addresses gives a hacker the ability to attach to your network and will have the address of all computers and names on the network side further aiding the hacker with the information they would need to perform an attack on your attached computers.

Update 02/11/20 - Take into account all the mobile devices we now carry, most have Wi-Fi to connect to hot spots, local Wi-Fi access points; and yes your router to your ISP, limiting the number of devices will help keep a hacker from accessing the network behind the firewall of the router.

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