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Using Static IP Addresses on Your Network

Contents

  1. Ways to Convert from Dynamic to Static IP Addresses
  2. Reserving DHCP Addresses
  3. Manually Configuring Clients
  4. Disabling DHCP on the Router
  5. We've Done It

Article Description

Do you regularly access shares or servers on your network? If so, it is better to assign IP addresses to these devices instead of getting them automatically from DHCP. Eric Geier, author of Wi-Fi Hotspots: Setting Up Public Wireless Internet Access, helps you discover ways to convert from dynamic to static addresses.

As you may know already, every computer or device that connects to your local network needs an IP address to communicate with other clients and to access the Internet.

By default, most consumer and small business level routers come with a DHCP server enabled. This server hands out and manages the IP addresses on your local network.

However, clients aren't always given the same IP address from the DHCP server when they connect. This can cause problems, or at least become annoying, when you have servers on the network or you frequently share files.

For example, it would be easier to remember the IP addresses of shared computers. Therefore, if you can't access it on the network you could try using its IP address instead of browsing to it or using its Computer Name—this trick saves me from many headaches.

As you see, sometimes it's better to configure static IP addresses (that don't change) for the servers, or all the devices, on the network.

So in this article, we'll step through three different methods to move from dynamic to static IP addresses. Now let's get started!

Ways to Convert from Dynamic to Static IP Addresses

Here are three different approaches you can use to move from using dynamic IPs, handed out by DHCP, to configuring static or permanent addresses:

  • Reserve DHCP addresses on the router for select clients: If your router has a DHCP reservation feature, this is a great way to quickly solve your IP dilemma. You don't have to physically configure each computer. You simply tell the router to always give a client a certain IP.
  • Thus when the client polls the DHCP server when it connects to the network, it will automatically receive its reserved IP. Clients without a reservation will simply receive a random IP like normal. You might even think about doing this for all your computers and devices; it's quick and easy.

  • Manually configure select clients with static IP addresses: Do this only if select devices and computers need a static IP and the other ones can use DHCP. You'd have to take a minute or two and input the IP details into the desired computer(s). It's not as quick to go this route with multiple computers; however, you don't have to access the router.
  • Even regular network users have the ability to do this, given that they have administrative rights on their Windows account or at least the ability to edit network settings.

  • Manually configure all clients and disable DHCP on the router: This is similar to the above approach but requires you or the users to manually configure any device that connects to the network.
  • This is great if you find it beneficial that all the computers and devices have a permanent IP address. Just keep in mind that you'll need to manage these addresses.

    If you have more than a few clients on the network, you'll probably have to store a list of addresses and reference it when new clients join, so there isn't a conflict.

We'll step through these approaches in the next sections.

2. Reserving DHCP Addresses | Next Section