How to Setup DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) on a Windows Server
DHCP gives hosts on a network all of the IP information they need to communicate.
IP Address, Subnet Mast, Gateway Address, DNS servers and WINS server addresses. For ease
of administration DHCP is a great feature for small businesses to help setup their computer
network quickly and easily without a lot of hassle. If you are using a Windows server for a
file server, domain server, application server, or for pretty much any other reason you can add
DHCP functionality for no cost.
First lets quickly go over how DHCP works because it is very simple in the flow and functionality
of it. First we configure the server and we create a "pool" of IP addresses, normally this
will be something like 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.200 depending on how many computers you are
going to potentially have connect. As you can see with the IP addresses we specified we can
have 100 computers connect using DHCP. Then we specify on the server what the subnet mask,
gateway, and DNS addresses are going to be.
Now when a client computer connects to your network via wire or wireless his computer will
send out a "packet" basically saying "hey are there any DHCP servers out there to give me an
address?" and obviously the server will respond back with a packet "yes, here you can use
192.168.1.105" and now the client computer has a working IP address and can communicate on
the network. The DHCP server keeps track of what IP addresses it hands out based on the clients MAC address.
Now that we have an understanding of how DHCP works lets talk about configuring it on
a Windows server. First thing is to make sure that the DHCP feature is installed and you can
check this by seeing it Windows will allow you to configure DHCP, if not then you don`t have it installed.
To install DHCP simply goto "Control Panel" then "Add Remove Programs" and on
the left side select "Add/Remove Windows Components". Scroll down until you see "Networking
Services" highlight it and click the details button. Then scroll down until you see "Dynamic
Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)" and check the box to the left and click "OK" then click
"Next" and DHCP will be installed on your server. One thing to remember is if DHCP is not installed
on your server already you will need the Windows Server CDs to install DHCP.
Now that we have DHCP installed on our server we can configure it by simply using the
console. So click "Start" then "Run" and type "MMC" in the text box and click "OK" and a Console
window will appear. Click "File" "Add/Remove Snap-in" or simply press CTRL+M and then click
"Add..." and a list of all the services you can configure will show up and you want to select."DHCP"
and click "Add". Once you do that you can back out by clicking "Close" and then "OK" and you
should now see a DHCP menu on the left side of the console.
Double click on DHCP on the left side and choose your server. Now we need to create what
is called a scope since you can actually run multiple scopes on a single DHCP server. Right
click on your server under DHCP on the left hand side and choose new scope. You will be prompted
with a "New Scope Wizard" to walk you through everything. Choose a name for your DHCP scope
and then click next and choose your range of IP addresses you want to use and define you subnet
mask. Default subnet mask is usually 24 in length or 255.255.255.0.
Next you can choose addresses to exclude, this is a good idea if you are going to have some
equipment with static addresses set within your IP range. Next you will want to select how long
you want your lease to be and the default is 8 days. If you are going to have a few computers
that will always be connected then 8 days is probably fine. If you are setting up like a wireless
hot spot where a lot of different clients will be connecting you probably want to make the lease
about 8 hours instead of 8 days. Click next and then click next again and you scope has now been
created and your clients can get an address via DHCP.
Mike Walton has been in the technology field for over 8 years and has 6+ years in hospitality
technolgy. Mike has experience with Microsoft Windows Server 2000, 2003, Windows 98, XP, and
Vista, Networking, Cisco Equipment, PCI DSS, and many more.
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