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Is it better to use DHCP or set fixed IP addresses on workstations?

I have a small network running off a Win 2003 Server. Is it better and faster to use DHCP or set fixed IP addresses on the workstations?

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Both are about as fast. The total time required for a system to obtain an IP address through DHCP is pretty negligible, so speed should not be the issue.

What may matter more are issues where a fixed address is more useful, like binding specific ports for two-way access through a firewall. In my home network, for instance, I have a Netgear router with a built-in firewall. For some applications I need to set up port forwarding, and the way the router works, a given port or range of ports can only be forwarded to one computer at a time. To make sure that the same sets of ports are forwarded to the same computer, I have the IP address on my computer hard-assigned to 192.168.0.2 (192.168.0.1 is the firewall itself). Other devices are set to use DHCP and obtain addresses as needed, since they don't need to have ports bound to them.

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This was first published in November 2004

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