Planning for DHCP

Installing the Microsoft DHCP Server is so easy that some administrators install it without much thought, and paint themselves into a corner by doing so. In a typical network, the DHCP Server places such small demands on server resources that you can easily forget that DHCP is even there. That’s a mistake. Once it is installed, the DHCP Server becomes a mission-critical component of your network. If the main DHCP Server fails and you do not have a standby DHCP server available, all of your workstations lose TCP/IP connectivity at the end of their lease, or when they reboot.

The size and complexity of your network largely determine how much DHCP planning you need to do. You might be able to plan DHCP for a small network in a few minutes on the back of an envelope. Planning DHCP for a large, complex internetwork may require much more effort. Before you install DHCP, spend some time thinking about how you want DHCP to work for you and how you will cope with a failure.

Planning DHCP for a Simple Network

Planning DHCP for a simple network—one in which all devices are connected to a single logical segment—is pretty straightforward. A simple network may use repeaters to extend the reach of its physical segment. It may also use bridges to connect multiple physical segments into a single logical segment. It does not, however, use routers to link multiple logical networks (or subnets) into a single network—with one exception; a simple network may include a border router that ...

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