TCP/IP Networks

TCP/IP Networks

Client computers running on TCP/IP networks can be assigned an IP address statically by the network administrator or dynamically by a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server.

Windows Vista uses DNS as the namespace provider whether you use static IP addresses or DHCP. Networks that include Microsoft® Windows NT® Server version 4.0 or earlier or client computers running versions of Windows earlier than Windows 2000 might require a combination of DHCP and WINS.

DNS is required for integration with Active Directory, and it provides the following advantages:

  • Interoperability with other DNS servers, including Novell NDS and UNIX Bind.
  • Integration with networking services, by using Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) and DHCP.
  • Dynamic registration of DNS names and IP addresses.
  • Incremental zone transfers and load balancing between servers.
  • Support for resource record types such as Services Locator (SRV) and Asynchronous Transfer Mode Addresses (ATMA) records.

DHCP allows Windows Vista–based computers to receive IP addresses automatically. This helps to prevent configuration errors and address conflicts that can occur when previously assigned IP addresses are reused to configure new computers on the network. As computers and devices are removed from the network, their addresses are returned to the address pool and can be reallocated to other clients. The DHCP lease renewal process ensures that needed changes are made automatically when client configurations must be updated.

The advantages of using DHCP follow:

  • Conflicts caused by assigning duplicate IP addresses are eliminated.
  • DNS or WINS settings do not need to be manually configured if the DHCP server is configured to those settings.
  • Clients are assigned IP addresses regardless of the subnet to which they connect, so IP settings need not be manually changed for roaming users.

If you assign IP addresses statically, you need to have the following information for each client:

  • The IP address and subnet mask for each network adapter installed on each client computer.
  • The IP address for the default gateway.
  • Whether the client is using DNS or WINS.
  • The name of the client computer's DNS domain and the IP addresses for the DNS or WINS servers.
  • The IP address for the proxy server.


It is recommended that you assign static IP addresses to servers and dynamic ones to client computers. However, there are exceptions that might require you to assign static addresses to computers running Windows XP Professional. For example, a computer that runs an application that has the IP addresses hard-coded into it requires a static address.