Networking Technology: Static IP vs DHCP

networking-technology:-static-ip-vs-dhcp

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You’re probably aware that your network and the internet are interlinked through a chain of IP addresses. However, you may not know much about the difference between static and DHCP. We examine the key traits of both IP addresses to help you determine which option is more suitable for your needs. Let’s start with static IP.

Static IP Address

A static IP address is assigned to your network devices permanently by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Static address will not change, even if the device reboots itself. Static IP addresses are usually assigned to servers that host websites, and provide email, FTP, VPN services. There are two versions of a static IP: IPv4 and IPv6. Most connections leverage the IPv4 address as permanent IP, but we’re secretly hoping that someday all networked servers might get a unique IPv6 address (one can dream, right?).

Each device on the network will have its own static IP address with no chances of overlap. You have to configure a static IP address manually. Therefore, when a new device adds to the network, you have to go to ‘manual’ configuration. Next, you input the static IP address, subnet mask, DNS server and the default gateway. Since configuration is manual, one has to be very careful in assigning a unique address to each device.

DHCP

If static IP address configuration is too difficult for you to manage, then DHCP is for you. As the name suggests, dynamic IP address is an address that keeps changing. The network must have an already configured and operating DHCP server for the dynamic address to work. DHCP server assigns one vacant IP address to all devices within the network.

DHCP is your solution to automatically configure and assign an IP address to devices on a physical network. It is automated in performance and easy to use for people with minimal technical knowledge. Plus, DHCP is harder to crack, and you can also obscure your network address by additional security through a VPN. It’s also difficult for a bad actor to identify where you’re located when you’re using a dynamic IP address.

What’s the difference between static and dynamic IP?

The static vs dynamic IP topic is a matter of huge debate between IT technicians because proper IP is essential for smooth communication in a network. So, which one is better, DHCP or Static IP?

Static IP addresses give each device the liberty to maintain one address. Network administrators make sure that every device is using a unique address and this check and balance is completely manual. Since this process is manual, it can create problems on the network regarding TCP/IP issues.

DHCP is a good choice for network administrators because it is an automated way of assigning IP addresses. No supervision is required to check repeated addresses for each device. However, it’s unlikely to work well on hosted servers because of the DNS problems. Some Dynamic DNS Services claim they have a solution, but it’s better to steer clear of the added costs and complexity.

Conclusion

When configuring a hundred devices on a network, DHCP will take only minutes to assign addresses. Moreover, DHCP is also cheaper than static IP because of the low maintenance costs required. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charge extra money for static IP maintenance. Static IPs also require additional security which adds up in the cost. The good news is that most ISPs nowadays assign IPs through DHCP. You can see this while viewing your public IP. Unless there’s a static IP on your home network, this should change over time.

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