Configuring DHCP for LAN using Windows Server

Windows Server 2010 (also anything on NT platform; 2000, 2008, etc) is a powerful operating system with a wide range of capabilities. That is why most companies regardless of how small they are allocate a significant amount of their IT budget on software. While open source server operating systems do offer same functionalities as expensive Windows Server OS, in the long run, they can significantly increase the IT operations costs. Windows Server OS is built for efficiency with a great user interface (UI) and somewhat plug-and-play modules.

What are modules?

Modules are software packages that add value to the server. Active Directory (AD), IIS (Internet Information Services) and Network Access Protection (NAP) few examples of modules integrated into the OS. It is up to the system administrator install necessary modules for their clients, hence providing an option to prevent overload of valuable IT resources (by not installing unwanted modules).

What is DHCP?

If you want to connect several devices to a single Internet connection, you must have method to separate packet requests from each unit. Modules are actually services. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a LAN service that generates internal IP addresses for each of the network device from a pre-assigned range. Even in consumer level, routers (with DHCP) perform this exact same operation. However, what set the Windows Server DHCP service apart from routers is that it allows greater control over devices, users and network behavior.

Instructions for installing DCHP

After installing Windows Server, register your OS with Microsoft and install all the available Windows Updates. Then,

  • Install the Active Directory Domain Services module
  • Setup a domain service and create at least a single user (it is also beneficial to connect at least one client computer in the network to the domain)
  • Install the DHCP module and DO NOT turn it on until you have installed all the windows updates

Now, we are ready to configure DHCP. We will go in to details about how to use DHCP to control your network devices and users in a future post.

Your DHCP module in the server can take over the DHCP from the router. However, ONLY the computers connected to your domain will be allowed to receive an IP from the service. If you are installing this for studying/hobby, I recommend keeping the router for important units. You can use the CMDlet to install and test the modules too, but if you are not familiar with Windows Server OS or if you don’t want to over complicate DHCP installation, please us the Windows Server Manager to install it.