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Static IP instead of DHCP

Our two offices with around 75 systems between them are connected via a 1mb leased line and all of the workstations are assigned an IP address from our DHCP server based in the larger office (50 users). Static addresses are given to Servers and Printers in both locations. However, we have recently had a situation where the lease line went down and the users in the satellite office were not assigned IP addresses and because of this, could not print to their local printers in their own office since they self assigned IP numbers and appeared to the printers and servers to be on a different subnet. The line came back 2 days later, which cost us a lot of money in time lost.

My question is - should we perhaps consider using static IPs for the workstations to prevent this from happening again? Are there any major disadvantages to using static IP instead of DHCP other than trying to keep track of the numbers in use?
Hope you can help.
This is a matter of personal preference I think - you're talking about network administration and there's lots of ways to cut that cake. Asking my fellow expert in Network Admin, Michael Gregg, might be the best thing to do.

That said, I would say you definitely need to make a choice that deals with failover. My choices would be:

  1. Go static IP assignment, at least on critical machines - I personally rather like static IPs for most things and save DHCP for machines that tend to come and go a lot ? but I'm an old UNiX hack with a penchant for that sort of thing
  2. Establish a DHCP failover mechanism such as a local secondary server in slave mode
  3. Establish a local peer DHCP server and share the IP domain space between the two or establish separate domains and bridge them.

DHCP can be a really handy thing to have. But I maintained systems for years without having the luxury. And somehow I survived. So I know that you can do without.

As someone once said, convenience is the enemy.

This was last published in February 2003

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