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TCP/IP configuration methods

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

TCP/IP configuration methods

You can configure TCP/IP on servers running Windows Server 2003 by using the following methods:

  • Automatic configuration

  • Dynamic configuration

  • Alternate configuration

  • Manual configuration

If you are using either a dynamic or manual configuration, find out more about developing an effective TCP/IP network numbering plan in Numbering your network.

Automatic configuration

TCP/IP uses Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) by default to provide automatic configuration, using the IP address range 169.254.0.1 to 169.254.255.254 and the subnet mask 255.255.0.0. There is no automatic configuration of a default gateway, DNS server, or WINS server since APIPA is designed for networks that consist of a single network segment and that are not connected to the Internet.

For more information, see Configure TCP/IP for automatic addressing.

Dynamic configuration

By using DHCP, TCP/IP configuration is done dynamically and automatically when the computer is started. Dynamic configuration requires the configuration of a DHCP server. By default, computers running Windows Server 2003 operating systems are DHCP clients. By properly configuring the DHCP server, TCP/IP hosts can obtain IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS server, NetBIOS node type, and WINS server configuration information. Dynamic configuration (using DHCP) is recommended for medium-to-large TCP/IP networks.

For more information, see Configure TCP/IP for dynamic addressing.

Alternate configuration

Alternate configuration enables a computer to use an alternate, manually configured IP address configuration in the absence of a DHCP server. You can use an alternate configuration when a computer is used on more than one network, at least one of the networks does not have a DHCP server, and automatic configuration is not wanted.

For example, if you have a laptop computer that you use both at the office and at home, it is useful to configure TCP/IP for an alternate configuration. At the office, the laptop uses a DHCP-allocated TCP/IP configuration. At home, where there is no DHCP server present, the laptop automatically uses the alternate configuration, which provides easy access to home network devices and the Internet and allow seamless operation on both networks, without the manual reconfiguration of TCP/IP settings.

Without an alternate configuration, TCP/IP uses APIPA by default.

For more information, see Configure TCP/IP for an alternate configuration.

Manual configuration

By manually configuring the properties of the TCP/IP protocol through the properties of a network connection (in Network Connections), you can assign an IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS server, and WINS server. Manual configuration is required in a network with multiple network segments when no DHCP server is present.

For more information, see Configure TCP/IP for static addressing.

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