Carnegie Mellon University

Use DHCP on Campus

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) allows networked computers or hosts to automatically obtain Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and other network attributes, such as the default gateway router, subnet mask, and Domain Name Service (DNS) servers. When a DHCP-configured host is connected to the network and either boots or attempts to reestablish connectivity, it sends a request to a DHCP server for this necessary network information. The DHCP servers centrally manage pools of this necessary network information and respond accordingly to DHCP requests. 

DHCP allows for hosts to be moved from one network to another without manual configuration, provides a mechanism for administrators to centrally manage network information, and helps prevent network outages caused by configuration issues. 

All campus hosts must be registered in the campus network registration system (NetReg). This system automatically maintains and updates DHCP server configurations. 

There are two DHCP modes for host registrations: 

  • Static - assigned the same IP address throughout the life of the registration.
  • Dynamic - assigned a random, available IP address.  Some campus networks permit only dynamic registrations (i.e., wireless network). Dynamic DNS (DDNS) updates are used to reflect the active IP address assigned by the DHCP service to the registered host.