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Communication and Networking Services
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In order to send and receive information over the Internet, every computer must have a unique identifying address. This address is referred to as the computer's Internet Protocol address, or simply its IP address. Network administrators maintain a bank of IP addresses to provide to computer users they support.

Traditionally, a person configuring a computer to work on the Internet would get an IP address from his network administrator and manually enter it in the computer's networking software. Today, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP, provides a mechanism for IP addresses to be assigned dynamically (i.e., individually, as needed) to computers. This not only reduces the work necessary to administer a large IP network, but also lays the groundwork to enable people to move their computers to different locations on their network without having to manually change their IP addresses.


Recently, Networking began a pilot program called Roaming DHCP, which provides greater ease and freedom when connecting laptop comuters to SUNet from multiple locations on campus.

At campus locations where Roaming DHCP has been activated, Stanford faculty, staff and students can plug their computers into a a network jack without having to obtain a distinct IP address to use on that particular local network. This can be extremely useful, for example, when using a laptop computer to make a presentation in another location, while doing research in a library (Meyer Library is one of the first Roaming DHCP locations), or in offices where individuals are relocating often. On networks where Roaming DHCP is active, there is no need to search out the Local Network Administrator, get an IP address that will work in the new location, and manually reconfigure your computer's networking software. You can simply sit down, plug in and get on the network.


Faculty and staff should first talk to their LNA or Expert Partner to find out more about DHCP. (If you aren't sure who that person is, use the handy Networking searchable database to find out.) For additional information on configuring your computer and connecting to SUNet, visit the Computer Resource Center Web site at the

Students should check with their Resident Computer Coordinator (RCC) or visit Residential Computing at

LNAs and other technical staff looking for more detailed information can visit the Network Consulting group's DHCP page at

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