If you’re connecting a Windows computer to the network, it will certainly need an IP address. In this video, you’ll learn how to configuration your workstation for automatic IP addressing and how to set your IP address manually.
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If you’re configuring an IP address on your computer to access the internet, then you probably need a minimum of at least three things. One is an IP address. You need a unique address that no one else is using on the network. You also need to define a subnet mask. This identifies what subnet your computer happens to be a member of. And the third piece you’ll need is the default gateway. This tells the computer that if you need to communicate outside of your subnet, where’s the router for the subnet? How can you get off of this subnet and talk to other devices that are beyond your local network?
If you’re also talking to devices on the internet, then you’re probably accessing them with a name. You’re probably accessing google.com or yahoo.com. Well obviously, we don’t have an IP address for those. We simply type in google.com, and behind the scenes your computer determines what IP address that happens to be matched with by accessing a domain name server. That DNS server has to be configured in your computer so that it knows where to go and receive that mapping of the name to IP address.
If you’re looking at your IP configuration and none of these things are filled in, then it may be configured to obtain an IP address automatically. And if it does that, it’s using a protocol called DHCP. That stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. Somewhere on your network is a DHCP server that listens for devices that are connecting to the network. And it’s in charge of assigning those IP addresses to your device automatically. That way, you don’t have to go to everybody’s computer and statically assign IP addresses and hope that nobody conflicts with anyone else. The DHCP server handles all of that for you.
There’s also another important address on your computer called the loopback address. It’s default IP address is 127.0.0.1. And everybody has on their computer that loopback address. That way, if you’re trying to diagnose things on a local computer, you can see if the IP stack is working properly by trying to paint that particular IP address.
Let’s look at our IP configuration. This happens to be my Windows 7 device. I’m going to choose my Control Panel. And let’s move down to Network and Sharing Center. And you can see all of the configuration so I have for my computer talking to the network and out to the internet. Let’s going to change adapter settings. And it pulls up a list of all of the adapters on your computer.
And in my case, there’s only one adapter. If I right mouse click this adapter, I can choose the status. We can see that we are connected to the internet over IP version 4. And if I hit the details, it will even showing me the IP version 4 address. There’s your IP address. There’s your subnet mask– 255.255.255.0. There’s my default gateway, which is 10.1.10.1, and there’s the DNS servers. So I can see all of the information has been assigned to me automatically from my DHCP server. And I can see what the values are for each one of those settings.
But what if we didn’t want to use those values? What if we wanted to type in our own information? I’m going to close that. Instead of the details here, I’m going to choose the properties for this device. And I’m going to look at my IP version 4 information and choose the properties of that.
In my configuration, this is set to obtain an IP address automatically. But I could also choose to statically define what I would like this address to be. You may have to discuss the details with your network administrator, or define exactly what you would like to have and then manually add in the different configurations for your IP address, your subnet mask, your default gateway, and your DNS.
There’s also another setting inside of this called the advanced. So you could change IP address information, DNS information Windows name services details in here as well. By changing the properties of this adapter, it takes effect immediately. So when you click OK and go back to the main screen, you’re now using that new IP address. And if you’ve got something wrong, you wanted to revert back, you can always drill down into the properties again, choose to obtain an IP address automatically. And when you click OK, everything will revert back to that automatic configuration.