Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm setting up a small unattended network containing one server and several node machines that communicate with that server. Is setting up a reserved entry on the network router's DHCP server for each node machine reliable enough?

By that I mean things like:
. Recovery from one switch system shutdowns/startups
. Recovery from operational tasks like individual device reboots
. Consistant and quick IP address handout

Or is it a better rule of thumb to use a static IP for each node machine?

share|improve this question

Or is it a better rule of thumb to use a static IP for each node machine

If it's unattended than it's always a better idea to have less moving parts. Once it's set up with static IP's then it's one less thing that can/could go wrong

share|improve this answer
Agreed. Especially if something goes wrong with the router itself. – sybreon Dec 23 '09 at 1:19
"Once it's setup"... this implies that no new devices will be added to the network. An entirely unrealistic scenario. – womble Dec 23 '09 at 21:29

I'd say it's no less reliable than static IP address assignments (given the risk of typos, people changing things for random stupid reasons, etc).

share|improve this answer
Agreed. Plus scalability will be easier -- assuming you want all of the hosts on the same local subnet. – Mike B Dec 23 '09 at 1:17
+1 - Static IP addresses are unreliable because people screw up. A DHCP server, once configured, won't make typographical errors or assign duplicate IP addresses. – Evan Anderson Dec 23 '09 at 16:21
unless of course someone needs to screw around with the DHCP scope, which of course will have to happen when the device that requires a static IP gets added. – Jim B Dec 24 '09 at 3:10
Devices with static IPs get added as DHCP reservations (and, hopefully, left to pull DHCP rather than being configured statically). The DHCP scope becomes the canonical "IP address spreadsheet". Yeah, somebody will have to type them in there correctly, too. – Evan Anderson Dec 29 '09 at 0:23
of course the dope that puts the device in doesn't care if the scope is hosed- his device worked and they may not even know there is a DHCP scope- after all it's unattended – Jim B Jan 5 '10 at 5:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.