I'm more of a "StackOverflow" kind of guy, so the server stuff kind of eludes me.

I have been having some serious issues with my router going down in the middle of the night lately, and I'm concerned that I am putting too much load on it. In order to remove some load, I'd like to run DHCP off of my Server 2003 Standard box that I am running in my basement.

Can someone help me with a short "this plugs into this, make sure this is off/on" and point me in the right direction?

Here is my home network.

Shaw Docsys Modem --> D-Link DIR-655 Wireless Router

The router then plugs into all of my clients respectively

Here is a list of the clients... being descriptive to show network load...

  1. Sony Playstation 3
  2. D-Link DSM-520 Media Lounge
  3. My Apple iPhone
  4. Wife's Apple iPod Touch
  5. Apple Airport Express (goes to home theater for media streaming)
  6. My MacBook Pro
  7. Wife's MacBook
  8. My iMac G5
  9. Server 2003 Standard
  10. Trixbox IP PBX
  11. Wife's Business PC
  12. My Business PC
  13. My Business Noteook
  14. Daughters Netbook
  15. My Linksys SPA-941 IP Telephone
  16. Wife's Linksys SPA-941 IP Telephone
  17. D-Link DNS-323 Network Attached Storage

As you can see, there is a lot of "stuff" hanging off this router and I'm sure it's not designed for this much load. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Wired In = Server and PBX and ONE IP Telephone Oct 20, 2009 at 3:40
  • Secondary Wired In Through Switch - Business PC and iMac and ONE IP Telephone and NAS Oct 20, 2009 at 3:41
  • Everything else is Wireless Oct 20, 2009 at 3:41
  • So I went and bought a new DIR-825 with simultaneous dual-band ... seems to work OK I suppose. I'm running DHCP and DNS on the server which takes some load off the router, but more importantly I can map all my devices in DNS to something.local... which is very nice. Oct 21, 2009 at 5:21

5 Answers 5


My guess is that you've got a duff router that's on its way out, hence it going down. Of course, that's ruling out that it's got some settings that automatically power it off when there is no activity.

It should be as simple as turning off DHCP on the router and setting up the DHCP server on your Windows server. I'm running a similar setup here, just with a Unix server instead of a Windows server (so I can't help much with setting up DHCP on Windows).

  • Perfect, thanks for the info. I'll vote you guys up when I get enough reputation to do so. Oct 20, 2009 at 14:30
  • DHCP was as simple as turning it off on the Router and On on the Server. I also had to make sure RECURSION was ENABLED in the DNS so that the DNS could be handled by the server. Then in the DHCP settings I told it to tell the clients to use the server for DNS as well. Worked like a champ. Oct 23, 2009 at 15:59

That may appear to be a large list for a home user but it's really not much at all. I seriously doubt that serving DHCP to those few devices is the cause of your router going down. DHCP is just not that much of a load. By all means move said DHCP to another machine but I think you should investigate what else might be happening. It could well be that the router is simply unstable. Alternatively, there may be some network traffic that's causing the router to fault, which will not be easy to diagnose.

My suggestion is to systematically remove items from the network, at least temporarily, and see if the problem goes away. That may at least give you a starting point.

  • The router has been running stable for about 2 years. This has only just begun in the last week or so. The only thing that has happened in that time is that we purchased the two MacBooks. Oct 20, 2009 at 4:17
  • So aside from the fact that DHCP might not be the cause of my problem... My question still stands... What would the config look like if I were to move DHCP over to my server??? Would I still run the WAN on the router into the Modem? Are there any special settings other than simply turning DHCP off on the router? Oct 20, 2009 at 4:53
  • As MrDenny says, there are no physical changes required. It's only a matter of installing and configuring the DHCP service on the server. I recall seeing a question a while back about a Mac bringing down a router, so it may be worth having a search for that. Oct 20, 2009 at 7:28

You wouldn't change any wiring in order to move the DHCP service. Simply disable DHCP on the router, then enable DHCP on the Windows server. The server will need a static address.

Then reboot all the clients and they will get there new IPs issued to them.


The point has been made by John Gardeniers but its worth repeating - the DHCP service running on your router is adding almost nothing to the load or complexity that your WAN router has to handle. DHCP leases are typically relatively long lived - on mine it's 6 hours. The router has to handle DHCP requests when machines pop up on the network, and when renewal requests are sent (typically at 50% of the lease time) so even with 20 or so clients your router only has to handle about 2-3 DHCP related events an hour, maybe 10 at a busy time when you are powering up\disconnecting a lot of stuff. And the DIR-655 is a decent enough piece of consumer kit too.

My advice is to start looking for what is really causing your problems - the router could have some fault or it may just be that the load has passed a critical threshold, the D-Link is OK consumer kit but if you have a couple of its ports running at a significant percent of full speed or fielding a lot of random traffic then it could be crumbling. It could indicate that you have some malware on one of your systems flooding the router with lots of traffic to a wide spread of addresses, it could easily be is someone attempting to break the encryption - many of the WiFi attacks rely on triggering large amounts of traffic, and it could just be that you've got some scheduled bulk data transfers that are now too much for it to handle.

  • My Wireless is set up without encryption. I use MAC Address Filtering and I do not broadcast my SSID. I am fairly certain that there is no malware anywhere on my network but can never be 100%. It always seems to go down when we are sleeping (middle of the night), and my wife resets it before I drag my ass out of bed. Also I don't bulk data transfer anything on a schedule. Oct 20, 2009 at 20:40
  • Fair enough - Not broadcasting SSID and enabling MAC address filtering are the sort of things that would stop a casual friend or passerby accidentally getting on your network but for anyone running any sort of WiFi attack they represent a near zero barrier. Still odds are that it isn't this.
    – Helvick
    Oct 20, 2009 at 21:04
  • Can you explain how it is a near zero barrier? If their MAC doesn't match.. they're stuck... no? Besides, I do trust my neighborhood... it's pretty low key, small town. Oct 21, 2009 at 5:19
  • Check Wikipedia's Entry on MAC Spoofing, changing it is trivial. To find the MAC address to change to you just sniff traffic, slightly harder but not a roadblock, tools like Aircrack do that and give you the "hidden" SSID too. See blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/index.php?p=43 for a 4 year old comment - it's even easier today. But if you trust your local environment that does still make it unlikely.
    – Helvick
    Oct 21, 2009 at 6:04

While you can easily do DHCP on the Windows 2003 box and still use the Router for wireless and as the gateway device, you might check one other thing. Is the Router on a UPS? I have seen so many home/small business routers that error due to a power brownout. In several cases, the constant beeping of the newly installed UPS led the client to discover a serious undervoltage problem caused by something upstream. Not always the fix but pretty simple to try.

  • Thanks for your reply. The router is not on a UPS. Oct 20, 2009 at 14:29

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