As the main goal of having networks is to enable people to share data through their computers then IP addresses serve two principal functions which are host or network interface identification and device location
IP addresses can be assigned to a computers or network devices manually by the network administrator or can also be automatically given by the DHCP server after initial configuration on the server. Manual assigned IP addresses are called static IP addresses and those which are given via the DHCP server are called dynamic IP address since can be automatically renewable when user computer connects to the network based on the lease configuration on the DHCP server
Advantages of Static IP addresses:
- A static IP address best supports name resolution, so that a computer can be most reliably reached over the network easily by its host / domain name. Web, FTP, Mail servers and printers benefit from fixed addressing.
- Some network devices do not support DHCP. If you have those kinds of devices on your network then using static IP addresses guarantees all the devices to connect
Disadvantages of Static IP addresses:
- With static IP addresses when user connects its computer in a different site from where initially connected changes must be made on its network adapter to align with the network configuration of the new site. So IT personnel must be there every time a user wants to connect its computer in a new site, this is not a good practice for centralized ICT department within a cooperate with many branches
- Another disadvantage of static IP addresses is that each address, once assigned, is occupied by a single computer even when that computer is not in use. Since each computer needs a unique address, this limits the number of available IP addresses. With organization with few users this happens not to be a challenge.
- Difficulties in management; static IP addresses are difficult to manage as compared to dynamic IP addresses since dynamic IP addresses are easily managed via a common DHCP server. With static IP addresses every time when we want to assign a user with a new address a full document of all IP addresses must be reviewed to avoid conflicts
Advantages of Dynamic IP addresses:
- Simplicity: In most case the workstations/client side computer should get dynamic IP address by DHCP. It is easy to administer, easy to distribute and change network configuration. With dynamic IP addressing when a user moves to the other site / branch there is no need to perform manually configuration on its network card since the DHCP server will take charges to assign the new IP, DNS and its default gateway addresses automatically.
Disadvantages of Dynamic IP addresses:
- Dynamic IP address is not a choice for some permanently located devices examples printers and servers. These devices are commonly accessed via their names hence their addresses shouldn’t change since a name IP-Name mapping has already fixed on the DNS.
Considering the fact that almost all of today’s computers support DHCP then the second advantage of static IP address doesn’t apply. As per common scenario all specific servers and printers are given static IP since they are permanently located. Dynamic IP addressing serve as the best option for user computers within many organizations since they have users who most of the time moves from one branch to another and the ICT department still centered at the HQ.
In the case of tracking who has done something illegal by looking just at static IP addresses of computers it is not fair, there is a possibility of someone to use somebody else’s computer to log in since domain users can login in any computer within the domain and that computer’s IP address won’t change.
Better tracking can be done by more specialized applications such as Microsoft SCCM which does not end on just looking the IP address used but even the user who has logged to that computer and its location at that time.
Dynamic IP addresses can be configured with a lease time, by extending the lease time in the DHCP server you can do whatever you want to do as with static IP and with advantages since it is hard for a normal user to know its IP address by jus opening the Network tab unless via a command