For many people, the configuration of a static IPv4 address is not required because of large-scale deployment of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. In fact, most people don’t even notice that they use these servers every day — typically in the little box that connects to their service provider. This is also generally true for those working in a corporate environment: Usually this address management is handled by the network administrator who in turn runs a DHCP Server (a more powerful one) on the corporate network.
For those who want to understand IPv4 addressing, one of the most helpful things to learn is how to alter the configuration of a device to make it a static IPv4 address. The address is not requested and managed from a central server; because of this the address does not change (and thus is static). This article will take a look at the process of configuring a static IPv4 address in Windows 7; however, the same general steps can be followed on most of Microsoft’s current platforms, including Windows Server.
Configuring a Static IPv4 Address Using Windows 7
Our first step involves getting to the Control Panel. Since there is more than one way, let’s go ahead and begin by clicking on the Start menu and selecting Control Panel from the right side of the menu as shown below in Figure 1. This assumes default start menu settings.
After you’ve opened the Control Panel, click on Network and Internet, then View network status and tasks. This will bring up the Networking and Sharing Center. The Control Panel is shown in Figure 2.
The next step can be done in one of two ways:
- If the network connection that is going to be altered is currently connected, it will be shown under “Connections.” Click on this connection, then click Properties.
- Click on Change Adapter Settings (shown below in the column on the left) to bring up a list of the available network connections.
An example of a network connections list is shown below in Figure 4. First, click on the connection that is going to be configured — in this example there are several different network connection options. On most desktop computers there is typically a single network connection called “Local Area Connection,” whereas on most mobile computers (laptop, netbook, etc.) there are two network connections labeled “Local Area Connection” and “Wireless Network Connection.” Click (once) on the appropriate one. Then right-click on the same connection — this will bring up a context menu like the one shown in Figure 4. Then click Properties.
This will bring up the Properties dialog box for the specific connection you selected, which is shown below in Figure 5. From here many different things can be altered to change the behavior of the connection; since this article is concentrating on setting up a static IPv4 address, click (once) on the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) item in the list, then select Properties.
Once the Properties dialog is up, the current IPv4 addressing configuration can be viewed. Figure 6 illustrates what a dynamic IPv4 addressing configuration would look like. Since we are looking to statically configure this connection, select the Use the following IP address:” radio button. Once this is done, the following fields will be enabled so that a specific IP address, subnet mask and Default gateway can be specified.
The specific IP address to use in any given situation can vary considerably, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll use the IPv4 address 192.168.1.100 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 and a Default gateway of 192.168.1.1. This configuration is shown in Figure 7.
Another thing that also needs to be configured when changing over to a static IPv4 address is a static DNS server address; when using dynamic IP addressing this is typically received along with the IPv4 address from the DHCP server. For this example, we’ll use the address 126.96.36.199, which is Google’s public DNS server.
After entering all that, click OK; configuration is now complete.
While this is a relatively easy task, it is an important one to know when learning IP addressing. This way different machines can be connected together with different IP address assignments to see how changing the addresses can alter the way that devices communicate.