Dynamic IP vs. Static IP

What is the difference with Dynamic IP vs Static IP? Well if you don’t know, I’m going to clear that up for you in this short post!

When you first start learning about computer networking and IP addresses for all of the components (computers, devices, printers, servers) on a network, you quickly start hearing the terms “Dynamic IP” and “Static IP” used repeatedly. So what are technicians and admins talking about when they use these terms? 

Dynamic IP vs. Static IP

To further explain the difference, I highly recommend you watch this video called “What is DHCP?” on my Youtube channel, as it will give you a good foundation for understanding “Dynamic IPs”

But here’s the short and simple of these 2 terms: If you manually go into the operating system on each client and TELL it what IP address and subnet mask it’s going to have on its network card settings, and you MANUALLY tell it what the default gateway IP address is on the network, you are doing what’s called “Static IP” assignment. 

In other words, you tell that device/computer what its IP address, subnet mask and default gateway IP address are and it only uses those settings.

And this can be easy to maintain on a small to even medium-sized computer network. BUT…

When you have a large to extremely expansive computer network in a company or organization with say several thousand employees or users on that network, you can’t just physically login to each device on that network and assign it an IP address. If you do, you can run into multiple issues.

For one, you will spend all day everyday just assigning IP addresses - especially if you have new users or devices continually needing to connect to your network. Statically assigning IP addresses becomes futility.

The Big Deal With Static IP's

One of the other big issues you’ll probably encounter by “statically” assigning IP addresses on a bigger network is that you have to keep track of the IP addresses you’ve already used and make sure you don’t assign the same IP address to 2 or more different devices. And what if a device you assigned an IP address to stops being used or connecting to the network? How do you know that IP address is available to be used for some other device?

Dynamic IP's...

This is where DHCP comes in handy, as it hands out and keeps track of the necessary IP addresses on a larger network. And by using a DHCP server (again, check out the video on “What is DHCP?”), you are using what is referred to as “Dynamic IP” addressing. 

So to sum it up really simply, “Static IP” means you are MANUALLY assigning IP addresses, subnet masks and default gateway IP address to every component/client on a network.

“Dynamic IP” means you are probably using a DHCP server on your network to actually handle advertising out available IP addresses, subnet masks and default gateway. And the DHCP server is keeping track of what components/devices on the network are currently USING those IP addresses and which aren’t, so it knows what IP addresses are available to be used by new devices that need IP addresses when they first connect to the network.

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