Cyberspace: Network Configuration Standards
Managing a network that is unorganized is impossible. If you want to deploy reliable and serviceable networks, you must begin with an organized architecture. Installing networkable gear using DHCP is certainly the easiest method of configuration from an installation standpoint: You plug in the network cable, and it works. But the downsides can outweigh the ease of installation.
First, in the event of a network power cycle or outage, there is no way to determine what IP address a device will come back on the network with. The printer that was at xxx.108 is now at xxx.101; the satellite DVR in the master bedroom was at xxx.101, and is now at xxx.113.
This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can be when time comes to support these products. By not taking advantage of a form of static IP addressing, you’re losing out on a big advantage of networkable products (i.e., visibility).
Utilizing static IP addresses will give you much better control. Remember, if you don’t know where the starting point is for an IP device, how can you ever know where it is?
You need to start managing the network, and part of that is being aware of everything that’s on it, and what addresses they’re at. I would recommend that you come up with an IP scheme that allows any tech to know where gear is supposed to be on the network. That way, when things are not working, they’ll have a clear idea of where to begin troubleshooting.
For example, if all wireless access points start at xxx.240 and go through xxx.250, and I’m notified of a service issue, I have the ability to access the network to look for any obvious issues. If I can see a device at xxx.240 and xxx.242, but nothing at xxx.241, I then know where my problem is. But what about those companies that recommend DCHP, or require it? I have an answer for them, too: DHCP Reservation.
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