TCP/IP is installed by default when you install Windows XP Professional, but you can change this if your network does not require it or you will not be joining an Active Directory domain.
By default your computer automatically requests a unique TCP/IP address for your network from a DHCP server. If no DHCP server is available, Windows XP tells APIPA to query the other computers that are currently connected to the network so that it can assign itself a unique IP address.
You should be familiar with the following terms:
- Subnet mask: this is an IP address filter which is applied to each unique IP address. It determines which part of the IP address specifies the network segment where the computer is located, and which part of the IP address specifies the unique host address for that individual computer. Eg: an IP address of 192.168.1.20 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 has a network ID of 192.168.1. and the host address for the computer is 20. This is similar to the use of a street name and a house number for postal addresses. There may be many houses in the street, but only one has a house number of 20.
- Default gateway: this IP address specifies the router for the local network segment or subnet. If this address is not present, the computer cannot communicate with other computers outwith the local network segment. Default gateway information is normally obtained through DHCP along with the IP address.
- DNS servers: having more than one DNS server (normally a preferred server and an alternate server) on a network helps provide load balancing and fault tolerance for client computers that need to perform hostname-to-IP address lookups and IP address-to-hostname lookups. DNS is also used to find domain-based services such as domain controllers, DFS roots, and Global Catalog servers. DNS server information is generally obtained through DHCP if the computer is configured to obtain an IP address automatically.
- WINS addresses: WINS provides name resolution between NetBIOS computer names and IP addresses. WINS server addresses are generally obtained through DHCP if the computer is configured to obtain an IP address automatically.
Next: Manual Configuration