Troubleshooting DHCP on Windows Workstations: 169.x.x.x

Although DHCP is a highly automated process that requires little from the client side, you should still be familiar with a few techniques to diagnose and correct issues.

About DHCP

A DHCP server is responsible for leasing out IP addresses of a chosen pool to connected clients. This allows administrators to have numerous devices on a network without having to manually chose and set each clients address as well as keep track of each one assigned to avoid conflict. When a workstation reboots, or the lease time is over, a new lease is given sometimes with the same IP if available.

Diagnose DHCP

Issues related to DHCP clients are quick to diagnose. Open up command prompt by clicking start -> run -> cmd. Next type ipconfig, if the IPv4 Address field contains 169.254.*.* (where * can be any # between 1 & 254) an Automatic Private IP Address (APIPA) was assigned by the client due to a failure in receiving an address from any available servers.

Resolve DHCP Issues

To resolve, first check your physical network connection including cables, and any switches that may have been disconnected or malfunctioned. Lights are always a good indicator on switches and network ports. Next, in the command prompt type ipconfig /renew which will attempt to renew the lease from an available DHCP server. If you receive an error message; DHCP Server Unavailable: Renewing Adapter "" you will need to contact the DHCP Administrator due to likely issues on the server side.

Release or Renew?

It is very common for users to use IPCONFIG /RELEASE before IPCONFIG /RENEW without understanding the proper use. The rule is simple, if you are connecting to a new DHCP server use /RELEASE then /RENEW. If you are sticking with the same server simply use /RENEW.

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