Although the efficiency of your organization’s network depends heavily on its infrastructure (i.e., routers, servers, switches, and cabling), there are client-side tweaks that you can make to decrease end-user downtime and improve your users’ overall experience. These two Windows 2000 Pro networking tips can help you do just that. The first tip discusses the importance of keeping the DHCP Client service even on workstations with static IP addresses. The second outlines the benefits of using the RIP Listener service.

Don’t trash the DHCP Client service
If you support a small network, you might have static IP addresses assigned to your workstations. This is probably the case if your organization hosts a Web site on a workstation. Or you might have other reasons for having static IP addresses, such as not wanting to hassle with DHCP on a small network.

Whatever the reason, you could disable the DHCP Client service on your computer to save some memory and overhead and attempt to streamline your system. Before you grab your mouse and start rummaging through the Services console, think about the other things the DHCP Client service does for you.

Windows 2000 introduced a feature called Dynamic DNS (DDNS), which enables a Windows 2000 client to request that a Windows 2000 DHCP server update the client’s host record when the host name or the client IP address changes. This is particularly useful when the DNS server needs to maintain an up-to-date host record for computers that receive their addresses through DHCP. It also updates the host record if your workstation’s host name changes or you change your static IP address. If you disable the DHCP Client service, those dynamic updates will stop.

Figure A
Select the check box for Register This Connection’s Addresses In DNS to have the host record information for this connection updated through DDNS.

You’ll find the settings that control DDNS for your client computer on the DNS tab of the properties for TCP/IP under the network interface where TCP/IP is installed (see Figure A).

Can you point me to the Internet, please?
Most client computers have just one network connection; usually, only servers are multihomed (which means they have more than one network interface). In most cases, a computer also has only one gateway, which is the IP address of the computer or router that routes traffic to the next network segment and ultimately to the Internet. If a company has more than one connection to the Internet, it’s common to assign more than one gateway to a client computer so it can still connect to the Internet (or other network segments) if one of the gateways goes belly-up.

A Windows 2000 computer builds a routing table when it boots and uses that routing table to determine how to route outgoing traffic. When you have more than one gateway, the computer might not use the most current routes. So try to route traffic through a gateway that is down or through a route that is less efficient than another. You can use the RIP Listener service to enable the computer to adjust to routing changes.

The RIP Listener service lets the computer listen for RIP announcements from routers and modify its routing table accordingly. So, if a route changes because one or more routers or segments is down or the cost changes for a route, the Windows 2000 client can adjust accordingly.

Figure B

To use the RIP Listener service, your adjacent routers must support the RIP v1 protocol. The RIP Listener service can also listen for RIP v2 announcements that are sent as subnet-level broadcasts, but it doesn’t receive RIP v2 multicast announcements. You’ll find the RIP Listener service in the Networking Services item under Add/Remove Windows Components, which you access from Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel (see Figure B).