What is DHCP?
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP, is a vital component in most network infrastructures. Its purpose is to automatically assign IP addresses to client devices connecting to the network. Without DHCP, administrators would have to manually assign IPs to every device on the network – a time-consuming and error-prone exercise.
Why DHCP Monitoring is important
Since the DHCP server is responsible for assigning IP addresses on your network, a failure in this sphere could cause serious problems. When there is a DHCP issue newly connected devices are assigned a default Class B IP address. In this fallback configuration, they cannot communicate with other devices or be reached on the network. A point to note is that similar problems can occur when the address space assigned to the DHCP server is exhausted.
What is DHCP monitoring?
With DHCP monitoring you can always see whether your DHCP server is running as it should. And in case of problems, you will be promptly notified by PRTG so that you can intervene in a timely manner. In most cases, this will enable you to fix the problem before it even becomes noticeable on the network.
3 important aspects of DHCP
How PRTG defines sensors
In PRTG, “sensors” are the basic monitoring elements. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive. On average you need about 5-10 sensors per device or one sensor per switch port.
There are three important aspects of DHCP that administrators should be monitoring, and PRTG can help with them all.
Firstly, admins need to make sure that the DHCP service is actually running. In most AD environments, the Domain Controllers usually run the DHCP service. So, by applying a simple WMI Service Sensor and configuring it to watch the “DHCP Server Service”, the admin will always know the state of the service. Should the service stop, PRTG can be configured to automatically try to restart the service, and inform the admin if the attempt was successful:
The second important test is to see if the server is actually allocating addresses. This is where the dedicated PRTG DHCP Sensor comes into play. It will send a broadcast message out to the network, requesting an IP address, and then waits for a DHCP to respond. The sensor then reports on how long it takes for the server to respond, the IP of the responding server, the allocated IP address and its lease duration.
The final important metric for DHCP servers is how many IP addresses are available for the allocation to clients. DHCP servers are configured with ranges of IP addresses, the so-called DHCP scopes. A DHCP server semi-randomly chooses an IP address from its scope to allocate it to a client that connects to the network. Such an IP address has a configurable lease time or lifespan, and administrators must take care to balance the length of these leases with the size of the available scope, and the number of anticipated clients.
PRTG makes your job easier
Our monitoring software frees you to focus on other tasks by promptly notifying you of potential issues.
PRTG gives you one central monitoring tool for your servers and entire network. Enjoy a quick overview of your whole infrastructure via our dashboard and app.
Getting started with PRTG is a breeze. Setting up or switching from another network monitoring tool is easy thanks to the auto-discovery and pre-configured device templates.
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PRTG: The multi-tool for sysadminsAdapt PRTG individually and dynamically to your needs and rely on a strong API:
- HTTP API: Access monitoring data and manipulate monitoring objects via HTTP requests
- Custom sensors: Create your own PRTG sensors for customized monitoring
- Custom notifications: Create your own notifications and send action triggers to external systems
- REST Custom sensor: Monitor almost everything that provides data in XML or JSON format
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