How to Configure a Router to Use DHCP

Many people don't want to deal with the hassle of assigning each PC on their network a static IP address. The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP for short, eliminates the need to do this by allowing it to automatically configure IP settings. This manual will be using a Qwest Actiontec Q1000 router as an example. Other routers will differ slightly, but the basic process is the same.


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    Launch a browser. Connect to your router by entering its IP address. This will vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, and will be listed in the documentation.
    • Here are some common IP addresses for various routers:
    • Linksys, 3Com, Asus, Dell, US Robotics:
    • Qwest (AKA CenturyLink), DLink, Netgear, Trendnet, Senao:
    • Belkin, Microsoft, and SMC:
    • Apple:
    • If you have misplaced your documentation, and you do not see your router listed here, search on Google for your router name and "default IP address" to find the correct information.
    • Another way to locate your router's IP address: on a PC, open the command prompt (click on Start > Run/Search for cmd) and enter ipconfig. Look for the Default Gateway line, and try that number.
    • On a Macintosh, open the Network control panel (System Preferences..., Network) and look for Router: This is your router's IP address.
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    Log in. If prompted, enter your router's user name and password, and log into your router. Not all routers will require this step. If your router defaults to requiring a password, it will be listed with the documentation. If so, the default password is generally “admin,” and you may leave the User name field blank.
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    Go to Setup -> Basic Setup. Scroll down until you see DHCP Server (Enable) (Disable) radio buttons. If it is disabled, select Enable
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    If you want, you can change the number that the DHCP IP assigning starts. This is optional, and is totally dependent on personal preference. If you're not sure what this is, it's totally safe to skip this step.
    • Some routers let you set the maximum number of DHCP clients. If your router has this setting, count all the computers, smart phones, and other internet-active devices (such as Apple TV), then add a couple extra, for guests who may visit with their smart phones and want to access the internet. Once the pre-defined maximum is reached, no one else can get an address until one expires!
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    Set the DNS. Use the DNS servers provided to you by your ISP, or use the following DNS servers:,,; There are many DNS servers out there. It's best to use your ISP's if possible.
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    Save your settings. Click the Save or Apply button, or whatever your router calls the button that locks in your changes.
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    Configure your network devices. Open up the network configurations for the computers on your network. On a PC, go to Control Panel -> Network Connections -> Local Area Connection (or Wireless Connection) and select Obtain IP address automatically. On a Mac, go to System Preferences, then click on Network, and select Using DHCP. On a WiFi-enabled device, check the WiFi settings, and select DHCP as the source of the IP address.
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    You're good to go!


  • Refer to your product manual for instructions for your specific router. You should be able to follow this as a rough guide for most devices. The basics are all the same, only the actual location within the router software is different.


  • Make sure you have physical access to your network device in case you have to reset it back to factory defaults.
  • Enabling DHCP on an unsecured wireless network is a big no-no. Doing so enables anyone to connect to it without any knowledge of networking and steal your bandwidth.

Things You'll Need

  • Router
  • Computer
  • Network Cable or Wireless LAN Card

Article Info

Categories: Networking