What Is the DHCP on an XBox?
By Robert Sloan
Updated September 22, 2017
DHCP, which stands for Dynamic Configuration Host Protocol, refers to the ability of an Xbox to dynamically obtain an IP address without one being assigned at setup. DHCP is part of the TCP/IP standard used on most networks today. A DHCP server can be used to allocate IP addresses to any device that can accept them, such as computers, mobile devices or game systems like the Xbox.
Having DHCP on the Xbox makes network configuration much easier. As long as you have all the settings correctly entered in the DHCP server, the Xbox will automatically pick up these settings when it joins your network.
Furthermore, having DHCP on the Xbox can help prevent duplicate IP addresses from existing on your network. Duplicate addresses will prevent one device from not working correctly, and can also result in collisions on the network, which can mean reduced performance and slow response times.
The Xbox is set to use DHCP by default. When you configure the network settings, it will automatically start looking for a DHCP server on your network. If it finds one, the Xbox will ask the DHCP server to allocate an IP address to the Xbox. These IP addresses are typically leased. The duration of the lease is set on the DHCP router.
The DHCP will try to give the same IP address each time to the Xbox as long as it has not been allocated to another device while the Xbox was powered off.
Before the DHCP function of the Xbox can be fully used, your network must have a DHCP server. That means that some device on your network has to be configured to manage IP address allocation. Furthermore, it has to be broadcast on the network, letting the machines on the network know it is prepared to hand out IP addresses to them.
Most home network routers have DHCP functionality built into them. However, they still must be configured before your Xbox DHCP functionality will work.
DHCP on the Xbox works over any network connection that is established. This means you can obtain an IP address through DHCP whether you connect to your network by Ethernet cable, or if you connect to the network using the Xbox wireless adapter.
Some people also set up laptops to act as a bridge between the Xbox and the router. In this case, as well, DCHP will work on the Xbox in order to obtain a dynamic address.
If it is necessary to make sure your devices always have the same IP address, then it may be important to turn off DHCP on the Xbox. If that course is taken, you must assign it a static IP address to gain access to the network. Furthermore, you will have to manually enter all the other network settings like the gateway, subnet address and DNS addresses.
- "Game console hacking: have fun while voiding you warranty?"; Joe Grand; 2004
- "Xbox 360 Handbook: The Official User's Guide"; Fernando Bueno; 2007
Robert Sloan is an IT and Web marketing consultant with more than 15 years in the industry. Robert has a B.S. degree in journalism and political science from Texas A&M University, and has been writing for the Web for about five years.