What is DHCP Lease Time?

Written by william garmany
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What is DHCP Lease Time?
Routers use DHCP addresses to allow computers access to the network. (wlan router 02 image by pmphoto from Fotolia.com)

Since computers have been on the Internet, they have been using DHCP as identification. Home networks also use their own DHCP from the router.


DHCP, or dynamic host configuration protocol, is the digital address of a computer on a network.

Lease Time

If DHCP is the digital address, the lease time is the amount of time the address is leased for. For example, if you were to lease an apartment, you would live at that physical address until your lease is up, unless you renew your lease. The DHCP lease is similar, your Internet service provider or router assign your computer an address to lease. When the lease is up, it either renews or gets a new address.

How Long

Lease times can vary for your home network. You can set the lease to expire anywhere from an hour up to never. With a time limit, the lease will renew half way through the set time. For example, if you set the time for an hour, after half an hour the lease will renew. The longer time the lease carries, the less often the lease needs to renew and the less potential for problems. On systems with many computers coming and going, shorter lease times are a greater benefit since there are a limited number of addresses available.

Static IP

Instead of having a leased DHCP you can opt to have a static IP address. This allows you to give specific addresses that never expire to each computer on your network.

ISP Identification

If you have a router assigning DHCP to all the computers in your house, your router will also have a DHCP assigned by your Internet service provider. The DHCP or your router will be the identifier that shows up whenever you visit any web sites or send an e-mail.

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