Connecting Windows XP to Multiple Networks: Office and Home

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 27 Oct. 2003 / Last Updated on 27 Oct. 2003]

Are you using at work a notebook computer connected to your company network ?

If your company network uses TCP/IP protocol and a network server, then you will have your
notebook most probably configured to get the IP-address via DHCP:

Properties of the Network connection :

When you verify your network settings in the Properties of the Network,
checking the "Status" of your LAN connection:

you should see that your TCP/IP-address was "Assigned by DHCP"

You carry your notebook home and connect it to your home-network, to exchange some
files with other computers used in your family. Most probably there will be no server installed
at your home or another system able to act as DHCP-server, so Windows XP ( like Windows98,
WindowsME and Windows 2000) will now assign an Automatic IP-address:

If all other systems at home are also configured to use this Auto-IP-Address generation,
then you can use the network without having to reconfigure the TCP/IP-settings on your

But if you use at home manually assigned IP-addresses (example: 192.168.1.x- range),
then you are required to adjust on your notebook the IP-address to match it up with the
IP-address range used at home.

You have to do this manually on previous versions of Windows.
Windows XP allows you to automate this step: In the Properties of Networking,
display the Properties of your LAN network connection ,
display the Properties of the TCP/IP-protocol and select the tab
"Alternate Configuration" :

By default, Windows XP will assign an IP-address via Automatic IP-address generation,
if no DHCP-server was located on the network.
You have now the possibility to change this, to define to use a "User Defined" setting,
allowing to define a static IP-address to be used in case that no DHCP-server was located :

This will be indicated in the "Status" of your LAN connection:

See Also

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.


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