What to Do If Your DHCP Lease Expires Every Hour

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Windows users experiencing internet connection issues due to hourly DHCP expiration can find it highly frustrating. A DHCP error severely limits web access.

This article will help you understand what DHCP is and how to avoid problems associated with the DHCP settings.

What Is DHCP?

Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) is a feature of TCP/IP-based networks and is a service that can be set to automatically assign unique IP addresses to devices that are connected to a network.

What Is the DHCP Lease Process?

You must be familiar with a home lease. It allows you to rent a house or a property for a specified period as outlined in a contract. Once the lease has expired, a different tenant moves into the property. Similarly, a DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol) lease allows you to have access to a specific IP address for a set amount of time. If the lease expires, then the IP address is no longer available to you, and consequently, you can no longer be able to access the internet.

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More often than not, DHCP lease expiration affects users that do not have a permanent IP address. Temporary IP addresses are assigned to users who use a company’s free Wi-Fi, for instance. After a certain amount of time, the IP address expires and is then reassigned to a different device. The set period that a device has an IP address is the DHCP lease time.

It is common for offices to set the DHCP lease time to a few hours or even minutes because of the nature of their businesses. A visitor to a dentist’s clinic, for instance, stays no more than 30 minutes and there is, therefore, no need to assign them a permanent IP address.

Why Does DHCP Lease Expire?

One of the reasons that DHCP lease time expires is because of too many devices accessing the same network. When too many devices access the same network, there is a shortage of IP addresses. Setting your DHCP lease for an extended period may be sufficient to cater for the devices that regularly use the network, but not all of them. DCHP also expiries because it may be set to a limited amount of time in which case the user has to adjust the DHCP lease time.

Adjusting Your DHCP Lease Time

If you run an office in which multiple devices access the internet, you’ll want to consider adjusting your DHCP lease time. Otherwise, you will run short of IP addresses.

Setting the right DHCP lease time is a matter of experimentation, and it mostly depends on your personal needs or those of your business. The most typical DHCP lease time is 24 hours, but settings can be adjusted to one minute or up to a certain number of days. Setting the lease time too low will most definitely cause interruptions in service, but if the connected devices have a relatively quick turnaround, the settings can be made to less than 24 hours.

To reset your DHCP settings, take the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. For Wi-Fi, select Wi-Fi and go to Manage known networks. Choose the network that you want to change the settings for and select Properties.
  3. For Ethernet, choose the Ethernet that your computer is connected to.
  4. Under IP assignment, choose edit.
  5. Under IP assignment settings, select manual or automatic.

If you select automatic (DHCP), then your IP address and DNS server address are set automatically by your router or your access point. By choosing manual, you will have to set your IP address and DNS server address.

Another way to prevent the “DHCP lease expiring every hour” issue is to do a network reset. Resetting the network will undo any DHCP settings that may result to a shorter lease time.

But before trying to reset your network, you should first try and reset your modem to see if it will resolve the issue. Resetting your modem and wireless router creates a new connection with your ISP.

Resetting your modem is easy. Unplug the power cable from the router and wait for about 30 seconds before plugging it in. The lights on the modem will blink, wait for them to stop flashing before connecting your PC to the internet.

If this does not set your DHCP settings to default, then you can go ahead and perform a network reset.

To reset your network on Windows 10/11, take the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Click Network & Internet.
  3. Click Status.
  4. Choose Network reset. Click Reset now.

Windows will warn you against doing a network reset as this will entail setting network components to their factory settings. You can ignore this warning and proceed.

Final Thoughts on the DHCP Lease Time Process

To conclude, DHCP assigns IP addresses to devices that are connected to your network. If the DHCP lease time is too short, this can cause a lot of inconveniences and you will either have to do a network reset or change your DHCP settings.

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